What strategies can be employed to encourage effective classroom management?What are the problems in the classroom today?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This one will bring out a bevy of responses.  I think that classroom management skills are some of the most important, yet underrated aspect of teacher preparation.  The best of lessons, the greatest of curricular goals, and the most intense of instruction can all be rendered completely useless without classroom management techniques.  I would say that invoking active learning techniques during classroom instruction would be one way to ensure a healthy management of the learning environment.  For example, instead of a straight 40 minute lecture on a topic, why not "chunk" it into sections called a "speak/ write lecture."  This type of lecture has several parts and a deal is reached with students.  You tell them that you will lecture for no more than four minutes at a time.  While you lecture, they don't do anything except listen intently.  Then, you give them about two minutes to write down as much as they remember.  They then get a minute to chat with a partner to compare notes.  Your four minutes has to be direct, focused, and chock full of the facts and information you want them to know.  The writing element allows them to harness focus and the think/ share for a minute allows them to compare with a colleague and actually talk.  This makes a forty minute class go by quicker because it's segmented into parts and students are more engaged in the instruction because there is less opportunity for them to wander off.  Another example of an active learning technique could be during question and answer.  Traditionally, a teacher calls out the question, and the same handful of students always answer.  The classroom is essentially three raised hands and a heck of a lot of disinterest. Why not tell the students that every time a question is asked, all hands will be raised.  All students will raise their hands and show a "1" with their index figure raised, a "2" with the sign for victory, and a "3" with the three fingers raised.  If a student shows a "3" as a response to the question being asked, it means they know it and could feel comfortable answering it.  Teachers can call on "3's."  A "2" means that there is an answer and a student is comfortable with it, but might not be totally certain as to if it's the right answer or if they want to share.  "2"'s can be called on, but the teacher must ask if they want to take a chance on answering or speaking.  A "1" means that student doesn't know, but is still showing that they wish to participate.  The goal, the teacher tells the students, is to get the "2's" to move to "3's" and the "1's" to get to "2's."   This ensures that all students show participation, are actively involved even if showing a "1", and the teacher sees all hands being raised as the students begin to buy into it.  If a teacher notices the same students showing a "1," this becomes a private talking point between student and teacher.  Tips like these might help classroom management move from good to great, or even simply minimize a lack of structure in the classroom.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question.  This subject is the first important hurdle to conquor as a new teacher.

I agree with post #3 - and the ideas presented there.  When I was a new teacher I was really afraid of "group work" because it put too much control on the students and often made me feel out of control.  I always envied science and history classes where lecture/note-taking days were more frequent and necessary.

Once I figured out how to do it well though - I started revolving all my lessons around the students instead of myself.  I got rid of my desks and put in 7 round tables and cushy chairs.

The first key is consistency - kids have to ultimately know you are the final authority - and trust you.  The second is preparation and giving simple directions from beginning to end.  Kids also like to know from the beginning "why is this important," so I always start with the bottom line first.  It changed my teaching life to start posting the day's schedule on the board.

Once you build a repoire with your students, they begin to trust you and then start enjoying this kind of work too.  Plus - it makes your life SO MUCH EASIER when the kids are doing the learning themselves, rather than you spending full class periods "teaching."  Teachers should re-name themselves "facilitators" - as this (in my opinion) is the best approach to management.

lmallow eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major problems facing teachers today are  a lack of self discipline in students, a lack of work ethic , and an emphasis on standardized testing. 

Most students do not realize the value of a good education.  The average student is interested in the doing the bare minimum to pass a class.  They do not see the relevance in learning for the future.  The students behave only because of external rewards.  They do not internalize the need for rules and order in society.

Today's students are looking for entertainment.  Often students will ask me if an activity is fun.  If the activity is not perceived as fun, the students are not interested.  The students do not work with a goal in mind.  They are not concerned about the quality of their class work.

Standardized testing is not an adequate measure of achievement.  Some students do not respond well to testing.  Student achievement is a highly personal and individualized aspect of education.  Student achievement is best assessed by teacher observation, data collection, and a portfolio of the student's work samples.

There are many problems facing the teachers of today.  This is but a short description of the most major problems.

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The new trend in classroom management is student engagement.  If students are off-task (talking/head down/doodling), they are obviously not engaged in the lesson.  More, if they are simply listening to a teacher-centered lesson/lecture, it often looks like they are not engaged.  Though administrators sometimes unfairly assume students in a traditional classroom are not actively participating in the lesson, teachers are encouraged to design lessons where it looks like everyone is involved.  More of these lessons are active role-playing lessons that mirror group dynamics in the workplace.

Student engagement is best done with collaborative learning groups in which students are given specific tasks and roles (note-taker, reader, spark plug, etc...).

Also, students are encouraged to "buy in" to classroom management at the beginning of the year by helping establish positive classroom rules instead of simply being handed teacher-established punitive-only ones.  These contracts are a collaborative effort between teacher and students to help students take ownership and self-determine behavior.  Not only that, but the contract helps students anticipate problems before they occur.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The point about the classroom being composed of divergent students nowadays is one that, indeed, poses management dilemmas. (So many other excellent points as well!)

A teacher must determine how different learners learn.  For many of the high context learners, hands-on activities are essential.  They often enjoy dramatizing what they are learning.  For example, in History or in English, students can be assigned the role of persons from history or personages from literature and asked to create dialogues, etc.  while later in the year, others can rate their performances with movie-type ratings of stars and a short review. 

Allowing early attempts to be more creative than accurate encourages their participation.  With time, students become more interested in their actual learning, so their dramatizations, then, have more verisimilitude.


ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One challenge facing teachers in the classroom, that was not in existence when I began teaching in the 80's, is the battle between teacher and cell phone texting (which in turn impacts classroom management and the learning process).  Teaching is a two-way street--we know that we can't effectively teach someone who is not actively engaged--so, how do we manage the constant technological temptations? Active participation is key.  If students are writing, raising hands, coming up to the board, responding to each other's comments (rather than just to the teacher), and actively participating in activities, instead of merely sitting in the audience falling into the sultry stare of their cell phone screen, management becomes second nature.  Busy students keep out of trouble, and I'd venture to add, busy students learn.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given the second part of your question, I assume that you are talking about management problems, not about things like the fact of all the testing that teachers have to prepare students for...

Management-wise, I would say that the biggest problem facing teachers is the huge diversity of students that we are expected to teach and the relative lack of parental (and sometimes administrative) support that teachers get.  Teachers are expected to manage students of all different ethnicities and income levels and (perhaps most importantly) academic abilities.  Teachers are expected to keep them all satisfied.  Adding to this problem is the fact that many parents support their kids instead of the teachers and many administrators go along.

ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The key to effective classroom management is structure and consistency.  We are all creatures of habit in the school system, whether we like to admit it or not.  Many of our students come from environments lacking structure, and students welcome a structured and predictable environment.  Beginning class in the same way each day, having an agenda written in the same place each day, keeping a positive attitude each day, preparing enough material and content to fill the period each day, these are all elements of a structure that discourages student "mismanagement."  All the while, we, the teachers, manage our environment in an organized manner, we can expect our audience to respond similarly.  Chaos just creates more chaos.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are always going to be issues that teachers face in the classroom. One of the problems that I currently find is that students are forgetting that the purpose of school is to get a quality education. Because of this it is difficult to get them motivated. I try to get students motivated and engaged by finding different techniques that work for each individual student. Every student is different so what may work for one may not work for another. In this day of technology it seems that when I incorporate some kind of technological aspect into the lesson they become more engaged. When students are actively engaged it is easier to keep the classroom managed.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #11--structure and consistency are the keys to avoid classroom management problems.  If students are engaged in meaningful work--with you with you or with each other or both--they really don't have the time or inclination to be disruptive.  If they know the teacher will deal with any disciplinary issues that do arise in a consistent and equitable manner, they will not gripe, cpmplain, or act out when their number is called.  It really comes down to having high expectations and living them out consistently. 

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are also as educators competing with the explosion in 'infotainment' which can supercede our methods as teachers if we are not flexible. It is tough to compete with the information superhighway and our multimedia culture - so it is best that we work with technology rather than against it. Texting can be utilised as a classroom feedback tool, blogs wikis and web pages are forms of writing we can study, develop and appreciate. I think our biggest challenge is staying current and facing the future.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Disciplinary problems, non-academic paperwork, and a lack of parental support are my prime complaints concerning classroom teaching today. Restricted funding and long hours of grading and planning during a teacher's unpaid, off-hours are other problems facing teachers today.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The best classroom management technique is organization. If you are prepared, and your classroom runs efficiently, you will have fewer management problems. Keep the kids busy, and make sure they know what to do at all times, and things will go smoothly.
imamta10 | Student

classroom management as the words suggests to plan, direct and control the classroom ie the students as well as the teaching environment. to do it successfully first of all the the teacher himself should should start with some interesting things .they may be correlated with the studies or not but to boot up the students .then gradually the subject matter should be introduced.questions frm the students' side must be welcomed .always adopt two way communication and last but not the least if a student is still creates problems don't hesitate to punish 

lit24 | Student

Some effective strategies for effective classroom management are:

1. The teacher must prepare well for his class. He must be focused and know very clearly what exactly he is going to teach and how he is going to teach what he has planned to teach in the time alloted to him.

2. If the teacher is well prepared, he will be more confident and this confidence will be evident to his students who will respect him spontaneously.

3. Careful preparation does not mean that the teacher must be rigid and inflexible. He must be prepared for the unexpected and must be able to improvise and tackle any situation in the class.

4. A smile, a cheerful and optimistic outlook and most importantly a sense of humor will help to manage even the most difficult situations.

5. And last but not the least, the students must be made realize that the teacher is a fair and impartial person.


lachance09 | Student

Kids attitudes