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Mastering Classroom Management: Strategies, Models, and Best Practices

Mastering Classroom Management: Strategies, Models, and Best Practices | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The development of classroom management understanding and skill is a process acquired over many years and characterized by discontinuities, especially as the teacher encounters new teaching contexts. In addition, beginning teachers' perspectives on classrooms are often incomplete and rapidly reorganize their pedagogical knowledge during student teaching. Developing an understanding of classroom management thus requires experience in classroom contexts to be pragmatic; that is, to be integrated into the network of scripts, expectations, and routines that the teacher will utilize in the classroom and result in the effective management of students.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author, an alumni of ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training). They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ITTT. The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as official endorsement or representation by ITTT.

Problems related to behavior in the classroom affect a wide variety of people. It threatens the security and attainments of other pupils and is a source of stress for staff, sometimes leading to confidence crises or even depression. For the disruptive pupil too, there can be negative consequences, including delinquency and severe academic underachievement. Improving the management of this problem is also likely to have widespread benefits not only for mini-systems like schools but also for society at large.

The general term, conduct disorder, spans a wide range of behaviors, all of which can be considered antisocial to some degree (Gardner, 1992). The definition of disruptive behavior includes any behavior that appears problematic, inappropriate, or disturbing to teachers (Galloway and Rogers, 1994).

Disruptive behavior can be categorized as:

  • Aggressive behavior: e.g., hitting, kicking, pushing, using abusive language.
  • Physically disruptive behavior: e.g., smashing or damaging objects, throwing objects, physically annoying other pupils.
  • Socially disruptive behavior: e.g., screaming, running away, exhibiting temper tantrums.
  • Authority-challenging behavior: e.g., refusing to carry out requests, using insulting language.
  • Self-disruptive behavior: e.g., daydreaming, reading comics under the desk (it may be noted that although it may not disrupt the teacher and other pupils, such behavior is likely to interfere considerably with the pupil's academic attainments).

While any one of these types of behavior is likely to be disruptive for teachers and other pupils, frequency, magnitude, and multi-category characteristics are often key factors for school staff when requesting the advice of visiting support professionals. Before examining models for classroom management and to have a good understanding of the models, we should take contributing factors for disruptive behaviors into consideration.

Curwin and Menler (1999) present a list of global causes of misbehavior that describe more specific roots of classroom dissension:

  • Violence in society.
  • Massive media coverage of overt and covert messages regarding "sex, violence, and death".
  • A throw-away societal mentality focused on individual indulgence and subsequent escape from family commitment.
  • Unstable home situations.
  • A wide range of temperaments among children.

Curwin and Mendler (1999) also suggest more localized contributing factors, such as bored students, feelings of powerlessness, ambiguous parameters for behavior, lack of redirected outlets for expressing negative feelings, and personal attacks upon one's dignity.

Other factors, more parochial in nature, may create problems in the classroom: insufficient modeling by the teacher, low expectations of students, the "buddy" approach to managing students, the teacher's failure to follow through with stated expectations, the teacher's decision to ignore misbehavior, the absence of concerted instructions on how to succeed, the child's feeling of inadequacy and fear of failure, and the child's lack of pride in self and in school.


Kounin: In this model, the skills found among effective teachers are described as:

  • "Wittiness" (close monitoring of each child's behavior).
  • Overlapping (effectively addressing multiple events simultaneously).
  • Smoothness and momentum in lessons (providing instructions that are motivating and rapidly passed and developmentally appropriate with few interruptions).
  • Group alerting (maintaining everyone's attention).

ABC Model: With regard to classroom and individual pupil management, the Behavioral model has demonstrated that it is possible both to understand and change inappropriate and disruptive behavior. The traditional framework has been to focus on the antecedents of the behavior, the behavior itself, and the consequences which follow the behavior.

Let's look at the important terms:

  • Antecedents: the events preceding the problem behavior. Data collected here can lead to proactive, preventative management of potentially disruptive behavior.
  • Background: the setting or context. Information resulting from an examination of this dimension can encourage the creation of a learning environment that minimizes disruption and encourages positive and adaptive behavior.
  • Consequences: those proximal and distant events which follow problem behavior. A consideration of consequences can generate more effective approaches to the management of problem behavior after it has occurred.

Pre-intervention Strategies: The concept of pre-intervention, or pre-correction of behaviors, is based on the philosophy that educators can recognize signs that indicate potentially inappropriate behavior (Colvin, 1993; Colvin & Patching, 1993). In order to implement pre-correction procedures, the teacher must adopt the belief that behaviors are predictable, in other words, that they can be anticipated.

Instructional Delivery: A well-developed instructional delivery plan includes a clear beginning, middle, and end, emphasizing the need for transition activities before, during, and after instruction. This ensures a smooth and effective teaching process. Effective instructional delivery fosters engagement, participation, and comprehension among students.

  • Beginning: Start your lessons with a clear introduction that outlines the learning objectives and provides context for the material. This helps students understand what they will be learning and why it's important. Use attention-grabbing techniques to capture students' interest from the beginning.
  • Middle: During the core instructional phase, use a variety of teaching methods and strategies to cater to different learning styles. Incorporate interactive activities, discussions, multimedia, and real-world examples to reinforce concepts. Encourage student participation and ask open-ended questions to stimulate critical thinking.
  • End: Conclude your lessons with a summary of key points, emphasizing the main takeaways. Offer opportunities for students to ask questions and seek clarification. Assign homework or independent study tasks related to the lesson material to promote continued learning outside the classroom.

Remember that effective instructional delivery goes beyond the content itself; it encompasses how you engage students, create a positive learning atmosphere, and facilitate their understanding. By following a well-structured beginning, middle, and end framework, you can enhance your teaching effectiveness and improve student outcomes.

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