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Classroom Management

This article about classroom management explains the breadth of the classroom management field. Read more to learn about supervising lessons, instructional settings, classroom relationships and behaviors, and some classroom management techniques.

In Building Competence in Classroom Management and Discipline (2003), Annette Iverson defines classroom management as, “the act of supervising relationships, behaviors, and instructional settings and lessons for communities of learners” (p. 4). Sometimes classroom management is almost entirely the realm of the classroom teacher, but he or she may also be supported or assisted by para-educators, special educators, and others who visit the classroom, as well as by the school’s assistant principal or whichever administrative person is responsible for discipline in the particular school. This article discusses broadly the elements of classroom management.

Supervising Lessons in Classroom Management

The content, ordering, and presentation of lessons is the first aspect of classroom management that we’ll discuss. There’s a lot that goes into lesson preparation. Lessons can be presented to an entire class, to a small group, or to an individual student, or students may interact with the lesson material without teacher-mediation, in which case, the teacher will still often be supervising the process.

Lessons can be presented through different media, such as a demonstration, an experience, a story, a textbook, a slide presentation, an experiment, through a guest speaker, and in many other ways. Lessons can be developed and shaped for a diverse student population, including for students with different levels of prior knowledge and different levels of English attainment. Presentation may vary for different learning styles, for example, for verbal learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Supervising lessons also means smoothing the path from one lesson to the next, and providing opportunities for practicing, enriching, reinforcing, reteaching, extending, and assessing the lesson material, as appropriate.

Supervising the Instructional Settings in Classroom Management

Instructional settings is a term that is interpreted in several different ways, and we’re going to take the broadest for this discussion and consider it to be any discrete area with different and distinctive features and in which learning takes place. Even within the general classroom - the name given to the main place that students and teachers gather - there may be different areas, such as a rug with bean bags, shared tables, individual desks, and computer workstations.

Other instructional settings include the following:

  • locations for one-on-one instruction from specially trained staff such as para-educators, special educators, occupational specialists, etc.
  • a science laboratory
  • a theater
  • a music room
  • an art room
  • a library or resource room
  • a computer lab
  • a gymnasium
  • the school grounds
  • any place traveled to on a field trip

As you might imagine, the class management demands will differ in each of these different settings.

Supervising Relationships and Behaviors in Classroom Management

Classroom management in this realm can be looked on as having a preventative aspect, in which teachers foresee and forestall potential issues, as well as the aspect of maintaining a good overview of what is happening in the moment it, and addressing any developing situations as they arise.

  • Motivation Helping students become and stay interested, especially if they have experienced boredom or lack of success in school, is an important aspect of classroom management. Helping students to set and achieve reasonable goals is part of this process. Another part is helping students to set standards for their own behavior and academic achievements.
  • Discipline Creating and enforcing rules is an area of classroom management that is often a shared role, because the class exists within a larger school and its disciplinary policies.
  • Stewardship Care for the classroom and its equipment and materials, including any classroom pets, is another area of classroom management.
  • Community The relationships between the teacher and students and between and among students and students’ behavior towards the teacher and towards each other are essential elements of the school experience and an important area of supervision for the classroom teacher.

Classroom Management Techniques

A variety of techniques are employed in classroom management. These often include a time-out area for students who need to step aside from the work at hand for whatever reason; a standard method for moving in and out of the classroom and through the halls (such as a single-file line); and a method for immediately engaging every student’s attention.

The organization of classroom materials and students’ possessions brought from home to keep them orderly and safe, as well as time-management for particularly desirable activities (such as a sign-up list for computer time) are other frequently used strategies.


MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching: “Classroom Management in the Online Environment” Daniel P. Stewart, September, 2008 -

Education World: Classroom Management Archive -

The Really Big List of Classroom Management Resources -

The Teacher’s Guide: Classroom Management -