Classroom Management Strategies: Top 10 Tips

Sometimes, it might feel like being a teacher is more about classroom management than it is about teaching.

If you’re frustrated by specific students or behaviors in your classroom, or if you’d just like to work on this aspect of your craft, below are ten effective classroom management strategies.

Classroom Management Strategy #1: Discuss Appropriate Behavior
Get each new class off to a good start by talking about appropriate behavior. Discuss policies for cell phone use, for communicating during class, for appropriate language, for listening to other students, for asking questions or offering input, and more.

Classroom Management Strategy #2: Let Students Define “Appropriate” Behavior
Don’t just dictate what constitutes “appropriate” behavior – let students have input into setting the standards for the group. By soliciting input, you empower the students, which can encourage them to take responsibility, for their own behaviors and their reactions to other students’ behaviors.

Classroom Management Strategy #3: Model Good Behavior Yourself
No one’s perfect, but aim to model good behavior yourself, at all times. Be patient and respectful. Treat all students equally. Take responsibility and apologize if you make a mistake. Show your own humanity and vulnerability, within reason and while still maintaining authority.

Classroom Management Strategy #4: Increase Student Engagement
Engaging students begins with understanding them. Be proactive in identifying and adapting to all of your students’ learning styles. Inquire about their interests and favorite activities. Find out what they think they do well and what they struggle with. Ask them what you can do to help them learn or cooperate with the other students.

Classroom Management Strategy #5: Address Student Disengagement
If you see that a student or group of students is becoming disengaged, don’t ignore it and wait for the potentially disruptive behavior that might ensue. Make it a point to proactively address student disengagement. This might mean calling on a student, changing up a lesson plan on the fly, or reminding all students of appropriate behavior rules.

Classroom Management Strategy #6: Encourage Group Work
One of the best ways to reengage students is to encourage group work. Group work not only breaks up the routine of “teacher output-student input,” but it also enables students to get to know each other better.

Classroom Management Strategy #7: Build In Peer Teaching And Learning
As part of group work, or separate from it, you can incorporate peer teaching and learning into your classroom activities. Students who are struggling to grasp a concept might learn better from their peers, and students who become the “teachers” can also advance in their knowledge of a subject.

Classroom Management Strategy #8: Devise A Plan
Have a plan, ahead of time, for how you’ll handle student disruptions. Ideally, you’ll want to address troublesome behavior privately, rather than doing it in front of the entire class. Also, in general, it’s not a good idea to punish the class for the actions of a single student or a few students.

Classroom Management Strategy #9: Don’t Let Small Problems Become Big Ones
Sometimes, it might be your first instinct to ignore upsetting behavior, rather than confront it. Patience can be a good thing, and you probably have a lot of it, or you wouldn’t have chosen teaching as a profession. But passivity, in the extreme, can be detrimental. You owe it to yourself, to the other students, and, perhaps most of all, to the offending student to take care of small problems before they develop into larger ones.

Classroom Management Strategy #10: Implement Restorative Justice Practices
Restorative justice techniques in the classroom upend traditional responses to bad behavior (such as warnings, punishments, ejections from classrooms, and suspensions from schools). Instead, restorative justice takes an approach that’s based on respect, personal responsibility, building relationships, and restoring relationships. Many of the classroom management tips that are presented above are cornerstones of restorative justice in education.

Education 4 Equity
At Education 4 Equity, we offer a 3-credit professional development course, Classroom Management: Restorative Justice In Action, that’s delivered 100% online. This online classroom management course qualifies for graduate level credits and has been approved for LAUSD salary points, through the Los Angeles Unified School District.