Educators are some of the most overworked professionals around (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2019). This, even if it only ranks 45th among the highest-paying college majors. Aside from making sure that they have teaching skills, they also have to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with students and their parents. On top of that, educators deal with tasks beyond class activities and lesson preparation such as administrative work.
One of the many significant challenges in an educator’s career is managing the classroom. They may be able to connect with each student. But, the dynamics change significantly in the classroom setting. As such, many are unprepared, which can have significant issues when it comes to teaching.
In fact, issues with classroom management are among the leading reasons why educators leave the field (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003). This means developing a classroom management plan is an essential part of preparing for the school year, especially for young teachers and professors. Even experienced educators develop such plans to ensure that every aspect of the classroom is managed.
This article explores what classroom management is and why it is important whether you are teaching in a college, university, or other school types. Furthermore, it also outlines steps on how to develop a classroom management plan. Also, do not miss out on tips for managing a class.
A Guide to Creating a Classroom Management Plan Table of Contents
- What is a Classroom Management Plan?
- The Purpose of a Classroom Management Plan
- Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Classroom Management Plan
- Helpful Classroom Management Tips
What is a Classroom Management Plan?
Classroom management is considered one of the foundations of the educational system. It refers to the actions that educators take that create a supportive environment for students and teachers alike. The right classroom management plan provides opportunities for academic, social, and emotional learning (Koran & Koran, 2018).
A well-managed classroom has three important elements (Popescu, 2014):
- Efficient use of time and space.
- Strategies that empower the students to make good choices instead of controlling their behavior.
- Effective implementation of instructional strategies.
Therefore, educators need to develop a strong classroom management plan to ensure that the strategies are laid out and implemented properly. It combines rules, guidelines, layouts, plans, procedures, and more for most scenarios that the educator and the students may experience in the classroom. It allows the teacher to understand the overall learning goals, how it translates to the classroom environment, and how students can understand and follow the guidelines.
The Purpose of a Classroom Management Plan
Classroom management serves as a solid foundation for learning. When all aspects of the classroom work efficiently and in harmony, the students can maximize their learning potential, and the teacher can better educate the class.
Classroom management is considered one of the most crucial factors in determining the success of new teachers. Additionally, it is also influential in the students’ academic success (Marzano & Marzano, 2003). However, many educators feel that they are unprepared to manage a classroom. This is evident in a report from the U.S. Department of Education.
Source: US Department of Education
While each classroom management plan is different, they usually have the following goals:
- Protect the well-being of the educator – A healthy teacher is an effective teacher. A well-written classroom management plan reduces the stress and anxiety that educators experience as it serves as a reliable roadmap. It helps teachers make decisions fast, which reduces uncertainty when confronted with various scenarios in the classroom.
- Set rules, expectations, and boundaries – These are not created to control students’ behavior. Rather, it should be used to provide the necessary structure in the classroom. In this way, students can focus on learning and other productive activities. Additionally, it allows the teacher to detect early signs of disruptions and other issues that may come up.
- Build meaningful relationships – Rapport is an essential part of the teacher-student relationship. Developing a healthy relationship within the classroom is critical to a thriving culture. The educator can balance flexibility and consistency that allows them to become approachable but firm.
- Facilitate a strength-based approach – This approach allows the teacher to deal with students who misbehave or exhibit problematic behaviors. By deepening the connection with the students, the teacher will have an idea of the root cause. Thus, they can take appropriate steps in helping all students, from the achievers to those who seem problematic.
- Connect with parents and guardians – Educators also need to build connections with the parents and guardians. Communication between the educator and the parents is essential in making sure that the student has consistent learning opportunities. When parents are involved, the students are more driven to learn and succeed.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Classroom Management Plan
A primary benefit of developing classroom management strategies is to prevent misbehavior that reacts when it happens (Lewis & Sugai, 1999). It allows educators to anticipate and identify potential behavioral issues before it worsens.
Preparing a classroom management plan may include creating class rules, outlining steps for daily tasks, or describing consequences of various actions (Sayeski & Brown, 2014). You can start working on your bigger goals down to specifics to create the full plan.
Jot down your objectives
Begin by understanding and defining your motivations for creating a classroom management plan. By starting with your reasons, you can take into account the issues that you expect to encounter, the age and attitude of your students, and your overall goals.
Writing down your objectives will also help you adjust them according to your teaching style. Additionally, you can prioritize which objectives are critical and which ones can be further developed as you progress into the school year. In this way, you can modify the plan when needed.
Define your learning goals
Next, consider your learning goals for the students. Aside from the types of lessons and topics, you may also include how you want to achieve these goals—factor in their abilities, learning habits, and home life.
Writing down your learning goals will also allow you to identify opportunities for better learning. Additionally, you can explore relevant tools that will help you achieve these goals. Essentially, you are creating a roadmap for you and your students for the entire school year.
Specify your motivation strategy
A vital part of classroom management philosophy is motivation. A motivated student remains focused and hardworking. They are far less bored, which minimizes any interruptions. As such, you need to create various motivation strategies that will create better learning opportunities. It is essential, especially when you are tackling particularly difficult topics. You may want to consider some Meaningful Engaged Learning (MEL) best practices and strategies such as continuous improvement, higher order thinking, and the like to formulate your strategy.
Furthermore, you want to identify and write down your motivation philosophy. This will help you create interesting lessons and keep the students motivated.
Are they more focused when competing with each other? Or do they prefer collaborating with each other? What about short-term and long-term projects? What kind of tests do students prefer? And which ones push them to study more?
These are just some of the questions that you can explore when developing your motivation strategy.
Factor in school policies
Make sure to consider school policies before making your plan to ensure that your classroom is following the required procedures. You can also use these policies as a guide to creating your classroom management plan. This creates continuity not only within the classroom but within the larger school environment as well. It helps the students maintain the level of conduct during the entire school time.
Establish rules on discipline
After creating your learning goals and objectives while incorporating the school policies, it is time to create the procedures and rules. If possible, you can involve your students in this process. Students are often more engaged and committed to programs where they contributed significantly. It also improves the ownership of their actions as they help create the rules that they follow. Furthermore, they are encouraged to work together to maintain motivation and reduce misbehaviors during class.
Focus on rules and procedures that promote the development of healthy habits among students. As mentioned, it should provide structure without restricting their freedom. Instead of focusing on controlling their behavior, classroom guidelines should provide opportunities for the students to make the right choices.
Create a detailed plan for rewards and recognition
Beyond punishment, you should reward students who show exemplary behavior, attitude, and effort. By incorporating the students’ opinion on the rules and regulation and applying positive reinforcement, it encourages the entire class to maintain discipline and improve their overall behavior (Sadruddin, 2012). Following the rules becomes something that the students will look forward to instead of something to be feared. In this way, it is also much easier to motivate the students to achieve their learning goals.
Explain the rules to your students
After creating the classroom management plan, it is important to communicate with the students clearly. It is critical that the students fully understand what is expected of them. Communication strategies will depend on the age and the behavior of the students.
While strategies may vary depending on your circumstances, they may include the following (Goodman-Scott, 2019):
- Developing the physical layout of the room.
- Consistent classroom routines and expectations.
- Providing appropriate behavioral praise and reminders.
- Engaging and supervising students.
- Creating opportunities for students to respond.
- Consistently implementing all rules and regulations.
Evaluate and monitor your plan
Because you have clear goals, procedures, and rules in the classroom management plan, it is much easier to evaluate the class’s overall performance. Based on your plan, determine whether you are achieving your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Additionally, you can evaluate whether your students and yourself are following the procedures consistently.
Furthermore, you can identify which part of the plan needs changing. The behavior and motivation of students change throughout the school year. As such, you can accommodate these to take advantage of learning opportunities and avoid significant issues. For example, if students can show that they can collaborate well with others, you can allow them to pick their own groupmates on the next project.
Helpful Classroom Management Tips
Implementing classroom management plans can be challenging and complicated. A great classroom management plan example is something that you can consistently implement throughout the year. Here are tips and tricks to help you maintain a harmonious classroom.
- Build relationships – Students respond well to authority figures if they have a meaningful relationship with them. Allow them to ask questions and express their opinions while making sure that proper decorum is maintained. This does not only develop relationships with you as an educator but with each other as well.
- Celebrate achievements and hard work – You can celebrate important milestones with the class. Additionally, you can choose a team or student to feature and let their peers know how they accomplished their work. It helps highlight the importance of hard work beyond their grades.
- Share the meaning of each rule – Students will follow the rules better if they know the motivation and meaning behind them. It is also an opportunity for you to understand the effects of the rules on your students and adjust them if needed.
- Show that you care – Recognizing changes in the behavior of the students as individuals and as a group shows that you care. Whether it is an improvement or a sign of misbehavior, asking and commenting on these changes send a powerful message to them.
- Communicate with the parents – It is easy to fall into a routine of only communicating with parents when they misbehave. Be it to inform them of student achievements or simply to keep them in the loop about learner progress, communicating with parents is important. In fact, a survey shows that a weekly meeting with parents is best (Manno, 2014). This positive reinforcement with the parents will make its way to the student and encourage them to improve.
Source: Teach 100 Mentor Survey
Moving Forward Using Classroom Management
Managing a classroom full of students with different personalities and abilities is challenging without a solid strategy. A well-defined classroom management plan allows you to set objectives and goals while setting up the roadmap to achieve them.
Furthermore, by having a plan in place, you will know how to handle various situations when they come up. Whether it is a significant improvement in test scores or a misbehaving student, you will have an appropriate response ready.
A classroom management plan is an essential tool that will allow you to handle a class much more efficiently. Like any complex endeavor, having a plan ensures that your efforts are not wasted and that you can maximize any opportunity.
- Goodman-Scott, E. (2019). Enhancing Student Learning by “Building a Caring Climate”: School Counselors’ Experiences With Classroom Management. Professional School Counseling, 22(1), 1-12. Retrieved from SAGE.
- Ingersoll, R. M., & Smith, T. M. (2003). The Wrong Solution to the Teacher Shortage. Educational Leadership, 60(8), 30-33. Retrieved from the University of Pennsylvania.
- Koran, S., & Koran, E. (2018). Classroom Management and School Science Labs: A Review of Literature on Classroom Management Strategies. International Journal of Social Sciences & Educational Studies, 5(2). doi:10.23918/ijsses.v5i2p64. Retrieved from ProQuest.
- Lewis, T. J., & Sugai, G. (2017). Effective Behavior Support: A Systems Approach to Proactive Schoolwide Management. Focus on Exceptional Children, 31(6). doi:10.17161/fec.v31i6.6767. Retrieved from Semantic Scholar.
- Manno, M. (2014). Teach100 Mentor Survey, Teachers & Parents: Bridging the Gap. Retrieved from Teach.com
- Marzano, R. J., & Marzano, J. S. (2003). The Key to Classroom Management. Educational Leadership: Journal of the Department of Supervision and Curriculum Development, 61(1), 6-13. Retrieved from ASCD.
- Popescu, T. (2014). Classroom management strategies and techniques: A perspective of English teacher trainees. The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education, 7, 143-160. doi:10.29302/jolie.2014.7.10. Retrieved from ProQuest.
- Sadruddin, M. (2012). Discipline – Improving Classroom Management through Action Research: A Professional Development Plan. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 6(1). Retrieved from Elsevier.
- Sayeski, K. L., & Brown, M. R. (2014). Developing a Classroom Management Plan Using a Tiered Approach. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 47(2), 119-127. doi:10.1177/0040059914553208. Retrieved from SAGE.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2019). Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018. Retrieved from OECD