Managing classroom episodes

To manage classrooms effectively teachers should work with the children to develop a coherent sense of purpose within the classroom; should organise classrooms in ways which are consistent with those purposes; and should manage the children, phases and events so that learning objectives are cumulatively reinforced. If this can be done then energy, interest and enthusiasm for learning is likely to be focused productively. For books which provide a wide ranging review of issues, suggest approaches to classroom management in primary schools and have become classics, see:

For a practical guide focusing on the importance of motivation for learning, see:

This book draws on research evidence to show how successful learning contexts can be created. It also provides suggestions for teachers working with disengaged learners.

For social psychological detail on rules as guides to behaviour, see:

Whilst some classroom rules are overt there are many more which are tacit. Understandings and `rules' develop in classrooms about a great many things. These might include, for example, rules about noise levels, standards of work, movement, and interpersonal relationships. On rules in educational contexts, see:

By constant monitoring and being `with-it', it is usually possible for teachers to anticipate undesirable behaviours which threaten the working consensus of the classroom. Nevertheless, difficulties are bound to occur from time to time and a prudent teacher is likely to want to think through possible strategies in advance so that they can act confidently in managing such situations. Research evidence worldwide suggests that a major problem for teachers is dealing with constant repetitions of minor misdemeanours. For help to investigate and change these troublesome behaviours through action research, see:

On-going problems can also exist in any classroom. These may be associated with an individual child or specific group of children with particular difficulties. In such instances, it is important to record and analyse the behaviour and try to identify the possible causes before any positive action can be taken. In keeping a diary of events one might record the conditions, characteristics and consequences of the behaviour and thus produce an evidence base for action. For help to identify the patterns of difficulty which occur in particular classrooms and thus establish frameworks for devising improvements in behaviour, see:

For an account of alternative ways of analysing disruptive behaviour, see:

Many children come to school motivated to learn, knowing how to co-operate and able to behave in a way which their teacher thinks is acceptable. However, other children are unable or unwilling to behave appropriately. For strategies which help to minimise disruption and encourage appropriate behaviour from children deemed to have emotional and behavioural difficulties, see:

Although primary schools generally appear to be friendly places, some pupils can still feel socially isolated and believe they cannot be successful on the school’s terms, no matter how hard they try.

For a discussion of the possible causes of alienation and the identification of strategies to encourage all pupils to think positively about themselves and their achievements, see:

For a blunt account of problems which teachers face in dealing with angry and potentially violent pupils, with practical strategies and solutions, see:

There is evidence that bullying remains a widespread problem in many schools. For an introduction to perspectives on bullying and strategies to reduce its incidence in schools, see:

For suggestions of other books on behaviour and classroom discipline, see Chapter 6.