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What is Classroom Management?
And how can we as teachers create a strong and
positive classroom environment in urban middle
A Research Presentation for
NLU's MLE 502 by Loren Williams
What classroom management IS...
Creating a safe, inclusive
environment for all students
Building strong, positive
relationships with students
Understanding the unique
adolescent body and mindset
Understanding the multi-culltural
and individual differences within a
Promoting a love for learning and
Presenting engaging instruction
Consistent and fair discipline
Stating simple and clear
expectations for rules
Staging appropriate interventions
What classroom management is
Telling students what to do to make
your life easier
Teaching lessons in the style you
want to teach because it's easiest
A power struggle between
Overlooking of adolescent needs
Geared toward the teacher's
Inconsistent discipline or
overlooking of problems
Unplanned and “winged”
Full of numerous, illogical,
overbearing rules and
How can classroom management affect learning?
Studies from ASCD's article “The Critical
Role of Classroom Management” show that
learning is greatly affected by classroom
Why do teachers in general struggle with classroom management?
“Consider the research by Walter Borg and Frank Ascione
(1982). In a study involving 34 elementary school teachers who
were randomly assigned to experimental and control conditions,
they found that (1) teachers who had been trained in the use of
effective classroom management techniques (the experimental
group) improved their use of those techniques when compared
to a group of untrained teachers (those in the control group),
and (2) the students of the teachers in the experimental group
had fewer disruptions and higher engagement rates than those
in the control groups.” - ASCD
The answer, thus, lies in lack of training. Whether
it is lack of training in school or on the job,
teachers are not “born” classroom managers.
While some teachers may excel in classroom
management right away through charisma with
their students, truly refined management comes
from learning and training and is accessible to all
What are the most important tools we as teachers can use from
day one to develop great classroom management?
Routines—also known as classroom procedures—rid
students of distractions that waste time and interfere
with learning. Guesswork is minimized. Minor
frustrations and inconveniences are fewer, as are
opportunities for misbehavior. The students, then, are
left to focus on learning. - Michael Linsin, writer of the
blog “Smart Classroom Management” and author of
the book Dream Classroom
“Positively stated rules are clear to students and provide
observable behaviors for teachers to praise. Negatively written
rules focus on what's wrong and put our classrooms in
punishment mode.” - Sara Davis Powell, author of Introduction
to Middle School
POSITIVE FRAMING AND
“As a teacher, I almost always found that if I was angry with my
students, I had waited too long to address issues or that I was not
using consequences consistently. Using minor interventions and
small consequences that you can administer fairly and without
hesitation before a situation gets emotional is the key to maintaining
control and earning students' respect.” - Doug Lemov, Author of
“Teach Like a Champion”
“8th graders in urban and urban
schools scored lower on
Studies show that urban schools have the most difficulty managing classroom
behavior and academic goals...
What extra challenges do urban teachers and students face?
• Constant school reforms (no consistency
in teachers, administration, or rules)
• Not enough talk or examples of college
among the adults, siblings, or peers around
• Exposure to things that are inappropriate
for their age
• Not enough support in the K-2 grades yet
students continue to be passed to the next
• Low parent involvement in academics
How does this affect student learning even more negatively in
• Students do not trust and can assume the worst
• Disrespect toward adults (verbally, walk out of class when
they want, altercations with other students in class during
• No fear of consequences at home so acting out is not
• Low motivation to do work, leading to acting out
• Not on grade level, making the material seem difficult,
which can lead to acting out
What does a strong urban classroom manager look like?
Here's one teacher's advice on what she did to create a strong environment when
she taught at an urban middle school...
I knew I had to be strong voiced from day one
• My procedures and consequences had to be consistent
• I made sure I dressed and appeared in a way that would
not distract my students from focusing on their learning
• I made sure whatever I said to a student I could repeat to
their parent or my superior
• I recorded all behavior incidents
• I built a relationship with my students while carrying out
the classroom management plan
• I was very upfront and clear about what my goals and
intentions were --Teacher at LEARN
Charter Network, South
Side, Chicago, IL
How can we as teachers seek support in classroom management?
Again, the answer is training and
implementation in your classroom.
Seek help from your university.
Seek professional development
opportunities from administrators.
Pour through online resources and
Seek out effective teachers to
observe and learn from.
If we are to ever close the learning gap in urban
classrooms, it must first be with strong classroom
managers. Learning these skills will benefit any
teacher enormously and have a stronger effect on
better learning outcomes.
Resources (Texts, etc.)
Lawler, Nikki. Personal interview. 15 Jul. 2013.
Lemov, Doug. (2010). Teach Like a Champion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Linsin, Michael. Why Routines Make Classroom Management Easier; Plus One Great
Idea. Retrieved from: http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2009/11/07/why-routines-
Marzano, R.J., Marzano, J.S., and Pickering, D.J. Classroom Management That
Works. Retrieved from
National Center for Education Statistics. Urban Schools: The Challenge of Location
and Poverty. Retrieved from: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/96184all.pdf
Powell, Sara Davis. (2011). Introduction to Middle School (2nd
ed.). Boston, MA:
Pearson Education, Inc.