Classroom management is a term that is being used by teachers to explain about the

process of creating an effective lesson in a classroom. According to Akhiar Pardi and
Shamsina Shamsuddin (2012), this classroom management concept is actually related to the
avoiding of the misbehavior among the pupils and how the teachers cope with the situation if
there are still inappropriate behaviours occur in a classroom. It is not an easy task for a
teacher to manage a classroom and it would be a great challenge for him or her to deal with
various kinds of pupils, who come from different ethnics, religions and also socio-economic
backgrounds. Therefore, there are some disciplines models that teachers could implement in
creating a positive classroom environment that are being introduced by the famous theorists.
The models actually could be the guidelines for the teachers to manage a classroom. Three
of the theories that I could make some analysis based on my readings are: the Theories of
Democratic Teaching, the Theories of Instructional Management and the Theories of
Assertive Tactics.
Firstly, I would analyse on the theories of democratic teaching, which was being
presented by Rudolf Driekurs in 1972. Driekurs had emphasized more on three important
aspects in this democratic tactics, which are active student involvement, promoting a sense
of belonging and also fostering self discipline (Charles, 2014). It is common for a human
being to have a need to be accepted by others. Dreikurs agreed with the Alfred Adler‟s idea,
saying that the purpose of human beings showing all the behaviours is they really want to
achieve social recognition from others (Dreikurs, 1968). Therefore, when the children could
not achieve the social recognition, they tend to misbehave to gain it. That is why, according
to Edwards (1993), Driekurs believed that all misbehavior is the result of a pupil‟s mistaken
assumptions about gaining the recognition. He had identified four mistaken goals, which are
gaining attention, seeking for power, exacting revenge and also displaying inadequacy.
These motives have a hierarchical relationship to one another, which means pupils will first
try to get the teacher‟s attention by showing inappropriate behaviour like disturbing their
friends or scribbling on the classroom‟s wall. If this strategy does not work, they will seek for
power by acting like a „boss‟ in the class by showing disrespectful behaviour towards the
teacher. Then, the power might be followed by revenge which could make the teacher feels
hurt and finally, the pupils will display inadequacy as an excuse when the earlier strategies
are unsuccessful.
Moving on, there are two emphasised strategies in this theory, which are logical
consequences and encouragement. The first strategy, which is logical consequences, they
do not occur naturally, but with the teacher‟s intervention. Logical consequences generally
express the reality of the social order and are the results that can be expected whenever a
pupil fails to obey the rules (Edward, 2007). Therefore, a teacher would establish the
classroom‟s rules first and then he or she will implement logical consequences, aiming for
correcting the pupils‟ misbehavior. For example, if there a pupil writes on the classroom wall,
he could be either clean the wall or pay the cleaner to clean for them. Logical consequences
should not be confused with punishment. For me, punishment is too painful for a pupil to
bear whereas logical consequences will give the pupil opportunity to correct their
misbehaviour. The second strategy in this theory is encouragement rather than praise.
Encouragement is a useful technique for preventing discipline problems as it corresponds to
the pupil‟s goals or motives (Edward, 2007). Edward added that encouragement focuses on
giving positive feedback to the pupils who are trying hard even though he or she could not
achieve any level of achievement. Therefore, this kind of strategy could stimulate them to
keep on working with what they are doing and motivate them to do better.
There are a few strengths that I could find from the theories of democratic teaching.
Firstly, I found that this theory promotes mutual respect between teacher and the pupils
(Lyons, Ford & Arthur-Kelly, 2011). This is because, in democratic teaching theories,
teachers are required to seek out needs-based explanations for why their pupils are doing
inappropriate misbehavior and then try to negotiate alternative ways for these needs to be
met. This could be said that teachers are trying to fulfill the pupils‟ needs and at the same
time pupils will give them cooperation by showing good behaviours in class. The next
strength for this theory is it could help the pupils to understand their misbehaviours. Since
logical consequences are being implemented in this theory, pupils will have time to
understand their mistakes. For example, when a pupil is being isolated because he is
interrupting his friends during the lesson, he will realise that he should not act like that. Then,
the teacher could focuses more on the causes of the behaviour by finding for the motives
before taking any actions. The weaknesses of this theory are teacher may be could not
determine the pupils‟ motives and pupils may not admit their actual motives. This is because
pupils believe that their motives are unacceptable or they do not understand the misbehavior
they have done.
Democratic teaching theories could be used in our ESL classroom by having
discussion in the classroom. From the discussion, teacher could seek out for the pupils‟
needs and make them express themselves in the group without feeling threatening. This is
how they could feel they are actually belongs to the social community.
Secondly, I will analyse on the theories of instructional management by Jacob
Kounin. The three key concepts that Kounin had proposed are teacher behaviour, movement
management and group focus. According to Kounin, the success of a teacher dealing with
various groups in a class comes from the prevention that he or she did before misbehavior
occurred, instead of correcting it (Edward, 2007). Teacher behaviour is actually about the
withitness or other teacher instructional behaviour. Movement management is about the flow
of instruction in the presentation of a lesson and the maintenance of appropriate pupil
behaviour in the classroom, whereas the third concept by Kounin is group focus, which is
about teacher uses appropriate instructional activities in order to keep the pupils engage with
the lesson (Manning & Butcher, 2003). These three concepts are very important for a teacher
to manage a classroom as this theory actually focuses on making the pupils engage with the
lesson without interrupting the flow of the teaching and learning process with their
There are six strategies that I had chosen which Kounin‟s had proposed for the
teachers to implement in the classroom. The first strategy is withitness. Withitness refers to
the teacher‟s awareness of all events, activities and the pupils‟ behaviours in a classroom. It
is like the teacher has „eyes in the back of her head‟ (Manning & Butcher, 2003). For
example, when the teacher is writing on the whiteboard, teacher still could detect the pupils‟
misbehavior. The second strategy is accountability. Accountability is about making the pupils
engage with the lesson by calling on them from time to time to respond, demonstrate or
explain (Charles, 2014). Teacher will interact with the pupils in the middle of the lesson by
asking the pupils questions or opinions. For example, “Alia, do you think we could do
something like this?” Therefore, she will respond to the teacher showing that she is still
giving attention to the lesson. The third strategy is group alerting. It is where teachers obtain
pupils‟ full attention before giving directions or making explanations (Charles, 2014). Teacher
will try to get the pupils‟ attention first like making them sit still and silence before the lesson
starts. The next strategy is ripple effect, whereby teachers correct one pupil to another pupil‟s
misbehavior. For instance, in a classroom, whenever the teacher could see two or three
pupils talking during the lesson, she will say out a name and the others will stop doing the
misbehavior. The fifth strategy is overlapping, which means in a classroom, the teacher is
multi-tasking, whereby she could deliver the lesson and at the same time manage to control
the classroom. The last strategy is momentum. Momentum refers to a forward movement of
the lesson, without any interruption (Charles, 2014).
One of the strengths of this theory is it is easy to be applied in the classroom since it
is about engaging the pupils‟ interest towards the lesson. Other than that, it could also create
a whititness image where the teacher could control the class by being aware with what is
happening during the teaching and learning process. Lastly, it helps the teacher to handle
situational discipline problems. In contrast, the weakness of this theory is it could only
prevent misbehavior, but not cure. This could be a problem for a teacher to manage the
situation when the class no longer could be controlled although all the prevention strategies
have been done.
When talking about the practicality of the theory for ESL classroom in our country, I
think it will give the opportunity for the teachers to create fun and interesting lessons so that
they could make the pupils engage with the lesson in order to prevent the misbehaviours.
Using accountability strategy for example, the pupils will have the chances to be a part of
decision-making process, especially when the teacher asks opinion from them.
The last theory that I chose to analyse is Assertive Tactics by Lee Canter and
Marlene Canter. The key concepts for this theory are teachers were in charge of the
classroom and had the right to teach without interruptions, the building of trusting relationship
with pupils and teacher as a model of the classroom behaviours to the pupils. Analysing the
first concept, the Canters insisted that pupils have a right to learn in a calm, orderly
classroom and teachers had a right to teach without being interrupted by misbehaviour
(Charles, 2014). Then, this theory also makes building the trusting relationship between
teacher and pupils as a very important concept since it promotes the calm and non-
threatening teaching and learning environment. That is why the teachers have to be the
model of the classroom behaviours by using certain strategies.
This theory offers strategy that requires a plan. The plan consists of three parts which
the first one is set of rules for class behaviour, secondly is the positive consequences that
pupils will receive for obeying the rules and final part is the negative consequences that
result when pupils choose to break the rules. Making the rules known to the students can
help them to understand the teachers‟ expectations on how to behave in classroom (Manning
& Bucher, 2006). Besides, the rules could be more effective if they are being followed by the
reasonable consequences that are appropriate for the misbehaviour‟s students who do not
comply with the expectations. Likewise, provide positive consequences for students who
comply with the rules. Therefore, that is how the three plans of this model work as they linked
and related with each other. This model promotes praise first and punishment as a last
resort. Then, the strategy that the Canters also proposed is discipline hierarchy. When the
misbehaviours occur in the classroom, teacher has four steps to follow to make the pupils
learn from their mistake. The first step is warning and then punishment, inform the parents
and lastly meet the principal.
There are some advantages from this theory. Firstly, some teachers cite that the
establishment of the rules is very helpful to make the students see clearly on how they
should behave. The rules are just like a guideline for the students to follow. The students
also will understand that the rules come together with consequences that affect teacher‟s
reaction. Then, the rules also come out from the mutual agreement from both parties which
could produce win-win situation and build trust among each other. As for the disadvantage, it
would be a problem for the teachers to proceed with a step-by-step approach to solve
behaviour problems. Since teachers have to follow the steps, when handling more than one
misbehaviours at a time would be difficult and teachers might not have the time to follow the
discipline hierarchy.
Moving on to the practicality of this theory, it is effective to be applied in our local ESL
classroom because based on this model; consequences are delivered systematically with
each occurrence of misbehaviour. The discipline hierarchy informs the students of
consequences and the orders which they will be imposed. Therefore, the teachers could
prevent them from continuing to commit the inappropriate behaviours. That is how the mutual
understanding could be build between teacher and pupils.
From the three theories, I would choose Jacob Kuonin‟s instructional management
theories because I think the idea of preventing is better than cure really makes me feel that
this theory is suitable to be practiced in my classroom. By engaging the pupils‟ attention
towards the lesson, I would be very happy to provide them the activities that would not make
them lose their interests towards my lesson.
Based on the review made for these three theories, it is clearly shown that each of
them has its merits and weaknesses. The Canters came with the idea of assertive teacher
while Dreikurs proposed his belief through the democratic teaching and Kounin offered
instructional management through few ways to reduce discipline problem. Teachers can
choose any theory to be practised in the classroom or mix one and another based on their
students‟ behaviour. In conclusion, the teachers should know which theory work best for their
students provided that the theory offers different advantages and disadvantages.