Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. When classroom-management strategies are executed effectively, teachers minimize the behaviors that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students, while maximizing the behaviors that facilitate or enhance learning. Generally speaking, effective teachers tend to display strong classroom-management skills, while the hallmark of the inexperienced or less effective teacher is a disorderly classroom filled with students who are not working or paying attention.
While there is widespread agreement in education that effective classroom management is essential to good teaching, there is often debate about which strategies are most effective, or what is the best way to approach the management of a classroom or other learning environment. For example, some educators might argue that effective classroom management begins with student compliance and classroom orderliness, since learning cannot happen when students are not listening, when they are disobeying the teacher, or when they are disrupting other students in the class. In this case, the teacher needs to establish the behavioral and academic expectations for a class and ensure that students comply with those expectations. Other educators, however, would argue that teachers should approach classroom management by actively involving students in the process. For example, some teachers create common classroom expectations and agreements in collaboration with students. In this case, students play a role in developing the expectations, thereby taking “ownership” over the process, and the teacher then helps the students live up to those expectations by reminding them of the previous agreements they made or by asking the class to reflect on their work and behavior as a group in relation to the agreed-upon expectations—i.e., to identify the areas in which the class is doing well and the areas in which it can improve.