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Maintain Effective Classroom Management: Tips and Techniques to Keep Control while Teaching

Learn about effective classroom management techniques and tips.

Learn about effective classroom management techniques and tips.

Effective Classroom Management

Want to be a successful teacher and be able to maintain control in the classroom? Having effective classroom management skills is the key to being successful at maintaining control in the classroom and having a great school year. While it may take a few years to become a pro at this, everything can be implemented right away, as soon as the school year begins on the very first day.

Here you can learn a variety of classroom management techniques to use in your classroom.

Have courage and be a successful teacher in the classroom.

Have courage and be a successful teacher in the classroom.

Classroom Behavior Management

Classroom Management Tips

Classroom Management Plan

Teaching Resources

Classroom Management Strategies

Here are some tips to maintain effective classroom management:

  • Arrange seating chart(s) before the school year starts. Most teachers, if not all, receive their rosters before the school year starts. Use the roster and the classroom layout to create your seating chart(s). Try simple rows at first, arranging the students in alphabetical order until you learn their names. If you’re lucky enough to have a computer program that creates a seating chart with the students’ pictures, utilize it to your advantage. You can create the chart AND learn the students’ names before you meet them, which will make quite an impression on your students. After getting to know the students and their learning preferences, you can rearrange the seating chart throughout the year.
  • Note: If you have an inclusion classroom, be sure to follow the seating directions given to you in the student’s IEP or other documents. Some students require preferential seating where they are placed away from distractions and near the teacher.
  • Establish daily activity schedule. Stick to it. This can be critical when trying to establish classroom management. Students like routine, so it is important to have that routine from the very first day. Mine was simple: opening activity while teacher completes hall duty/attendance, homework check, review of previous lesson, new material/lesson, homework assignment, closure. While the activities changed, the routine didn’t. The students knew what to expect and it kept them from devising their own activities which would disrupt the educational process.
  • Make the assignments worth the students’ time and effort. I know this may seem like teachers are just giving in to what students want, but really, do you think they want to write that essay about school uniforms again? Make assignments useful and pertinent to their lives. Try to get to know what they like or enjoy, then tailor your assignments around those things. I do this by assigning a letter to the teacher as their first assignment. It works in several ways: I learn the various levels of writing abilities that my students have, I learn about their likes and dislikes, and they get to write about their favorite subject—themselves! After reading and grading their letters, I make a list of things they like and enjoy and use those items in my lessons and assignments. If I have a class that likes sports? All of my examples use sport references or terminology. If I have a class that enjoys working with other people? I allow them to conduct group work more often. The more it pertains to them, the longer you’ll have their attention span and the more likely they will gladly complete their assignments.
  • Know the student guidelines created by district (e.g. student handbook). Every year, my district issues a student handbook that includes rules, guidelines, academic information, etc. Each student is given a physical copy and parents are expected to sign that they received one. Knowing the information in that book has helped me in many situations. I was able to quote the pages and paragraphs that discussed student plagiarism, attendance policies, grading procedure and discipline. Not only did having that knowledge back me up in case of a negative issue, it also allowed me to prevent any classroom problems since I was able to pass the information along to students before anything even happened. For instance, every year during my research unit I had students who liked to ask a thousand questions about plagiarism and how they could just copy someone else’s work online. To preempt that, I included a section in my research unit packet and in my research unit letter to parents that referred to the plagiarism page from the student handbook. That way, if any student even thought about trying to plagiarize, they would know beforehand the consequences they faced.
  • Be consistent. Be consistent in everything: routine, rules, grading, etc. One tiny inconsistency and students will notice. If you grade Timmy’s test a certain way, you have to grade all the other tests the same way. If you expect Elizabeth to stay in her seat during a lesson, you need to expect that everyone else stays seated as well. By changing something for one student, as well meaning as you may be, you are changing how other students view your resolve. If they know you’ll falter about something, they may lose some respect for you and things like your classroom rules or grading system will not hold true anymore.
  • Be fair. Being fair is similar to being consistent, but it adds in human emotion to the equation. Often times, you will have a student who will drive you batty, insane, up a wall, etc. No matter what, you need to treat all students equally, even if you feel strongly against a student’s actions. On the opposite side, you’ll have students who you adore, but again, you need to treat them just as you treat all the others. If they make a mistake, like forgetting a homework assignment, they need to have the same consequences as everyone else.

Top Ten Classroom Management Tips

Classroom Management Ideas

Classroom Management Tips

  • Treat them like students. They are not friends. This is often a big mistake for new, young teachers (or even student teachers and substitutes). Students see the weaknesses of new/young teachers and feed on those things. They will talk to new/young as if you are their age since new teachers often lack the sternness to be the one in charge. They will make their own rules, and since, again, new teachers lack the sternness, they will get away with it. All of that can cause chaos in the classroom. When the new teacher needs students to be serious and focused, it will be nearly impossible to rein back in the respect that was lost and what usually ensues is much yelling and fighting than actual education.
  • While there is no need to be friends, it is acceptable to be friendly in a polite manner. Be confident in your position as the one in charge and teach the students while demanding the respect they need to show. It doesn’t mean that you are harsh; rather, you are firm about how they speak to you, how class is run, how the rules apply. Once there is that balance, things will run smoothly and you can actually crack a smile and be pleasant without losing control of the class.
  • Teach them respect and responsibility. It used to be that students came to school with these characteristics built in, but it seems lately that there is an overall lack of respect for adults and a complete lack of responsibility. You have to actually teach them how to address, respond to and react to an adult. How do you do this? By example. In the classroom it is commonly expected that students will raise their hand before speaking. This is an important thing to enforce because not only does it keep the classroom noise from getting out of control, it teaches students to wait their turn in a conversation, which is showing respect for you and their classmates. From the very first day, explain that it is respectful to raise a hand in the classroom, and demonstrate how it should be done.
  • Responsibility might take a bit longer to teach and can be difficult depending on the age group, but any student can learn to be responsible. Explain to students your expectations for the class, and remind them that it is not your job to constantly remind them to follow the rules, complete classwork or homework, or to complete task a certain way (i.e. procedure for asking to leave to use the restroom, etc). By giving consequences (as you are instructed by the district’s policies), you can teach the students responsibilities. For example, my students often forgot to bring a writing utensil (it was a writing class!!). My rule for that was if a student forgot once, they had to ask their classmates for one, and if they couldn’t find one, I would lend them a pencil from the one box of pencils I ordered for the entire year. If they forgot twice, they had to ask their classmates, but I would not give them a pencil. And once my box of pencils ran out, I did not order more. I did however, pick up stray pencils found on desks or in the hall and keep them in a box, but again, once they were gone, they were gone. If the repeat offenders didn’t have a writing utensil, they couldn’t complete the assignment and thus lose points. My students learned pretty quickly not to forget a writing utensil! It usually only took a few weeks for everyone to learn to be responsible for their own writing utensil.
  • Establish “the look”. This is my favorite tip, given to me by a good teacher friend of mine who used this in her English class when I was her student. It allows you to maintain the flow of instruction without having to constantly stop for every little interruption to speak to a student. It’s very simple: look at the student offender, drop your head, and put on your most stern and serious face. Students tend to quickly get the hint to stop whatever it is they are doing, and you get to move on without stopping. It really has to be the kind of look that will stop anyone dead in their tracks, and it’s so effective.

Teacher with students

Teacher with students

Go on! Get started with Your Own Classroom Management!

All these tips will help you manage your classroom without having all of the little interruptions that stop the flow of instruction. Remember to begin right away so that your students get used to how you will run the classroom. It does take time to be a pro, but even the youngest, newest teacher can implement these tips to maintain effective classroom management.


Are you a veteran teacher who has used these classroom management tips? Have you been a student in a class where these tips are used? Please let us know how the

Joseph Thomas on August 30, 2019:

Haha, I too like the look!

I'm a big fan of the kids having responsibilities - particularly responsibilities around the classroom throughout the day, from cleaning the board, tidying up areas, organising books, handing things out, initiating routines, etc. They assume their roles brilliantly and it helps them to feel part of a team.

Great article!

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LearnFromMe (author) on May 25, 2012:

eslinsider, I agree: the look is much better than repeating yourself over and over again. Thank you for reading and commenting!

eslinsider on May 23, 2012:

The look is a good one. I forget that one sometimes. It's a lot more efficient than opening your mouth and repeating yourself again and again.

LearnFromMe (author) on February 08, 2012:

G.S. Osman, nice to meet you! Seems like teaching is the same all over the world. I'm glad you found my tips to be wonderful! I hope they help in your endeavors! :) Thanks so much for stopping by.

G.S.Osman on February 08, 2012:

Learn from me ,Iam an egyptian teacher -Iteach English language as a second language.Iface many challenges with my students,the most important one is the barrier of the language itself.Some of my students dont really seem to understand me.It is not only a discipline issue here, it is how to make them interested in what you do.Iuse body language,acting,flash cards and pictures to help them get what I want.Your tips are really wonderful,they make it easy for any teacher to have a stress free classroom,Which we all seek for the benefit of our students.Besides,we can avoid high blood pressure and enjoy teaching.

Micheal from United Kingdom on October 10, 2011:

Your welcome. Keep up the good work.

LearnFromMe (author) on September 22, 2011:

Wow, molometer, that's awesome that you had an experience like that. I'm glad your friend has a new found respect for what you do.

Thanks for stopping by again!

Micheal from United Kingdom on September 22, 2011:

Your welcome, I had the opportunity of having a couple of regional managers from BT ( biggest telecoms company in the UK) come to talk about their industry to a specially selected group of 15 year old students. Now remember these kids had volunteered to spend the day with these people in school and the kids were very interested in what they had to say. You can imagine the kids were firing questions and these guys just couldn't handle it at all, I was in the class with them and could see that they were getting flustered and slowed the pace a little. Anyway when break-time came these 2 guys just flopped in the staffroom and exclaimed " how do you do it, it's so hard" I looked at them baffled as I pointed out to them that the kids loved it and were really interested in what they had to say. I said imagine what it would be like if they didn't like what you had to say. I had known one of these BT guys for many years and he was always asking me why I was "wasting my time in teaching. when I could be making megabucks with him" after that day he developed a new respect for what I was doing.

LearnFromMe (author) on September 22, 2011:

molometer, thank you for your kind words and feedback! I would love to see a show here about people trying a teacher's job for a day. I have always said, whenever a person has said a teacher's job is easy, that they are welcome to take just one of my classes for the day to see what they think. ;)

Thanks again!

Micheal from United Kingdom on September 21, 2011:

It's nice to see such an excellent exposition of the craft of teaching. The real effect of all that organization and great control is that the creativity flows quite naturally.

Like all good professionals the really good teachers make it look so easy that any Joe/Josephine Blogs think they can do a better job...Until they try it. I have actually seen captains of industry reduced to quivering jelly's after just 1 hour in front of a class of 30 kids. There was even a TV show recently here in the UK, it was hysterical to watch. Jamie Oliver was involved of course. Well Done LearnFromMe for putting down in words what it takes to be a real practitioner of the art & science of teaching.

LearnFromMe (author) on September 04, 2011:

justateacher, wow, that certainly is an interesting reason to do such a thing! I agree with Rochelle Frank; while structure is helpful, it must seem like you're a robot without the ability to be creative and spontaneous. I wonder how it is working for your district and if there are others like it. Yes, charter schools do eliminate some of the issues that public schools have, I'll agree. We have several in our area that are doing very well.

Thanks again ladies for commenting!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on September 03, 2011:

What teachers and what lessons do you remember? Mine were the ones that were most creative and spontaneous.

A certain amount of structure is practical and helpful, but if we all do the same thing we might as well have automated, computer-robot teachers.

I have been out of school for quite awhile-- but even then I could sympathize with the time consuming charting and tracking each teacher had to check off for each student. Each of them needed an accountant.

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on September 03, 2011:

The district's reasoning is that if we all taught the same thing at the same time, when children move from one school to another in our district they will get the same thing at their next school. Although I understand this and it could be a good idea, it stifles our creativity and the "teachable moments" that come up. If we take advantage of those moments and are not teaching what we should be, we could get in trouble -

Opening a charter school sounds better and better to me all the time!

LearnFromMe (author) on September 03, 2011:

justateacher, thanks for leaving a comment. I can't believe you have a schedule to follow from the district. Is there a reason for that?

And you're right: it's important to establish a trusting relationship with your students. Thanks again for reading!

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on September 03, 2011:

Great tips - in our district we are given a schedule to follow and what we are to teach at each point in the day...we don't really have the freedom to do fun interesting activities unless it is a part of the district plans....

And I agree - students are not your friends - treat them as your students, but make sure you build a relationship with them that shows that they can trust you and that you will follow through with what you say...I think building a relationship with students is the most important thing that you can do...

LearnFromMe (author) on September 03, 2011:

Rochelle Frank, a veteran teacher friend of mine does the same thing with the mini-golf pencils! It's a great way to get students to find their own writing utensil. ;) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on September 03, 2011:

All great tips. As a sub teacher, I never knew the pencil history or the pencil policy in a class, so i developed my own. A favorite work-avoidance tactic is to tell the teacher they have no pencil. I began bringing a supply of those three inch pencils without an eraser that you get at mini golf places. I would offer one to the 'penciless' student. Oddly enough, they almost always found one or borrowed from a friend.

LearnFromMe (author) on September 03, 2011:

prairieprincess, I'm glad you loved how I handled the pencil issue. As a young teacher, I thought I would be nice and keep handing them out, but after only a year of that, I noticed that they were just taking advantage of my kindness and I decided they needed to learn responsibility. Thanks so much for reading!

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on September 02, 2011:

I love how you handled the pencil issue! That is a great idea and sounds like it was effective. Having a pencil can be a real challenge for some students. This is excellent sound advice for someone starting out in the classroom. These were principles I tried to follow when I was teaching. Take care!

LearnFromMe (author) on September 01, 2011:

Esmeowl12, I haven't heard of Lee Canter since college! I did study that discipline plan then, so it probably did make an impact on how I run the classroom. I'm happy to hear that it worked for your school. Thank you very much for reading commenting and voting the hub up!

LearnFromMe (author) on September 01, 2011:

Brett.Tesol, you don't know how many times I laugh on the inside! But you're right: a serious side is essential in keeping order in the classroom. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on September 01, 2011:

Where I taught for many years, the entire school used Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline Plan and it worked phenomenally. Your ideas incorporate some of those principles. Voted up and useful.

Brett C from Asia on September 01, 2011:


I like your advice about learning names before the term starts. If you have photos, this would be very effective.

'The look' works well too. The look and a serious side is REQUIRED! You need to master these, so that they realize they are there to learn and that you won't stand for bad behavior. Although, admittedly, sometimes you are laughing on the inside ...

LearnFromMe (author) on August 31, 2011:

Jen Pearson, I know what you mean about using these techniques in adult education classes. When I give my annual presentation to a college class of those aspiring to be teachers, their professor, a good friend of mine, gets their attention using 'the look'. I always think it's funny, but it works! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Jen Pearson from Alabama on August 31, 2011:

Classroom management is so critical to creating and maintaining a learning environment. Believe it or not, I have to use some of these techniques in my adult education classes as well.

LearnFromMe (author) on August 29, 2011:

J Yoder, thanks for reading and agreeing. You have to love 'the look'! :)

J Yoder on August 28, 2011:

I agree with you.. "the look" is a very effective and useful tool. lol. ;)

LearnFromMe (author) on August 05, 2011:

gekeye, you're right that our students need to learn about non-verbal cues and reactions. It's so much easier to use 'the look'--it stops them dead in their tracks and makes them think about what they are doing, or not doing...Thanks for commenting!

gekeye on August 04, 2011:

"The look" is one of my most effective gadgets from the toolbox of non-verbal communication--the movements and gestures that often require more contemplation from them,such as questioning an answer because of my less-than-affirming expression. Their ability to try to read non-verbal actions (and use them) will serve them well in life.

LearnFromMe (author) on August 04, 2011:

ThePracticalMommy, yes, things can go crazy if one is not consistent in the classroom. Thanks for voting!

Farmer Brown, 'the look' is really effective! :)

Farmer Brown on August 04, 2011:

Ah yes..."the look"!

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