Category: News

Classroom Management: What is it and why do I need it?

Classroom management is something I would have loved to have known about before I walked into my classroom on the first day. As a first-year teacher last year, I walked into my job with no experience except for what I had gleaned from correcting my husband’s education homework. Luckily, my school had a process in place, so I didn’t have to worry about discipline in my room, or discipline variations across classrooms.

Our district has a system called the Responsible Thinking Process, which is a system of classroom management that allows students full responsibility for their actions, both during and after the disruption. After two disruptions, students make a plan in a separate classroom that shows how they will avoid disrupting in that way again.

When a student disrupts, he is asked a few simple questions:

  • What are you doing? (Breaking pencils)
  • What are the rules? (Respect the classroom)
  • What will happen next time you disrupt/break the rules? (I will go to the Responsible Thinking Classroom/RTC)

The second time a student disrupts, he gets asked another set of questions:

  • What are you doing? (Poking Robert)
  • What are the rules? (Respect my classmates)
  • What did you say would happen next time? (Go to the RTC)

The student then is written a referral by the teacher including his name, what he did both times, and what time he can make up the work he is going to miss while he is in the RTC.   While he’s in the RTC, he will write up a plan that details what he did wrong, if it matches the teacher’s description, how he can avoid doing that again, and what might go wrong (like if a student distracts him or he gets angry) the next time.

When the student gets back to the classroom, he must wait at a predesignated table for the teacher to be ready let him back into the class forum. When the teacher is ready, the student tells the teacher his plan, the teacher can either sign the plan in agreement or send the student back to the RTC for more work on the plan, and then class moves on. The plan gets filed in the RTC, and the next time the same student disrupts, the file is pulled and they look at previous plans to avoid past mistakes.

This process makes the teacher’s life so much easier – you just pull the kid out of class, another teacher deals with it, and the child comes back calm, collected, and ready to learn. By using the process, we are able to keep full control of our class and remove the problem instead of having to deal with an out-of-control student.

Students are also given the opportunity to use Chill Passes, which allow them a pass to the RTC to avoid a referral due to an angry outburst or falling asleep. They are rarely abused, and students use them infrequently enough that it’s a non-issue. All in all, the system here in our district is very helpful, useful, and a great tool for new teachers.

The Need for Effective Classroom Management

According to Evertson and Harris (as cited in Allen, 2010), “the meaning of the term classroom management has changed from describing discipline practices and behavioral interventions to serving as a more holistic descriptor of teachers’ actions in orchestrating supportive learning environments and building community.’

Effective classroom management produces a climate where students are able to succeed. When teachers spend time organizing and structuring their classrooms, they provide students with the knowledge of what to do (Wong, 2009, p. 3-4). Mutual respect is also necessary for students to obey (Guercio, 2011, p. 42).

Rimm-Kaufmann, La Paro, Down- er, and Pianta (as cited in Ratcliff, et. al., 2010) found that high classroom quality was most consistently related to a low number of management problems. Effective teachers structure their class to minimize these disruptions.

“The more discipline problems a teacher faces, the less effective the instruction becomes (Guercio, 2011, p. 39).’ It is only when students are taught what to do that misbehaviors will decrease and learning can begin. Misbehaviors halt instruction, forcing the teacher to move away from the task at hand and focus on the misbehavior.

Further, Abidin & Kmetz (as cited in Ratcliff et al, 2010) noted that management problems affected the quality of interactions in the classroom. Teachers were less apt to have positive interactions with behaviorally challenging students as misbehaviors and stress levels increased. Effective classroom management was also demonstrated to be a prevention for bullying (Allen, 2010).

Effective classroom management is key in supporting the classroom learning environment and providing an atmosphere of success for all students.

Works Cited
Allen, K. P. (2010). Classroom Management, Bullying, and Teacher Practices. Professional Educator, 34(1), 1-15. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Guercio, R. (2011). Back to the basics of classroom management. Education Digest, 76(5), 39-43. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Ratcliff, N. J., Jones, C. R., Costner, R. H., Savage-Davis, E., & Hunt, G. H. (2010). The elephant in the classroom: The impact of misbehavior on classroom climate. Education, 131(2), 306-314. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Wong, H. K., and Wong, R. T. (2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

Our Blog

I spent  the summer doing my favorite activities – traveling, flying gliders, writing, and reading. I knew that I will teach the classroom management (CM) class again and my thoughts ventured off. When I discovered good websites, blogs, books, or articles around the topic of CM I made notes to share the information and resources with you.  I invite you  to discuss creative ideas and strategies around the topics “Classroom management” and “Learning environment” on our blog site.





I was born and raised in Germany, came with a teacher exchange program to the US, Brownsville, TX,   in 1994, and moved to Alaska in 2008.
My areas of expertise are mathematics and science education (physics, geosciences), program evaluation, and educational technology. I worked as teacher, principal, curriculum specialist in Germany, GB, NZ. My doctoral degree is from the University of Houston. I am married and have two boys (28, 14). My hobbies include digital photography, flying small airplanes, and travel (I am bi-Polar:)). My goal for this class is to guide and inspire so you can make progress toward creating dafe and creative learning environments for your students. Submit class work  timely and in good quality, read,  participate , share  your thoughts and ideas on our blog site, and you will be successful.  Papers are graded by content and not by length.
If you like to learn more about me…. google my name:).
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