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Classroom Management
Anna Cavaluzzi
Molloy College




This paper will explore the differences between classroom management and discipline. The
author also talks about components that make up a well-managed classroom. The paper will also
include a description of the author’s ideal first day of school and the guidelines she will set up in
her classroom. Finally, the author will discuss how she would deal with major and minor
disturbances in the classroom.


Classroom Management

Though complete peace is desired in a classroom by any teacher, it is inevitable that there
will be times where the peace is disturbed and a teacher will have to deal with these disturbances.
As a result, it is important that all teachers have a good classroom management system.
Classroom management and discipline are not interchangeable and are to be used at different
points in the classroom. Classroom management should be used when addressing routine, while
discipline should be used when addressing behavior (Wong & Wong, 2005). Classroom
management is the way in which a teacher keeps students “organized, orderly, focused, attentive,
on task and academically productive during a class (“Classroom Management, 2014, para. 1).”
Discipline can be defined as “a companion to classroom management, part of a routine class
session, and a system to maintain desired behaviors (“Classroom Discipline”, n.d., para. 4).
Classroom management covers anything in the classroom that a teacher can do to help
facilitate student learning, whether it be altering the classroom arrangement, lesson
differentiation, encouragement and positive reinforcement, to name a few (“Classroom
Management”, 2014). Setting strong procedures in the classroom is one way in which classroom
management and discipline differ. Classroom discipline becomes necessary once disruption
occurs in the classroom and these procedures are broken. (Ministry of Education Guyana, 2015).
According to Harry and Rosemary Wong, classroom management helps teach students
responsibility through setting up class procedures for students. They also stated that the
difference between effective and ineffective teachers is that those who are effective use
classroom management tactics while those who are inefficient use discipline in their class



One major component of a well-managed classroom is classroom arrangement. It is
important that all students have an equal view of the teacher from their seats and that the teacher
can equally see every student while teaching in front of the classroom (Salvato, 2016a). Room
arrangement includes location of the teacher’s desk in relation to the door and the student’s desks
(Salvato, 2016a). From the first day of school, a student should also be aware of where in the
classroom certain supplies are located. Not only will this help the students feel comfortable in the
classroom, it also allows for a teacher to save time by constantly having to address where things
are located throughout the school year (“The Ultimate Classroom Organization”, n.d.).
Classroom arrangement could also include having one area of the room specifically designated
for special information to be written down. Make sure this area is visible to all students as it will
help students stay organized (Watson, 2013). Jacob Kounin states that a teacher should be aware
of what is going on in every part of the classroom, and this is why it is important that the
classroom arrangement allows for the teacher to be at the center of the classroom and visible to
all students (Salvato, 2016b).
Another major component of classroom management is positive reinforcement and
encouragement. It is important that teachers make the classroom a positive environment in which
students feel safe and valued by all. It is also important when a student misbehaves that the
teacher tries to help them by offering positive reinforcement of their actions rather than
criticizing them and putting them down (Salvato, 2016a). B.F. Skinner and Neo-Skinnerians
believe that constant reinforcement in the classroom helps shape a student’s overall behavior.
Skinner also stated that these behaviors, should they not be reinforced, begin to lose their
effectiveness. (Salvato, 2016b)



Consistency is another important part of classroom management. It is important that
teachers are consistent with their rules in the classroom throughout the school year regardless of
anything that might occur throughout the year (Salvato, 2016a). Consistency also comes to light
again in the form of daily routine in the classroom. For example, if a teacher sets a rule that
every Friday all of the homework assignments for the week are due, they should not begin to
accept late homework. In terms of consistency, William Glasser stated that teachers should have
consistent consequences put in place in the classroom for when students misbehave. He said that
“teachers must see that responsible consequences always follow student behavior, good or bad
(Salvato, 2016b, p.3).”
Another component of classroom management is creating a tone of mutual respect and
accountability within the classroom. Teachers need to respect the students and the students need
to respect the teacher. Both need to be held accountable for their work, and this includes
accepting consequences (Salvato, 2016a). One of my high school teachers felt very strongly
about student accountability. If we did not hand in an assignment, she would remind us once, but
after that we were on our own. She simply said that it was our grade that would be affected and
as high school seniors we should be responsible enough to hand in our homework on time.
Holding students accountable for their work, especially in high school, is a great classroom
management technique. Not only does it help keep students responsible for their own work, but it
prepares them for their future in college where they need to be accountable and responsible.
On the first day of school, I would expect my students to come into the classroom
respectfully and with an open mind to learning. As much as I disliked “ice breaker” activities
throughout my schooling career, I would probably do one on the first day of school as a means to
learn the names of my students. The ice breaker would be something short and simple; such as



state your name and your favorite television show. One of my classroom rules would be that my
classroom is to be an environment in which the students and the teacher respect one another.
Another classroom rule would be to always hand assignments in on time. I would allow my
students choose their own seats in the classroom instead of giving them assigned seats. I believe
that giving students the freedom to choose where they want to sit would have a better influence
on the respectful classroom. I would also speak to my students about the use of cell phones in the
classroom. I’ll let the students know that if I see them constantly on their cell phones and
ignoring me while I’m talking then that is when cell phones will no longer be allowed in the
classroom. By doing this, my hope is that I can build a level of respect with my students by
showing them that I trust them to make the right decision.
If a student breaks a classroom rule, there will be certain consequences. If a student
forgot to hand in a major assignment by the due date, points would be taken off for every day
that the student did not hand in the project. A student who is constantly late to class without an
acceptable excuse would have points taken off their participation grade. In regards to the cell
phone rule, if I begin to notice that a particular student constantly used their phone in class and it
was affecting their grade, then I would to stop allowing them to have their cell phone in class. I
would also call home and let their parent or guardian know that their constant cell phone use will
affect their grades.
Minor disturbances in the classroom will inevitably occur almost every day and as a
result are something a teacher will constantly have to handle. If a student was initiating a minor
disturbance, such as the constant tapping of a pen, I would use non-verbal cues to try and get
them to calm down. Something as simple as making eye contact with a student or walking over
to the student’s desk and tapping it so that they stop is enough to address the disturbance without



causing a disruption. Another minor disturbance in the classroom could be a particular student
constantly leaving the classroom to use the bathroom. A way I would address this would be to
limit the number of times I would allow that student use the bathroom, or I would only allow
students to use the bathroom in the first few minutes of the class while I am still taking
attendance and the class is settling down.
Major disturbances are different than minor disturbances because they could potentiall
cause a disruption that would affect the whole class. A case of cyberbullying is an example of a
major disturbance. If posed with a case of cyberbullying, I would initially address the situation
by speaking to the students directly involved in person, and outside of class time so that they do
not feel embarrassed in front of their peers. I would calmly ask what happened and what
occurred for this event to happen in the first place. Depending on the severity of the case, and in
good faith, I would involve the parents. I would be sure to talk to the parents calmly, keeping my
emotions in check and I would be sure to talk to them with another adult in the room should
things get too extreme.
Setting up a classroom management plan is one of the most important things a teacher
can do. Not only does it set up expectations for students, but it sets up expectations for the
teacher as to how they wish for the school year to go. If the classroom management plan is
respected by the students, it will create an optimal environment for both the students and the








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