Classroom management is a term that is used to describe various practices employed by teachers to make sure that the behavior of the students does not disrupt or interfere with lesson plans. Many people think of classroom behavioral issues as being specific to students who are in elementary school, middle school, and sometimes even high school. Classroom management, however, is important in all classroom settings, even settings that are largely populated by adults. Whereas classroom management in a junior high school may incorporate methods to curtail the passing of notes and the shooting of spit balls, classroom management for a room full of graduate students may include efforts to keep students from monopolizing class discussions or openly attacking ideas expressed by other members of the class.
Despite the age of the students in a given group, classroom management is intended to maintain an environment that is conducive to instruction and learning. There are a number of ways that this can be done. Most methods of classroom management can be divided into two categories. One includes methods for preventing disruptive behavior in the classroom. Another includes methods for dealing with disruptive behavior when it occurs in a classroom setting.
Preventing disruptive behavior is usually a process of developing a culture of motivation and respect within the classroom. If students are motivated to learn and perform well in a class, then they are probably less likely to cause disruptions. Also, if the students respect their teachers and their fellow students, they are also probably less likely to cause disruptions. There are myriad methods and techniques that can be used to foster both respect and academic motivation.
Some of the most common ways to effectively manage a classroom include developing a system in which students are rewarded for good classroom behavior but must face negative consequences for poor behavior. Younger students may be rewarded with stickers or gold stars and punished with time-out sessions or referrals to the principal's office. Older students might be rewarded with higher grades for good classroom behavior and punished with lower grades for poor behavior. Even in college and graduate school courses, some professors incorporate useful class participating into their grading systems. They make their students aware of this on the first day of class or by noting it in the course description or syllabus.