Definition of Classroom Management

Definition of classroom management is the orchestration of the learning environment of a group of individuals within a classroom setting. In the early 1970s classroom management was seen as separate from classroom instruction. Teachers' management decisions were viewed as precursors to instruction, and were treated in the literature as if they were content-free. The image was of a teacher first attending to classroom management, and then beginning instruction without further reference to management decisions. Research in the 1980s, however, demonstrated that management and instruction are not separate, but are inextricably interwoven and complex.

A teacher's classroom-management system communicates information about the teacher's beliefs on content and the learning process. It also circumscribes the kinds of instruction that will take place in a particular classroom. A classroom in which the teacher takes complete responsibility for guiding students' actions constitutes a different learning environment than one in which students are encouraged and taught to assume responsibility for their own behaviors. Content will be approached and understood differently in each of these settings. Furthermore, more intellectually demanding academic work and activities in which students create products or encounter novel problems require complex management decisions. This correlation between instructional activity and management complexity further reinforces the interrelated nature of classroom management and curriculum.

The interwoven nature of classroom management and classroom instruction is especially easy to see from a student perspective. Students have at least two cognitive demands on them at all times: academic task demands (understanding and working with content) and social task demands (interacting with others concerning that content). This means that students must simultaneously work at understanding the content and finding appropriate and effective ways to participate in order to demonstrate that understanding. The teacher must facilitate the learning of these academic and social tasks. Thus from the perspective of what students need to know in order to be successful, management and instruction cannot be separated.

As a result of this broadened definition of classroom management, research has moved away from a focus on controlling behavior and looks instead at teacher actions to create, implement, and maintain a learning environment within the classroom. Everything a teacher does has implications for classroom management, including creating the setting, decorating the room, arranging the chairs, speaking to children and handling their responses, putting routines in place (and then executing, modifying, and reinstituting them), developing rules, and communicating those rules to the students. These are all aspects of classroom management.

1. Creating a Learning Environment
2. Setting Expectations
3. Motivational Climate
4. Maintaining a Learning Environment
5. When Problems Occur


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