Classroom Management Techniques
Therese B. AguilTherese B. Aguil
Baita T. SapadBaita T. Sapad
Dr. Tito M. Demafiles
Rules and Procedures
Probably, the most obvious aspect
of classroom management involves
the design and implementation of
classroom rules and procedures.
Rules and procedures help in
dealing with various types of
learners especially during the
Rules and procedures vary in different
classrooms, but all effectively managed
classrooms have them.
Rules and procedures, although used
interchangeably, have some important
differences. Both refer to stated expectations
regarding behavior. However, a rule
identifies general expectations or standards,
and a procedure communicates expectations
for specific behaviors.
Setting rules and behaviors involves two actions:
Identifying specific rules and procedures
for your classroom
Involving students in the design of rules
General classroom behavior commonly
addresses the following areas:
Politeness and helpfulness when dealing
Interrupting the teacher or others
Respecting the properties of others
Hitting or shoving others
Beginning of the school
day or beginning of the
The manner in which class begins sets the
tone for what happens next. The way the
day or period ends leaves students with an
impression that carries over to the next time
Rules and procedures that pertain to the
beginning and ending of the school day
commonly address the following areas:
Beginning the school day with specific
Beginning the day with the pledge of
Doing administrative activities
Ending the day by cleaning the room
and individual desks
Ending the day by putting away materials
Transitions and interruptions
Inevitably, students will have to leave and
enter the classroom for a variety of
reasons. These transitions and
interruptions can cause disorder if there are
no relevant rules and procedures.
Rules and procedures that pertain to
transitions and interruptions commonly
address the following areas:
Leaving the room
Returning to the room
Doing administrative activities
Using the bathroom
Using the library and resource room
Going to the canteen
Using the playground
Materials and equipments are critical to a
variety of subject areas. Rules and
procedures apply to the following areas:
Storage of common materials
The teacher’s desk and storage areas
Student’s desks and storage areas
Use of drinking fountain, sink, and pencil
Materials and equipment
Cooperative learning groups have positive
impacts on student achievement,
interpersonal relationships, and attitudes
about learning. Rules and procedures
address the following areas:
Movement in out of the group
Expected behavior of students in the group
Expected behavior of students in the group
Group communication with the teacher
Cooperative learning groups
Usually involves the expectation that
students will remain in their seats. Rules and
procedures apply to the following areas:
Student attention during presentation
Talking among students
Behavior when work has been done
Seatwork & teacher-led
Involving students in the
design of rules and
The most effective classroom managers do
not simply impose rules and procedures on
students. Rather, they engage students in
the design of the rules and procedures.
Classroom rules and procedures are
important, but they may vary from one
teacher to another. Rules and procedures
typically fall into several categories
including: general expectations for
behavior; beginning and ending the day
or period; transitions and interruptions;
materials & equipments; group work; and
teacher-led activities. In all cases, it is
important to involve students in the
design of classroom rules and
The lack of discipline is the most
serious problem facing schools
The higher the grade level, the more
disciplinary problems occur in public
What are the action steps
you are encouraged to
Action Step 1
Employ specific techniques that
acknowledge and reinforce acceptable
behavior and acknowledge and provide
negative consequences for
Five categories of disciplinary interventions
can be used to provide a balance of positive
and negative consequences:
Verbal and physical teacher reactions are
the simplest ways to acknowledge and
reinforce acceptable behavior and to
acknowledge and provide negative
consequences for unacceptable behavior.
Emmer, Evertson, and Worsham (2003) list a
variety of teacher reactions that include the
Make eye contact with an offending student
by moving closer to him or her.
Use physical signal to indicate that a given
action is inappropriate.
If a student is not following a procedure,
provide him/her with simple verbal reminder.
If a student is “off task” but not
misbehaving, state the desired appropriate
If a student does not respond to more
subtle interventions, simply tell the student to
stop the inappropriate behavior.
involves the use of some concrete symbol
of appropriate behavior. It is important for
any system of tangible recognition to be
accompanied by a thorough discussion of
the rationale behind it. Care should be taken
to ensure that tangible recognition is not
perceived as some type of bribe or form of
coercion relative to student behavior.
are more oriented toward negative
consequences for student behavior. These
strategies involve explicit and direct
consequences for inappropriate student
Isolation Time out
refers to the removal of a student from the
classroom reserved for disruptive students. It
requires that students have a clear
understanding as to the specific behaviors
that will lead to its use. Students should be
aware that isolation time out would be used
only when other attempts to correct the
disruptive behavior within the regular context
of the classroom have been exhausted.
is a procedure that is used when a student
has misbehaved in a way that destroys or
alters some objects in the classroom.
Student would be asked to overcompensate
for the behavior.
Group contingency techniques operate in a
fashion similar to concrete recognition
techniques except that they apply to a group
of students as opposed to individuals
require every student in the group to
meet the behavioral criterion for the group
to earn credit.
Dependent Group Contingency
requires a specific individual or a specific
set of individuals in the group to meet the
criterion for the group to earn credit.
Home contingency involves making parents
aware of the positive and negative behaviors
of their children. This is done in the form of a
short note, a letter, a phone call, or a visit to
the parents of the student.
Action Step 2
Establish clear limits for unacceptable
behavior and an effective system to
record these behavior.
To use positive and negative
consequences effectively, you must
establish limits. Setting limits is a perfect
opportunity to involve students in their own
management. Rather than you establishing
the limits in isolation, the class could do so
after discussing with them why the target
behavior is important and what are fair
expectations regarding that behavior. The
limit established by consensus approach
would be the best limit for the class.
The guiding principle for disciplinary
interventions is that they should include a
healthy balance between negative for
inappropriate behavior and positive
consequences for appropriate behavior.
Specific techniques that involve both positive
and negative consequences include teacher
reaction, tangible recognition, direct cost,
group contingency, and home contingency.
Whatever the approach, it is important to
establish behavioral limits and a record-
keeping system that allows you to keep track
of student behavior efficiently and
Communicating with Students
Everyday you communicate with
your students using different forms
of communication, verbal or non-
verbal. Though ability to
communicate is inherent to all
human beings, the skill to
communicate properly must be
Communication is a two way
process. If one is speaking,
somebody should be listening.
There is no communication if both
parties are speaking.
Communicating with students involves the
1.Using descriptive rather than judgmental
2.Teaching students to listen to you;
3.Listening to students;
4.Using supportive Replies;
5.Avoiding Unintended Messages; and
6.Professional confidence and student’s rights.
Using descriptive rather than
Research studies indicate that students
feel less threatened, less defensive, and
more willing to engage in learning
activities when working with teachers
who consistently use descriptive
language than they are when working
with teachers who use a more
judgmental language style.
Descriptive language verbally
portrays a situation, a behavior,
an achievement, or a feeling.
Judgmental language verbally
summarizes an evaluation of a
behavior, achievement or
person with a characterization
or label. Judgmental language
that focuses on personalities is
particularly detrimental to a
climate of cooperation.
The consequences of
Judgmental language makes pupils
uncomfortable in the teacher’s presence
because they believe that their teacher has
little respect for them.
Pupils develop a disruptive behavior pattern
as they live up to what they perceive to be
their teacher's expectation.
How would you avoid using
1. Avoid labels.
2. Learn to distinguish between a student’s
accomplishments and the value of the
3. Do not view a student’s display of off-
task behavior as a reflection of
4. Be responsible for teaching each student
to be on task and to achieve learning
5. Do not include judgment of student’s
characters among your responsibilities.
6. Do not hesitate in communicating your
feeling about specific behavior or
achievements of students. However, do
not allow those feelings to influence the
degree to which you respect, care for
and value students.
In order to consistently use a descriptive
language style, you must resist event
silent thoughts that characterize students
with labels such as, “smart”, “slow”, “good
reader”, “well behaved”, “problem child”,
“honest”, “intelligent”, “under achiever”,
and the paradoxical “overachiever”.
Instead of thinking of students according
to labels, you should focus on learning
tasks, circumstances, and situations.
Teaching Students to Listen to
There are at least seven ways how you could
teach your students to listen to you:
1. Use descriptive language.
2. Use words judiciously.
3. Think before talking.
4. Avoid useless words.
5. Speak only to intended listeners.
6. Be aware of your body languages.
7. Speak only to the attentive.
The Judicious Use of Words
In general, students are likely to pay
attention whenever you speak if they know
that whenever you speak you really have
something to say. By judiciously using
words that inform and by avoiding inane
talk, you leave your students with the idea
that they miss something by not hearing you
whenever you speak to them.
Thinking Before Talking
Rather than immediately reacting with the
first word that comes to mind, it is usually
wise for a teacher to pause and carefully
frame words before speaking to
Often, adults send inane messages to
children because they immediately react
to circumstances before they get more
More and More Useless Words
Students begin to learn to ignore teacher-
talk when teachers act as if they are
initiating a self-initiating behavior.
Students may begin tuning a teacher out
when that teacher makes judgments that
only the students can make.
Speaking Only to Intended
When the situation warrants, teachers
should make it clear that what she has to
say is meant only for a particular pupil.
Other pupils don’t have to stop their work
only to find that the teacher’s message
does not apply to them.
How you position your body when
speaking to students has a major impact
on what messages students receive.
Teachers sometimes make the mistake of
saying one thing to students, but
communicating another as a consequence
of their body language. Your voice
sometimes provides a hint of stress and
indicates to your pupils that you are not
really in control.
Speaking Only to the Attentive
Speak to people only when they are ready
to listen. Sometimes students may not be
ready to listen to you because they do not
think you understand them well enough.
Hence, you would not tell them anything
that they would consider important. In
other case, they are preoccupied with
thoughts with which they must dispense
with before attending to your message.
Listening to Students
A reasonably accurate understanding of
your students’ thoughts and attitudes is vital
to your ability to identify student’s needs,
decide learning goals, design learning
activities, and evaluate how well learning
goals are achieved. You also need to
understand students’ thoughts and attitudes
in order to decide what messages you
should communicate and when and how
each message should be communicated. By
listening to them, you will discover how to
get students to listen to you.
Using Supportive Replies
This includes accepting feelings,
relieving frustration and defusing
Expressions of feelings receive a
support when the listener indicates
that the expression has been
understood and accepted.
Frustration can be quite
incapacitating and sometimes a
person must relieve his or her
frustration before addressing the
source of the frustration. Having
another person’s empathy can
sometimes serve to relieve
By acknowledging students’
feelings with supportive replies,
you can avoid arguments and
dispense with excuses for not
Avoiding Unintended Messages
Unintended messages, unwittingly
communicated to students by teachers,
can cause many of the misunderstandings
about expectations that lead students to
become off-task. However, you can
reduce miscommunication when you send
unintended messages by :
modeling a business attitude;
avoiding disruptions in your own learning
avoiding destructive positive
avoiding destructive punishments.
Professional Confidence and
Violation of Trust
Trust between a teacher and a student is an
important ingredient in establishing a
classroom climate that is conducive to
cooperation, on-task behaviors, and
engagement in learning activities. Teachers
violate that trust when they gossip about
students or share information obtained through
their role as teachers with people who need
not privy to that information. Once students
acquire the idea that teachers gossip about
them, they are far less likely to feel
comfortable in trusting those teachers.
The following have a right &
need to know about students’
achievement levels and
• Students themselves
• Students parents/ guardians
• Professional personnel
subject area supervisor / curriculum
If there is one skill that is neglected or not
being developed by teachers, it is the ability
to communicate with students effectively.
Communicating with students involves
several skills which must be learned by
heart by all teachers.
Descriptive language should be used by
teachers rather than judgmental language.
To teach students to listen to you, you
should be aware of what, when, how, and
whom to speak.
Listening to pupils means to stop talking
and lend ears to students. Teachers should
listen not only to what pupils say but listen
also to what they do not say.
Pupils seek reply when they communicate
with their teachers. Replies should be
supportive. You can do this by accepting
feelings, relieving frustration and avoiding
Misinterpretations often occur when
teachers communicate with pupils. Thus,
teachers should be sensitive enough when
communicating with students. Teachers
should also avoid disrupting their own
learning activities because it carries
Trust is the most important ingredient in
communication. Teachers should engage in
activities in the classroom that promote trust
and confidence among pupils.
If a teacher has a good relationship with
students, then students more readily accept the
rules and procedures and the disciplinary
actions that follow their violations. Without the
foundation of a good relationship, students
commonly resist rules and procedures along
with the consequent disciplinary actions.
Product also of good teacher-student
relationship is responsible communication
Researchers indicate that on average,
teachers who have high-quality
relationships with their students had
31 percent fewer discipline problems,
rule violations, and related problems
over a year’s time with their students.
Effective teacher-student relationships
have nothing to do with teacher’s
personality or even with whether the
students view the teacher as a friend.
Rather, the most effective teacher-student
relationships are characterized by specific
• exhibiting appropriate levels of
• exhibiting appropriate levels of
• and being aware of high-needs students
Appropriate Levels of
Wubbels and his colleagues (1999) define
dominance as the ability to provide clear
purpose and strong guidance regarding both
academics and student behavior.
Teachers can exhibit appropriate dominance by:
establishing clear behavioral expectations
and learning goals
establishing clear rules and procedures
providing consequences for students
exhibiting assertive behavior
According to Emmer and colleagues (2003),
assertive behavior is the ability to stand up
for one’s legitimate rights in ways that make
it less likely that others will ignore or
Assertive behavior differs significantly from
both passive behavior and aggressive
behavior. Researchers explain that teachers
display assertive behavior in the classroom
Use assertive body language by
maintaining an erect posture, facing the
offending student but keeping enough
distance so as not to appear threatening and
matching the facial expression with the
content of the message being presented to
Use an appropriate tone of voice, speaking
clearly and deliberately in a pitch that is slightly
but not greatly elevated from normal classroom
speech, avoiding any display of emotions in the
Persist until students respond with the
appropriate behavior. Do not ignore an
appropriate behavior; do not be diverted by a
student denying, arguing, or blaming, but listen
to legitimate explanations.
providing clarity about the content and
expectations of an upcoming instructional unit.
Important teacher actions to achieve this end
Establishing and communicating learning
goals at the beginning of a unit of instruction.
Providing feedback of those goals.
Continually and systematically re-visiting the
Providing summative feedback regarding
Appropriate Levels of
Cooperation is characterized by a concern for
the needs and opinions of others. Although not
the antithesis of dominance, cooperation
certainly occupies a different realm. Whereas
dominance focuses on the teacher as the
driving force in the classroom, cooperation
focuses on the students and teacher
functioning as a team. The interaction of these
two dynamics; dominance and cooperation is a
central force in effective teacher-student
You can convey appropriate levels of
providing flexible learning goals.
take a personal interest in each student
Some practical strategies that emphasize
equitable and positive classroom interactions
with all students:
Make eye contact with each student.
Deliberately move toward and stand close
to each student during the class period.
Attribute the ownership of ideas to the
students who initiated them.
Allow and encourage all students to
participate in class discussions and
Provide appropriate wait time for all
students to respond to questions, regardless
of their past performance or your perception of
Awareness of High-Needs
Although the classroom teacher is certainly
not in a position to address the students’
severe problems, teachers with effective
management skills are aware of high-needs
students and have a repertoire of specific
techniques for meeting some of their needs.
Five Categories of
Behavior that avoids the domination of others
or the pain of negative experiences. The child
attempts to protect self from criticism,
ridicule, or rejection, possibly reacting to
abuse and neglect.
Passive students fall into two subcategories:
those who fear relationships
those who fear failure.
Fear of Relationships:
Fear of Failure:
Avoids connection with others, is shy,
doesn’t initiate conversations,
attempts to be invisible.
Gives up easily, is convinced he or
she can’t succeed, is easily
frustrated, uses negative self-talk.
have poor anger control, low
capacity for empathy, and an inability to see
the consequences of their actions.
consistently resist following orders,
argue with adults, use harsh language, and
tend to annoy others.
often nearby when trouble starts and
never quite do what authority figures
ask of them.
Behavior that demonstrates either motor or
attention difficulties resulting from a
Students with attention problems fall into two
Has difficulty with motor control, both
physically and verbally. Fidgets,
leaves seat frequently, interrupts,
Has difficulty staying focused and
following through projects. Has
difficulty with listening, remembering
Behavior that is geared toward avoiding the
embarrassment and assumed shame of
making mistakes. The child fears what will
happen if errors are discovered. Has
unrealistically high expectations of self. Has
Possibly received criticism or lack of
acceptance while making mistakes during
the process of learning.
Tends to focus too much on the small details
of projects. Will avoid projects if unsure of
outcome. Focuses on results and not on
relationships. Is self-critical.
Behavior that is based on the
misinterpretation of nonverbal signals of
others. The child misunderstands facial
expressions and body language. Hasn’t
received adequate training in these areas
and has poor role modeling.
Attempts to make friends but is inept and
unsuccessful. Is forced to be alone. Is often
teased for unusual behavior, appearance, or
lack of social skills.
Teacher-student relationships are critical to the
success of three of the other aspects of effective
classroom management. To build good
relationships with students, it is important to
communicate appropriate levels of dominance and
to let students know that you are in control of the
class and are willing to lead. It is also important to
communicate appropriate levels of cooperation and
to convey the message that you are interested in
the concerns of students as individuals and the
class as a whole. You may need to make a special
effort to build positive relationships with high-needs
students, but using the proper techniques in working
with these students can enhance the chance of
successful classroom management.