Classroom Management Strategies to Address Behavioral Problems


The first thing I learned as a student-teacher was classroom management. Having a strategic plan to create classroom structures that kept students safe and allowed for maximum learning was necessary to my success as an instructor.

The first thing I learned as a student-teacher was classroom management. Having a strategic plan to create classroom structures that kept students safe and allowed for maximum learning was necessary to my success as an instructor.

My teaching cohort was consumed with trying to be as creative as possible with our classroom management plans. More than anything we wanted a space for students to be excited about learning with limited behavioral distractions so we leveraged the expertise of veteran teachers, read books about classroom management, and learned from trial and error in our own classes.

Learn more about how to improve Classroom Behavior Management in your school

All teachers should have a plan to lead their classroom. I often encourage teachers to think about the feelings they want kids to have in their space. Take note of what students need in their learning environment. This can inform how you lead routines and how you promote a positive learning culture. As you begin thinking of your strategy, consider what classroom conditions contribute to effective learning and make class fun and enjoyable.

4 Strategies to Address Behavior Problems

Set clear and direct rules

Rules you set in the classroom should be framed positively. For example, “We are active learners” rather than “Do not talk out without raising your hand.” This framing welcomes inquiry and engagement and the teacher can focus on calling out good example of this to promote learning.

The collective group of norms should be visible in the space as a reminder to respect the learning environment. An important part of setting rules is including them in the routines. For example, use an instance that you witness misbehavior as an opportunity to reiterate the rules. When you witness displays of positive behaviors, offer verbal praise to encourage that behavior to continue.

 Build strong relationships

The teacher-student relationship is a necessary part of building classroom culture and helps to address challenging behavior. It is an opportunity to gain trust and understanding which ultimately creates a culture of respect. If students are respected they can practice respect with their peers and other staff. If a student is misbehaving, having a relationship could mean that the student can better receive correction from an adult. Relationships don’t blossom overnight, so be patient. Communicate your high expectations and belief that they will be successful. Remind them of why and how their behavior impacts their learning outcomes.

Promote Student Agency

Involve students in the development of your classroom behavior plan. Ask students about their needs to best learn and design a plan that builds appropriate supports. If you find that your students thrive during partner work, then having a rule that is contrary to discussion won’t be helpful. Think about ways to encourage peer-to-peer engagement, which allows students to be accountable to each other.

Implement a rewards system

Good behavior should not go unnoticed. Having a rewards system helps to encourage positive behavior and incentivizes students who exceed those expectations. Verbal affirmations are also a great was to positively affirm students. The system should include rewards that the students are interested in. This will ensure they will work to receive those rewards.

We all understand that no classroom is the same, nor is it full of students with the same experiences or characteristics. Effective learning spaces are founded on structures that welcome inquisitive students who are active participants in their learning and thus are accountable to their actions. A strategic classroom behavior plan is a part of a larger school-wide program that contributes to the school culture. The teacher that governs class with a clear behavior management plan can focus their energy in other places, like effective and engaging instruction. Build a plan that serves your classroom by addressing behavioral problems directly and encouraging positive behavior.

Check out these books for some ideas and strategies on classroom management:

  • Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: The Ultimate Guide to Practical Behaviour Management That Works! by Marie Amaro
  • The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark
  • The Classroom Management Secret by Michael Linsin

These are a great starting point to discover innovative ways to implement classroom behavior techniques that work.

With Kickboard, students understand what is expected of them in every classroom and throughout the school campus. The Kickboard software gathers behavior data that schools can analyze to celebrate success and address areas of improvement. In all areas of the school, students can trust there will be consistency in both positive and negative consequences.