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Classroom management is consistently identified as an important factor in student learning. Yet

beginning teachers, and even those who are more experienced, often struggle with creating and
maintaining a well-managed classroom where students can learn. Despite the importance of
classroom management, the majority of teacher education programs still does not require or even
offer a course with an explicit focus on classroom management. Because of this lack of training,
many educators begin (and continue) teaching with numerous misconceptions about what
constitutes effective classroom management.

Misconceptions about Classroom Management

Consider your own answer to the following question: What is the first word that comes to your
mind when you hear the term classroom management? When teachers are asked this question,
they typically answer with words such as control, order, and discipline. The idea that classroom
management is mainly about discipline is a misconception held by teachers that can actually
interfere with effective teaching. In fact, effective managers organize their classrooms so that
they avoid most behavior problems and therefore do not have to worry about discipline very
often. While discipline is certainly an important component of classroom management, it is not
the only component.

In addition, teachers often believe that a well-managed classroom is equivalent to an orderly and
quiet environment, but the reality is that a productive learning environment can often be noisy
because learning is not a passive activity. Learning requires talking, sharing, discovering,
experimenting, and questioning, all of which can create noise.

Next, teachers frequently believe that an effective classroom management plan relies on rewards
and punishments and, therefore, is approached in a behaviouristic manner through the
implementation of externally controlled incentive programs. However, teachers who are effective
classroom managers often find little need for a reward-based behavioral incentive program.

Finally, many teachers believe that their instruction is their classroom management. In other
words, they think that if they just teach a really engaging lesson, their students will be so highly
motivated and engaged that they will not have time to misbehave. Again, while engaging
instruction is undeniably an important component of classroom management, it is not the only


The first step to becoming an effective classroom manager is eliminating these common
misconceptions and developing an understanding of the overall goals of classroom management.
Students preparing to become teachers often think that the goal of classroom management is to
keep their class under control and maintain a well-behaved classroom. It is true that effective

classroom managers succeed at creating a well-behaved classroom. Classroom management has
two goals: creating an environment for academic learning and creating an environment for socio-
emotional learning.

Academic learning refers to learning content specified in state content standards (learning to
read and write; learning to reason; learning science, math, and social studies; and so on).

Socio-emotional learning promotes growth in social skills and the ability to express emotions
maturely. Classrooms are well managed only if the teacher has created environments that
promote both of these kinds of learning.


In order to create an environment conducive to academic and social-emotional learning, it is

necessary to develop an understanding of what effective classroom management entails.
Classroom management is described as all the actions teachers take to create and maintain an
environment conducive to learning.

Classroom management is a process consisting of the following five key areas: organizing the
physical design of the classroom, establishing rules and routines, developing caring relationships,
implementing engaging and effective instruction, and addressing discipline issues. Strategically
and purposefully addressing each of these areas helps teachers create and maintain an
environment conducive to learning.

1. Physical design of the classroom: The physical design lies in how the classroom is laid out,
where the students desks are, where the teachers desk is, where learning centers and materials
are located, where heavily used items such as the pencil sharpeners are, and so on.

2. Rules and routines: Teachers establish class rules and routines (such as, handing back papers
and taking attendance) to keep the class activities running smoothly with as little disruption and
loss of time as possible.

3. Relationships: Effective classroom managers develop caring, supportive relationships with

students and parents and promote supportive relations among students.

4. Engaging and motivating instruction: Effective managers develop instruction that engages
learners, and they carefully plan their instruction so that each learning activity is well-organized
and runs smoothly.

5. Discipline: Discipline revolves around teacher actions focused on preventing and responding
to students misbehavior. Discipline does not only mean punishment, nor does it only mean the
actions that teachers take after misbehavior occurs. Discipline also includes teacher actions that
prevent misbehavior.