What is classroom management?

To understand classroom leadership is to have more room for actions.

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Klasseromsitasjon der lærer hjelper elev ved pulten.
Classroom management is much more multifunctional then just establishing rules, rewards, controlling students’ behavior and giving penalties. Photo: iStock.

Classroom management is a practical effort that one can see through ta teacher’s actions. Behind those actions lay the theoretical background, based on knowledge gained through the combination of contextual and personal factors.

Classroom management is much more multifunctional then just establishing rules, rewards, controlling students’ behavior and giving penalties. The teacher supposed to create caring, supportive relationships with students, encourage children to participate in academic tasks, help and assist students with behavior problems, organize and implement instructions in ways that optimize students’ access to learning, promote the development of students’ social skills and self-regulation.

Classroom management definitions

The understanding and definition of a good classroom leadership has changed through time. Classroom management is a complex concept; still different theoretical frameworks emphasize the same aspects of classroom leadership.

Evertson and Weinstein (2006) defined classroom management as “the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning” (p.4)

According to Marzano et al (2003) the foundation of successful management is the effective classroom leader, who uses different types of strategies with different types of children, who possesses special classroom management techniques, and who designs classroom curriculum.

What does the research say about effective classroom leadership?

For forty years researchers all over the world have been exploring the learning environment that brings the best outcome in students’ learning. The results are significant.

The findings add to our understanding that there are consistent dimensions that effective classroom management is built on:

  1. Rules and procedures
  2. Teacher – student relationships
  3. Teacher’s mental set
  4. Teacher’s didactical competence

A theoretical work that has dominated the field for the last years is presented by Pianta R. and colleagues (2005). It may be the one that captures the complexity of classroom management the most. They describe it as a communication process, through which teacher and student exchange information.

Pianta emphasized three major domains in classroom interactions between teacher and student: emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. Norwegian Centre for Learning Environment and Behaviour Research in Education has recently started a new project “Classroom interaction for enhanced student learning-CIESL”, that explores these three domains in Norwegian schools.

Text: Sue Solheim and Unni Vere Midthassel