3250 – Classroom Management Summary results


Below is the summary of the Classroom management discussion forum completed for my PIDP 3250 assignment #3.  This is part three of the series of postings for classroom management.  I wanted to post the summary here for my own reference as it will most likely be needed in the near future. I really like the compilation of references at the end of this summary.  The summary is very comprehensive as it represents the postings and thoughts that were provided by my many colleagues.  I think working with colleagues from various areas of education and professional life added some interesting perspectives to the summary.

This was a very participatory discussion which included our class instructor, a facilitator, and 10 actively participating classmates.  I want to thank everyone who participated.



Discussion Thread # Postings1 # of Participant2 % of Class Contributed3
References for Classroom Management Strategies 11 4 25
Classroom management techniques 51 10 63
Online classroom management 16 8 50
Class Rules to help with classroom management 27 6 38
Class rules by students & shared with students 3 3 19
Totals:   4 Threads5 108 124 75


  1. Number of replies to the original discussion topic posting
  2. Number of different participants (instructor+moderator+peers)
  3. From the participants tab in the classroom Moodle site=16 participants

                          % of class contribution = # of participants / 16 * 100

  1. Represents the number of different participants involved in the entire discussion forum.
  2. The thread about closing the discussion was not included in the table as this was not an active discussion thread.

 Key points for Classroom Management

–         Classroom management is defined as the process for ensuring that classrooms run smoothly, even in face of disruptive student behaviors.

–         The main concerns voiced by classmates were disruptions by students who speak on their cell phones.  Other concerns were constant questioning of instructor, chatting during class, drifting to online surfing, irrelevant questions asked during class and more.

–         General classroom management considerations for facilitators are summarized below:

  • Find a balance between being too rigid and too flexible in your rules and penalties.
    • A quote from a classmate relates to reaching a “balance” between being too flexible and too rigid.
  • Don’t lose face or your temper when faced with disruptive behavior- be aware of your facial, tone and body language while addressing disruptive behavior
    • Be prepared for disruption and don’t let it phase you
  • Deal with disruption in a way that will not create an overall negative class vibe.
  • Look for any general reason why disruptive behavior is occurring.

This could be boredom, lack of engagement, lack of challenge…. Addressing this will prevent future disruptive behavior.

  • Motivate your students to create a positive and participatory learning environment.
  • Be fair to all students – ensure you are not favoring one group or person over another and vice versa.
  • Instill high expectations to challenge your students – lead by example
  • Focus on developing a positive, professional relationship with your students so that they will want to engage more in the course.
  • facilitator need to familiar with their faculty/learning institution’s student expectations.

–         Specific class protocols to prevent disruptive behavior:

  • Start your course by providing students with awareness of
    • The faculty/school codes of conduct or expectations
    • Your policies, expectations, grading, course materials
  • Consider devising a class devised policy for behavioral expectations related to issues that may disrupt your class such as cell phones, speaking out of term, negative comments…
    • Display these rules so that all students are aware of the rules
    • This will allow ‘ground rules’ and peer-peer accountability
  • Engage students as much as possible in their learning
    • Poll them to establish activity flow
    • Ask students to summarize learning from time to time
  • Establish a professionalism grading system that is discussed on the first day of the class
    • Students must be aware of your expectations for such grading: what is considered breach of professionalism and how are grades established for this area

–         Techniques to Manage student disruption will be discussed below.  Several techniques are considered by our forum.   facilitator should use the technique that they feel most comfortable with in their classroom.

  • Techniques for addressing noise (talking/chatting) disruption:
    • Utilize gentle reminders of rules for everyone – “I want to remind the class of the agreed rule to not talk on your phones during lecture”
    • Use eye contact with the person who is disruptive to obtain their attention
    • Stand by or near the disruptive person while continuing your lecture or class session
    • Stop talking, establish dead silence with or without walking towards the disruptor – till student gets the message
    • Call the student by name as a part of your general conversation: “Sara, what do you think of the xx event?”


  • Technique for addressing interruptive students such as those who continually answer questions, answer disruptively, interrupt class with constant or irrelevant questions
    • Use a white-board to write down questions that are not currently relevant; tell students that you will write some questions on the board in order to save class time; when time allows, you will address the questions.
    • Ask disruptive student (in a polite way) how their comment relates to the topic of discussion
    • Cut across the student’s opinion/comment with a “thanks” for their input and then move on to another student or back to the class topic
    • Conveniently do not “see” the problem student’s hand up when asking questions and hear from others; praise other’s comments as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors
    • Ask another student about their thoughts on the problem student’s comment.
    • Ask problem student to play ‘devil’s advocate’ and take your side of the topic under discussion to convince other students of your point of view
    • Use eye contact with problem student while they are chatting or being disruptive
    • Walk over to the problem student(s) and stand by him/her/them; perhaps even gently lean by their desk.
    • Call for a break in the class to change the class flow
    • Change class topic or direction all together
    • Assess for general class flow and should possible increase in engagement or motivation
    • Gently point out general rule of class that is being broken: “class, please remember no phone calls during class”, “class, please remember our rule about interrupting others while they are speaking”


  • Techniques to address constant and persistent disruptions
    • Give your disruptors the benefit of the doubt and speak to them privately in order to bring concern to their attention
      • Bring problem to their awareness
      • Review your expectations
      • Seek an explanation for the disruption in order to see if there is anything you can assist with; example, student maybe bored.
      • Be respectful at all times; do not lower yourself to the level of the student if they are trying to bait you.
      • Establish an agreed future expectation that you both agree with and establish consequence for breaching expectation


  • Techniques addressing class disruption from cell phones:
    • Address cell phone related rules in your “house rules” if this is a concern to you
      • Also address consequence of breaching rules; establish consequence but be careful not to be too rigid, nor flexible (be reasonable)
    • if your rule is no cell phones, be transparent about consequence of breach of your rule; remember not to be too rigid, nor too flexible
      • an approach could be to ask a student who is expecting an important call to let you know beforehand and have them sit in back of the class where the phone will be least disruptive to the rest of the class; phone should be placed on silent mode and vibrate for notification
    • ask students to put their phone on silent mode and off their desks where they can cause a class disruption
    • if students have to answer their phones, ask them to leave class; ask these students to sit in the back in order not to disrupt their fellow classmates by going in and out of the lecture.
    • Make a general gently class comment reminding the class of your rule regarding cell phones, “hey guys, this is a reminder that I find cell phone use to be distracting for my lectures”.
    • Privately ask students who break the rules as to why they are doing this? Establish if they are bored? Not being challenged or engaged in the class?

Key points for Online Classroom Management

            With the increase in online course participation, our forum considered various online classroom management concerns and how to address them.  Some management techniques are common for online as face-to-face classrooms.

  • Online facilitator must:
    • Be organized as students are led by example
    • Set clear expectations at the beginning of the course, establish due dates, policies, rubrics, expectations
      • This can be done by videos, podcasts, pdf documentation and/or any form of communication that will reach all students and will be available for future reference as needed
    • Be in sync with the class to not miss any comments or problems that arise so that comments do not get out of control
    • Be aware of potential misinterpretations of ‘text-based’ communication – as there is no tone and no face-to-face communication value, misinterpretation can easily occur
    • Be aware that relative anonymity can lead to empowerment in a negative way
    • Constantly check class ‘vibe’ through assessment of comments and posts in order to ensure students are not being disruptive due to boredom, lack of engagement, and lack of understanding of their role/expectations in discussion settings
    • Understand the level of online capability of participants and ensure adequate assistance for those who need online support.  For example, a student may post with caps lock as they do not know this means yelling (this should be covered in your day one general policy);


  • Online course class management techniques:
    • Anticipate controversy and set expectations accordingly; be ready
    • Look for signs of conflict and unease by assessing tone and changes in postings, interactions and comments
    • Be supportive to all students and guide students so that they do not become frustrated; help them work through their possible frustrations
    • Address interpersonal conflict directly and as soon as it occurs; be respectful to all parties and respect their confidentiality
    • Encourage critical thinking based on facts and not emotions; remind students to try to push emotions out-of-the-way; ask students to support thoughts with some sort of literature support to help them support their thoughts.
      • Controlling emotions will help decrease personal conflict and encourages a professional environment
    • Encourage and establish an area for students to be able to post discussions, vent difficult topics, and seek assistance/clarification
      • Facilitator should regularly check this site in order to offer assistance if no peer assistance has been offered
      • Facilitator should allow some peer collegiality here; as students help one another, they will form a supportive bond online
      • Facilitator should positively reinforce and support peer-to-peer support when observed, “nicely explained Jane, thank you for the clarification”
    • Use Podcasts, videos and other media that will help convey emotion related to ‘voice’ and ‘expression’
    • Address interpersonal conflict directly and as soon as it occurs; be respectful to all parties and respect their confidentiality
    • Address conflict or disruptive behavior as you would in the non-online class: speak (or email) to the student, clarify rules/expectations/ramification of rule breach and seek reason behind disruptions


Although there are a lot of pointers in this document, the class generally agreed that we all have our own styles, beliefs and degrees of comfort with respect to how we approach classroom management.  This document was created to bring various approaches to our awareness.  It is up to the individual facilitator to choose the method that works for them in a given situation.



Reference sources:  

Articles (these are all linked to the articles)

Effective Classroom Management: Finding the balance between too rigid and too flexible

How to avoid being a helicopter professor

Manage disruptive behavior in the classroom

Handling specific disruptive behaviors

7 Tips for better classroom management

10 Steps to Conflict Resolution

Classroom Management: Finding the Balance Between Too Rigid and Too Flexible

Room setup options for the adult seminars, classroom, or conference

Strategies for dealing with difficult behavior

Transparency in Teaching: Faculty share data and improve students’ learning

Managing controversy in online classroom

CBC announces end to anonymous online comments

25 forum posting etiquette tips

An effective learning environment is a shared responsibility

Encouraging self-directed learning in the classroom

Student mental health needs attention

Creating class rules:  a beginning to creating community

Creating and Implementing effective rules and consequences



University of Victoria: Managing your classroom

University of Victoria: Mana gaging students Online





Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lemov, D. (2012). Teach like a champion field guide: A practical resource to make the 49 techniques your own. San Francisco: Wiley, John & Sons.



Adult training techniques, how to deal w/disruptive learners

Best Classroom April Fool’s Prank ever

Top 10 Classroom Management Tips for teachers

50s Teaching Education Film on Classroom Management









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