Lesson 1: Management, Discipline, and Control

Classroom Management as a Field of Inquiry

In the opening chapter of their Handbook of Classroom Management (2006), "Classroom Management as a Field of Inquiry," Evertson and Weinstein suggest that "classroom management is a topic of enduring concern for teachers, administrators, and the public. Beginner teachers," they write, "consistently perceive student discipline as their most serious challenge; management problems continue to be a major cause of teacher burnout and job dissatisfaction; and the public repeatedly ranks discipline as the first or second most serious problem facing the schools." (3) They decry the insufficient attention given to classroom management as a scholarly area of inquiry and the minimal time dedicated to classroom management in the course of teacher training.

Drawing on the work of a number of educational theorists, Evertson and Weinstein define classroom management as "the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning." (ibid.) Their edited volume is thus predicated on the assumption that "how a teacher achieves order is as important as whether a teacher achieves order." (ibid.)

Working with Evertson and Weinstein's assumptions, the follow four areas of focus (covered in this module) are where teachers can take action as they shape the classroom environment:

  • Discipline and control
  • The physical classroom and our involvement in its design as we try to shape the learning environment.
  • Designing the syllabus as an organizational tool which allows both careful planning and improvisation.
  • Building cultural sensitivity into our curriculum as a component in our quest for social and moral growth of both instructors and students.

For the various theoretical aspects of topics included under the broad rubric of classroom management, see Evertson and Weinstein and other studies listed in the Resources section.