The importance of classroom management in education is easily overlooked by national curriculums and teacher training programs. Meanwhile, it has been a challenge to many teachers, irrespective of whether they are new or not. It is one of the ever-present problems for teachers.
Classroom management (CM) is the most important thing in education, ahead of even the aptitudes of students (Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1994). This tells us managing our classrooms effectively significantly impacts effective teaching and learning.
However, some teachers seem to be highly skillful in the process of CM while others are not. This trigger numerous questions in the minds of teachers, including the question:
Is classroom management an innate skill?
To me, classroom management is both an innate and a learnable skill. That is, it is innate because a person’s personality type can make him/her a better classroom manager. An individual’s personality can make him/her adapt easily to classroom management techniques and strategies as compared to others. It is a learnable skill because one can train him/herself to become better in classroom management over the years through experience.
My opinion is based on the following explanation. Please, let’s look at why I think it is both innate and learnable.
What is the Meaning of “Innate”?
For us to continue, I would like to look at the meaning of innate from the dictionary. It has been defined below by the Meriam-Webmaster Dictionary as:
3: originating in or derived from the mind or the constitution of the intellect rather than from experience
Getting the definition of the word right from the beginning is important for us to be able to make us understand the requirements of the question.
What is an Innate Skill?
From the definition of “innate” above, an innate skill can be understood as:
A skill that is inherent in an individual right from his/her birth. This skill is always present in the person and is not a learned behavior or skill.
Now that we know what an innate skill is, it is time for us to assess the concept of classroom management, its components, and processes to see whether it can be fully innate or learned or even both (as I opined here).
What is Classroom Management?
The concept of classroom management is the set of techniques and strategies used by teachers and students to make sure the classroom environment is hospitable for effective teaching and learning.
It concerns discipline, punishment, classroom orchestration, and classroom organization. The main purpose of classroom management is to ensure that productive and harmonious learning takes place without disruptions.
It is the responsibility of both teachers and their students to maintain a conducive classroom environment suitable for everyone to learn effectively. Mostly, classroom management techniques are prepared and implemented to suit the management systems of the school.
The Three Major Components of Classroom Management
Now that we understood the definitions of the word “Innate”, innate skills, and classroom management, we need to look at the critical components of effective classroom management. The following are the four key components:
This is a skill that allows teachers to organize and present lessons that will actively engage students in learning. Here, effective teachers analyze the classroom environment, set up rules and responsibilities, and reduce sources of friction in the classroom. This is critical for effective teaching and learning.
It is a skill that allows teachers to intensively guide, console, and influence students to engage effectively in learning. They do this to avoid confrontations and frictions among students in the classroom.
Effective teachers mediate between students when they are confrontations among them. With that, they avoid damaging frictions and confrontations in the class. This prevents disruptive behaviors and stress.
Teachers with this skill have an understanding of the theories of learning and devise ways to shape and change student behaviors through rewards and punishments.
With this, effective teachers know when, where, and what kind of rewards and punishments to be implemented at a particular situation and time.
Skills in monitoring help teachers to check the effectiveness of established structures, rules, punishments, care, and compassion in promoting effective teaching and learning in the class.
With that, teachers can avoid stress and adapt to problems in the classroom. It also includes monitoring the effectiveness of policies and decisions instituted by school administrations to ensure effective teaching and learning.
Critical Success Factors
After identifying the major components of classroom management, cut the critical success factors in performing the various components of it. This is important because we need to know what cm is entailed. These factors are:
As humans, we strive for connection with others. This means we need to develop true relationships with others to survive. It is part of our need to be truly connected with others, especially our loved ones. Effective teachers use this as an effective strategy to help them manage students’ behavior.
If you use this, you get your students to mostly behave well even in your absence. But if they don’t, you can easily manage their misbehavior because you are truly connected with them and care for them.
However, if you fail to bond well with your students you will lose control of them and your class, and you cannot get students to do what you want.
This helps teachers care for and coach students to become responsible people. With this, teachers make decisions having in mind that he or she cares for the students.
Knowing this, students will avoid misbehavior due to the reciprocal love and compassion they have or developed for their teachers. Showing compassion in the classroom is one of the under looked strategies in stopping disruptive behavior among students.
Consistency is one of the biggest qualities that students look out for in their teachers.
I was shocked, one day, to hear one of my students saying that a particular student was my favorite in the class. The incident occurred after an activity where the said student came out victorious over the others. Before that, I had been working to be consistent in maintaining my neutral personality in my class. There, I had to adopt strategies to prevent that perception from escalating.
Consistency is the most difficult task to maintain when dealing with and managing students’ behavior. But when you get better at it, your students will love you, and you will not have any difficulties managing their behavior, even if they misbehave.
Why Is It Both an Innate and A Learnable Skill?
Looking at the components of CM and the key success factors discussed above, it can be noted that it is partly an innate skill. This is because people’s personalities can make them better classroom and behavior managers. Some people are better managers by their personalities. For example, impulsivity can ruin a person’s classroom management. Also, a person’s temperament can stand in his/her way to being a good behavior manager in class. That is, people have inherent qualities that make them good and/or effective classroom managers.
Just like some personalities can be better at adapting to the classroom management processes, it is good to know that some qualities needed to be successful at that can be learned. I believe that classroom management is a skill that everyone can learn if the necessary efforts, practice, and patience are observed. For example, people can learn to be better time managers, build true connections, be consistent, be better in implementing consequences/punishments, and many other critical success skills. This is why every teacher must invest much time and effort into the process.
No matter your personality, I think you still have to work hard to learn and improve your skills in managing your students’ behavior.
It can be concluded from the above that classroom management is both an innate and learned skill. What is important for us to do is to learn, practice, and be patient. Make sure to practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and practice.