Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 11/The Scoop From Someone Who Knows

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Keeping Order in the Classroom

By Angelia Ferguson

Learning Targets

  • Identify areas of classroom management
  • Learn ways to deal with disruptive students


  • Introduction
  • Areas of Classroom Management
  • Disruptive Students
  • Scoop From Someone Who Knows
  • Conclusion
  • Questions
  • Answers
  • References


As teachers, we all have educational philosophies in our minds pertaining to our classrooms. How will the environment feel? What will it look like? Classroom management means managing both student behavior and the physical learning environment. It is an important issue and is a concern for all teachers. We need to make sure that lessons run smoothly, despite disruptive behavior by students.

Areas of Classroom Managemant

According to Karen Zauber, from the National Education Association, teachers need to consider four areas of classroom management:

  1. Establishing classroom climate - the look and feel of your room
  2. Conducting class efficiently - managing time and students
  3. Reaching all students - delivery, encouragement, teaching techniques
  4. Establishing discipline - creating an atmosphere of consistency and mutual respect.

(Management Tips for New Teachers)

Research has shown that "teachers' actions in their classrooms have twice the impact on student achievement as do school policies regarding curriculum, assessment, staff collegiality, and community involvement(Marzano, 2003a)." One of the teacher's most important jobs is managing the classroom effectively. Students cannot learn in a chaotic, poorly managed classroom.

Teachers can establish clear expectations for behavior in two ways: by establishing clear rules and procedures, and by providing consequences for student behavior. It is important to reinforce acceptable behavior while providing consequences for unacceptable behavior.


Also, teachers should establish rules for basic situations to keep order in their classrooms. Examples: passing papers, going to the bathroom, sharpening pencils, and safety routines.

Disruptive Students

Being a new teacher with a class of 20 students can be overwhelming. However, just a small number of students will usually disrupt class. This is a difficult situation for teachers and more so for other students. Time spent on inappropriate behavior takes time away from teaching and causes distractions(Teaching and Learning: Disruptive Students).

There are 3 key ideas in handling disruptive students:

  • Know your students
  • Use the schools resources
  • Use practical application in discipline

(How to deal with disruptive students)

Knowing your students and being able to relate to them is very important. Their background, family life, interests, hobbies, talents, etc. will help in the communication process. Parental involvement is also important. Talking with the guidance counselors, and previous teachers can also help one understand their students and may shed some light on their problematic behavior. Using these resources can help you to better understand how to handle a disruptive student. Finally, apply practical discipline. Find something "important" for the student to do and take the focus off the inappropriate behavior. Praise child in front of classmates.

Example: If a student is running down the hall instead of staying in line with other classmates walking to lunch, give him/her a job as the "leader."

Scoop From Someone Who Knows

Beth Close has been a Kindergarten teacher for 12 years at Tazewell Elementary in Virginia. I asked her the following questions. What is the hardest part about managing your classroom? She said, "Meeting the individual needs of each student at the same time. Every child is different, and they learn in different ways." How do you handle disruptive students? She said there was a variety of strategies she has used over the years. One that has worked well for her is using a piggy bank with pennies as a reward system. The student receives a penny each day for good behavior. At the end of the week, they get to buy something out of the treasure chest. This gives students an incentive to have good behavior. She said, "Students with inappropriate behavior first receive a warning, then a time out, then a note send home, then a phone call home, and finally they are removed from the class." She has also used the old fashioned name on the board routine, and a color light/green light. I also asked her, What would you do if a student refuses to do what you ask? Beth said this automatically calls for a 5 minute time out. She has no tolerance for this kind of behavior. The last question I asked her was concerning how students treat each other. What do you do when students are disrespectful to each other? This situation calls for a child to be removed from the classroom and to sit alone for a few minutes. Beth says that consistency is the key, as well as the same punishment and reward for each student.

It is refreshing to get the scoop from someone already out in the field, living the experience everyday. We imagine what the classroom setting will be like, but will not really know until we are there ourselves. The information provided is meaningful because she already knows what works and what does not. It was nice to see that all of her answers are parallel to what the research says. Which is, being consistent and fair is one good way to promote good classroom discipline.


It seems that the phrase "expect the unexpected" really applies in managing a classroom. As teachers, we need to be flexible in responding to the unexpected. We also need to be consistent in the application of discipline, not raise our voices and try to remain calm and rational. We need to be fair to all students. The combination of establishing clear expectations for rules and procedures, and providing consequences with incentives or by punishment and learning the best ways to handle disruptive behaviors are the important issues in managing an effective classroom. We need to evaluate each circumstance and ensure that the consequence fits the crime.


1) Which is one of the four areas of classroom management?

  • a. begin class on time
  • b. being mobile in classroom
  • c. establishing classroom climate
  • d. grade assignments ASAP

2) Which is NOT a way to deal with disruptive students?

  • a. apply practical discipline
  • b. arguing with students
  • c. know your students
  • d. use school resources

3) In class, Mason is talking and not paying attention. What would you do?

  • a. call his name and humiliate him
  • b. call on him to read next sentence/paragraph
  • c. ignore him and keep on teaching
  • d. threaten him to be quiet

4) During storytime Gayle will not sit still she is distracting other students. You should?

  • a. allow her to keep disrupting class in order to not make it worse
  • b. keep telling her to sit down
  • c. let her help you hold book
  • d. make her leave room

Answers: 1)C 2)B 3)B 4)C


1) Atherton, J.S.(2005) Teaching and Learning: Disruptive Students. Retrieved June 4, 2009 from

2) Classroom Management.(n.d.) Retrieved June 4, 2009 from

3) How to deal with disruptive students. Retrieved June 4, 2009 from

4) Marzano, R.J.(2003a). What works in schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

5) Marzano, R.J. (with Marzano, J.S., & Pickering, D.J.)(2003b). Classroom Management that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

6) Zauber, Karen. Management Tips for New Teachers. Retrieved June 4, 2009 from

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