Classroom Management

Why Is Classroom Management Important?

6 Min Read
WF1802900 Shaped 2023 Blog Post Why is Classroom Management Important

Setting up a classroom management plan in the first few weeks of school allows for smooth sailing throughout the school year. Not only does having a classroom management plan help establish daily routines and procedures, like lining up for lunch or logging into a laptop, but it also helps establish student expectations in the classroom community. When routines and procedures are clear and expectations well known, the benefits of classroom management make every day manageable and, in turn, make more time for teachable moments.

The Importance of Classroom Management in My Classroom

Effective classroom management is essential for a positive learning environment for my students and a productive working environment for me. Classroom management refers to what teachers do to facilitate student learning and ensure successful instruction. So a well-managed classroom has simple processes in place that allow students a level of independence while working within the established routines and procedures. During back-to-school time, I deliberately practice the procedures with my students. This way the classroom processes become second nature to students, even when a substitute teacher is present.

Creating simplified classroom routines and procedures helps us teachers too. They help keep classrooms running smoothly and allow us to truly enjoy our craft. When classroom routines are working well, it opens doors for even more teaching and learning to take place, which I’ve noticed results in better learning outcomes.

I have also found that classroom management is most effective when it’s collaborative. My classroom environment is built on the community concept. However, we still need rules, like the ones listed Classcraft's website. In our first community meeting of the school year, students discuss necessary classroom rules, and we make a list. Within the first three weeks of school, we adjust as needed, and in the end, we usually end up with something like this: Loper Bulldogs are Responsible, Respectful, and Safe. That is THE rule. The idea is to come up with one single rule that serves as a guiding light for our class. We then define what that rule would look like in the hallway, in the restroom, in shared spaces (like the cafeteria or gym), and outdoors.

Classroom

Hallways

Restrooms

Outdoor

Common Areas (gym, cafeteria)

Responsible

  • Hang up book bag/ coat
  • Follow classroom procedures
  • No loitering
  • Stay in assigned area
  • Use equipment properly
  • Follow directions
  • Stay in assigned area
  • Follow directions
  • Stay in assigned area

Respectful

  • Follow directions
  • Use respectful language
  • No teasing, harassment, or bullying
  • Be patient with each other
  • Follow directions
  • Use respectful language
  • No teasing, harassment, or bullying
  • Give privacy to others
  • Use respectful language
  • Everyone plays
  • Keep hands, feet, and body parts to yourself
  • Use respectful language
  • No teasing, harassment, or bullying

Safe

  • Push chair in
  • Walk
  • Do NOT open classroom door unless granted permission
  • Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself
  • Walk
  • Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself
  • Use caution when walking in and out
  • Alert an adult if the floor is wet
  • Follow directions
  • Use equipment properly
  • Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself

6 Reasons Why Classroom Management Is Important

With a classroom management plan, students learn valuable life lessons, like time management, mindfulness, and organization. All the while, teachers can create a welcoming learning environment where everyone feels respected. Below are ways in which classroom management is paramount for both students and teachers.

1. Teaching Time Management

A visible daily schedule helps students know what is coming next. Even a student who can’t tell time can use picture cues on a schedule to see what will be happening and how much time is allotted for different activities. Having this visual in a classroom where all students can see or access as needed also helps with questions like, “when is recess?” or “when do we go to lunch?”

2. Providing a Functional Learning Environment

Classroom setup is instrumental to establishing a positive classroom management strategy, but an aesthetically pleasing, well-decorated room doesn’t always equate to a functional learning space. A teacher should map out the setup, lay it out, and walk through each area, practicing whatever routines might happen in that space, then adjust before students arrive. For example, if the pencil sharpener is close to an area where small group work may be occurring, it might be wise to move the sharpener to prevent distractions to students in small group. Taking on the view of a student and pretending to go through the actions of a school day help a teacher to see things in a different way. Then, during the first three weeks of school, observe how students are moving through the classroom and make any necessary adjustments to spacing and layout to ensure students have the learning environment they need.

3. Practicing Mindfulness

One area in my classroom setup that is very important is our cool down space and our reminder of zones of regulation. Our school practices TBRI®, Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, and it is important for students to have the tools and space to self-regulate to stay on task or to avoid triggering interactions. When students have a space to cool down or to stop, pause, and do some deep breaths, oftentimes I have found that is enough to calm a student who is beginning to panic over something happening in class. A timer is used, and the students all have a chance to practice using the calming space in those early weeks of school and understand it is not an avoidance space but rather a place to help them be ready to learn.

4. Organizing Student Work Areas

Another space to pay attention to is the student work area, which can be a desk or table. Part of our routine is knowing what should be in the desks/tables and what should be stored somewhere else in class. Whenever possible, I try to group items by number (clipboards, personal whiteboards, supply packs) and store in bins or drawers for that desired number. I use stackable plastic drawers, with numbers 1–5 in one set of drawers, and 6–10, 11–15, 15–20, 21–25, and 26–30 in the rest.

5. Establishing Procedures and Expectations

Through clear procedures and expectations, you can evade classroom disruptions and manage student behavior. For example, in my classroom, I allow students to have refillable water bottles, and we agree to a filling process as well as a bathroom procedure. More water inevitably means more bathroom breaks. As part of our community discussion of procedures, we talk about what we need so that all students are empowered to come and go on their own as they work. We agree to consequences if it doesn’t work as it should. We have a sign out/in sheet hanging by the door. Students grab a mini construction cone marked with where they’re going: bathroom, bottle fill, office, or nurse. Students must select a partner to go with them, and each student signs out and places the appropriate cone on their desk. If another staff member reports that students are misbehaving, there is a warning. A second offense means students can no longer use the sign out/in sheet for a week and must check with me first. A third offense ends the ability to freely use the sign out/in sheet for good. Clear expectations upfront and specific consequences that the class agrees to allows for peer monitoring. I have done this for several years now and only a handful have lost the ability to use the sign out/in sheet.

6. Fostering Student Independence

Having routines and procedures for daily tasks allows students to be independent and self-managing when possible. Once established, the routinized structure frees the teacher from overseeing everyday tasks. These routines should be clearly stated and modeled. Allocate time in the first few weeks of school to restate and demonstrate the routines and procedures daily.

Benefits of Classroom Management

Classroom management can really make or break your school year. Successfully implementing a classroom management plan can increase student productivity and student engagement. When routines and procedures are in place, students are more likely to remain on task rather than engage in a disruptive behavior. More importantly, incorporating effective classroom management strategies cultivates a collaborative classroom community where students feel seen and respected.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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Discover more classroom management tips and resources to ensure success for both you and your students.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® and TBRI ® are registered trademarks of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development 2022.

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