Classroom Management Theories


Effective classroom management involves establishing classroom environments, routines, expectations, and culture(s) that preclude most management issues from arising in the first place. It also entails forming positive student-teacher and student-student relationships, instilling values of self-discipline and personal responsibility, and developing cultural awareness. Various authors offer different approaches to classroom management theory, with widely divergent theoretical bases.

The Canter Approach


The Canter Approach to classroom management asserts that firm control maintained humanely is liberating because of the order and opportunities for learning it provides the class. It emphasizes having clear, assertive classroom expectations, and enforcing them uniformly. Its primary focus is on maintaining order in the classroom by removing roadblocks to discipline and taking the "middle road," being neither non-assertive nor hostile towards students.

The Fred Jones Approach


The Fred Jones Approach to classroom management takes Skinnerian Behaviorism as its theoretical foundation. It emphasizes having a consistent system of rules and consequences in order to reinforce desired behavior.

The William Glasser Approach


The William Glasser Approach to classroom management emphasizes utilizing student choice in order to increase intrinsic motivation. It dismisses "boss management" strategies, like the Jones and Canter Approaches, as repressive, instead focusing on student freedom and interests.

The Alfie Kohn Approach


The Aflie Kohn Approach to classroom management is based on long-term self-assessment performed by students of their own work and learning. It envisions a democratic classroom environment wherein students are encouraged to be metacognitive about their decision making and how their choices (dis)empower them from achieving their long-term goals.


Weinstein, C.S., & Novodvorsky, I (2011). Middle and secondary classroom management: Lessons from research and practice (4th ed). New York: McGraw Hill.