Strategies for effective classroom management

Author: Jo Barwell
Published: 21/06/2023

What do we mean by classroom management?

Classroom management is the process of creating a positive learning environment to promote learning. It encompasses classroom rules and expectations for student behavior, reward systems, routines and procedures and the classroom layout. 

Managing classroom behaviour

A teacher's approach to behaviour management is one of the first things (if not the first thing) a student will notice. Anyone who works (or lives) with children and young people will know that, despite their complaints, most of them value and respond to clear and consistent boundaries with positive reinforcement and appropriate rewards. Teacher, consultant and writer Sue Cowley discusses this in her article Positive behaviour management: confident communication in the classroom. You can also download her accompanying resource. These 20 tips for behaviour for learning from a Senior Lecturer in Education were written for new teachers but also serve as a reminder to seasoned pros! There's a similar set of tips for primary teachers here. And this article on Managing low-level disruption by a Head of ITT is also helpful for managing disruptive behaviour.

Classroom routines and procedures

Establishing routines is another effective classroom management strategy. If pupils know what to expect when they enter your room, they are more likely to settle quickly and remain that way, whether that's knowing whether to line up outside, where they should sit or where to place their books at the end of a lesson. If you have your own classroom, labelling equipment and making it easily accessible will also help to avoid disruption. This Classroom routines checklist serves as a useful reminder of those procedures that you may want to establish in the first few days. 

Classroom layout

Of course, the seating arrangement in your classroom depends on the space you have available as well as on your teaching style. Consideration must also be given to students who need to be closer to the board or, indeed, closer to your watchful eye. Traditionally, most teachers have opted for seating children in groups in primary schools and some practical subjects and rows or a horseshoe for older learners. However, recent findings by TeacherTapp have revealed that post-pandemic, a greater number of students now sit in rows in both the primary and the secondary sectors. You can read a brief summary of the research into the pros and cons of all three seating arrangements in our article The most effective classroom layouts.

Finally and perhaps most obviously, one of the best classroom management strategies is to build positive relationships by getting to know your students. Find out how with our Icebreakers and getting to know you activities.

Jo Barwell

Interim Head of Content and Managing Editor