What is classroom management?

Classroom management is a broad term. It refers to a range of preventative and reactive strategies teachers can use within their classrooms to help create an effective learning and teaching environment. In the first instance, classroom management aims to minimise disruptions. Effective classroom management encourages students to be engaged in learning, and work towards positive learning outcomes. However, it can be a complex area and is often challenging for early career teachers.

Classroom management and student learning are linked. A positive and well-managed classroom supports students to learn and reach their potential, while a chaotic classroom lacking structure and support does not. There is a range of classroom management strategies teachers can use to help create structure and safe space for students to actively participate.

Why is classroom management important?

When carried out effectively, classroom management can help provide a positive environment for students to learn and teachers to teach. Overall, this can mean fewer disruptions and less class time spent addressing behaviour management issues.

Preventing disruption in the classroom is just the first step in effective classroom management. The second is maximising learning outcomes by ensuring students are engaged and actively involved in the learning process. This is because students can be compliant in class, while still being disengaged which may reflect poorly on their academic performance.

Effective classroom management strategies

Classroom management is most effective when teachers use a combination of preventative and responsive strategies proactively. Preventative strategies create and foster an engaging classroom environment with minimal disruption. Reactive strategies address and correct disruptive behaviours to help students re-engage.

An effective classroom environment comprises structure, instruction, and discipline. Structure encompasses organisational practices, procedures and routines, such as classroom furniture setup or seating plans. Instruction refers to an engaging way of teaching that minimises disruptions and includes various strategies and methods. Discipline involves guiding students to manage their feelings and behaviour.


What is a traffic light classroom management strategy?
This is a classroom management strategy that aims to improve behaviour by reinforcing good behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour. Each ‘traffic light’ – green, amber, red – corresponds with defined behaviours and privileges or restrictions at each level. Any traffic light system used needs to align with class rules and expectations so it can be applied consistently.
How can new teachers set up an effective classroom?
The first thing you can consider is how you want your students to behave and model these behaviours as the classroom teacher. It’s important to remain objective, avoiding favouring particular students within your classroom. By being fair and treating all students equally, they will come to respect you. At all times, be consistent in all your actions, demands, and expectations.
How can early career teachers use classroom management strategies?
You can be a support to your students, but don’t try to be their friend. Students need boundaries for how they should behave in your classroom, which extends to the kind of student-teacher relationships you wish to promote. In your teaching, you can also engage a wide variety of learners by incorporating different learning modalities and technologies. Each student will have their preferred learning style – kinaesthetic, auditory or visual.
Which classroom management strategies suit the primary school classroom?
Setting clear and consistent expectations is an important first strategy for all teachers, but especially those with young students setting foundational school expectations. You can communicate these expectations verbally and through visual cues such as posters to remind students. Use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward good behaviour, giving students a confidence boost. You can reward and praise specific behaviour in front of their peers and also in a quiet moment for extra reinforcement.
What are some effective classroom management strategies for secondary schools?
Proximity is an effective classroom management tool for a secondary classroom. By simply standing near a student, you can communicate that you’re paying attention, allowing them to correct their behaviour without direct intervention. You can use proximity to mitigate a situation subtly without speaking or using direct signals. Other nonverbal signals work well in a secondary context. You can communicate with students by raising your eyebrows, making direct eye contact and other kinds of body language. This allows you to continue teaching without drawing attention to bad behaviour.