The 4 Major Classroom Management Problems




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Effective classroom management is essential in ensuring effective teaching and learning in every learning environment. I got to appreciate this better in my first week as a teacher in a middle school. I noted that students gain a lot if their teachers and schools are effective in managing their learning environment.

Marzano (2000a) found that students gain more in terms of their education when their schools and teachers are effective in carrying out teaching and learning activities. Effective teachers at effective in managing his/her classroom environment to ensure it is safe and conducive to teaching and learning.

However, the dynamics of how a teacher becomes effective in managing the classroom environment are not easy to understand. What seems to be understood by everyone is that teachers must be able to:

(1) make smart choices on the most effective teaching methods;

(2) draw up a student instructional pedagogy; and

(3) use teachers’ management techniques effectively.

Noting the importance of effective teachers and their roles in facilitating effective learning, it is equally essential to understand some of the challenges faced by teachers in classroom management.

The problems of classroom management are; inefficient rules and procedures, lack and inappropriate disciplinary interventions, poor teacher-student relationships, and inappropriate mental set. Put differently, Merç and Subaşı (2015) classified the problems of classroom management as teacher-based, student-based, teaching point, material-based, and cooperating teacher-based.

Main Classroom Management Problems Faced By Teachers

There are numerous problems regarding classroom management. In this article, I will classify these problems into the following:

Teacher-Based Problems

These are the problems created in the classroom due to the actions and inactions of the teacher. Mostly these problems can be controlled by the teacher with the help of the school administration. This is why Marzano (2000a) noted effective teachers and schools play key roles in student achievement. However, ineffective teachers are often a source of classroom management. Examples of some of the mistakes of teachers that create classroom management problems are as follows:

  • Using inappropriate teaching techniques or styles is one of the major mistakes of teachers that create problems in the classroom. Merç and Subaşı (2015) found that it accounts for 46% of teachers’ mistakes that promotes chaos in the classroom. It is especially common among new teachers.
  • Poor time management also a major issue that creates disciplinary problems in the classroom. Teachers who are effective in managing their time are often able to brainstorm, choose, plan and prepare teaching techniques and materials that are appropriate for the subject and/or topic to be taught. However, teachers with poor time management skills often enter lessons unprepared because they have not had enough time to plan and prepare appropriate materials for the lesson. Poor time management also occurs when teachers struggle to deliver lessons according to their plans. For example, poor transitioning strategies cause problem behavior during lessons.
  • Teacher anxiety is another teacher factor that causes classroom management problems. This problem is often common among new teachers. Most new teachers struggle to maintain their confidence in the classroom. This causes anxiety disorders such as the feeling of nervousness, panic, hyperventilation, and trembling. The feeling of anxiety by the teacher instigates students to engage in disruptive, disrespectful, and defiant behaviors since they know their teacher is not confident enough to stand firm with his/her orders and requests.
  • Inability to deal with unexpected situations by teachers also increases the incidence of disciplinary problems in class. Unforeseen issues do arise in the classroom and every teacher must be prepared to deal with them appropriately. This often requires experience and technique to be properly dealt with. New teachers do have problems dealing with unexpected situations. For example, in my second month as a teacher, a student collapsed in the middle of a classroom activity. This left me in a bad mood and I struggled to manage the class afterward. This gave some of the students the chance to misbehave.

Other Examples of Teacher-Based Classroom Management Problems

Teacher-based classroom management problems refer to challenges that arise from the teacher’s actions or approach to managing the classroom. These problems can hinder the learning environment, student engagement, and overall academic progress. Here are five examples of teacher-based classroom management problems:

Lack of Classroom Rules and ProceduresWhen teachers fail to set clear rules and consequences, students may feel unsure about what is expected of them and may act out inappropriately, disrupting the learning environment for everyone.
Inconsistent DisciplineWhen teachers do not enforce rules and consequences consistently, students may not understand the severity of their actions or may feel that certain students are being treated unfairly, leading to resentment and hostility.
Overreliance on LecturingWhen teachers rely too heavily on lecture-based instruction, students may become disengaged and lose interest in the material, leading to disruptive behavior and poor academic performance.
Ineffective Classroom Management StrategiesWhen teachers do not have adequate strategies for managing difficult behaviors, they may resort to punitive measures or become overwhelmed and lose control of the classroom, leading to a negative learning environment.
Lack of Student EngagementWhen teachers do not provide opportunities for student participation and involvement in the learning process, students may lose interest and become distracted or disruptive, hindering their academic progress.

These examples demonstrate the importance of effective classroom management strategies and the impact that teacher behavior and approach can have on the learning environment. By addressing these teacher-based problems, educators can create a positive and engaging classroom environment that promotes academic success and overall well-being for all students.

Suggested Ways to Deal with Teacher-Based Problems 

The teacher can solve some of these problems by doing some of the following;

  • Make efforts to understand and select teaching techniques and tools that are appropriate to the nature of your students and the subject to be taught. For example, learn how to give effective commands and warnings, manage transitions, learn to manage flare-ups and tantrums effectively, and others.
  • Prepare yourself psychologically to remain calm when approaching defiant students and unexpected situations. For example, prepare in advance knowing that dealing with classroom problems may escalate. When that happens, you are already ready with your tools to deal with it. This puts you in control without any emotion attached. Also, it pays to ignore some disruptive behaviors of students.
  • Teachers must improve their time management skills.

School-Based Problems

Numerous classroom management problems are a result of school factors. Some of these factors are as follows:

  • There is too much to be done by the teacher. Some schools put loads of lessons and activities on teachers such that they don’t get much time to brainstorm and get innovative in planning and delivering their lessons. From my experience, this often happens in private schools where some school administrators do not care much about quality but the number of lessons and activities teachers carries out. This action puts teachers under pressure and most of them become anxious and stressed up.
  • The importance placed on different subjects in a school plays a role in promoting/reducing classroom management problems. Schools emphasize the importance of some subjects or course units over others depending on their educational philosophy. This informs students on the subject units to be taken seriously. Teachers of subjects or course units considered not important are more likely to experience classroom management problems.
  • Inadequate infrastructure and teaching materials and tools are also sources of problems in the classroom. Schools with adequate and quality infrastructure and teaching tools are most likely to boost the effectiveness of their teachers, thereby increasing student achievement. Let’s consider schools A and B as an example. School A has got smartboards and quality books and activities to aid the delivery of lessons while School B does not have any. Teachers in A are more likely to face lower classroom management problems than teachers in B. Teachers in B will be overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done to deliver an incidence-free lesson.
  • The availability of support services reduces the incidence of problem behavior in the classroom. For example, the availability of counseling and other services in schools promotes good behavior. However, the absence of these services is a source of chaos in the school.

Examples of School-Based Classroom Management Problems

Here are five examples of school-based classroom management problems:

Large class sizesHaving too many students in a classroom can make it difficult for the teacher to give individual attention to each student and manage their behavior.Students may feel neglected, and their behavior may become disruptive.
Insufficient resourcesNot having enough materials or equipment can make it difficult for teachers to engage their students and teach effectively.Students may become disinterested and not participate in class activities.
Strict discipline policiesOverly strict discipline policies can create a fear-based environment that makes it difficult for students to learn and feel safe.Students may become anxious, and their behavior may become more erratic.
Lack of administrative supportIf teachers do not receive support from school administrators, they may feel unsupported and unable to manage their classrooms effectively.Teachers may become overwhelmed, and students may feel their teacher is not in control.
Inadequate teacher trainingTeachers who do not receive sufficient training in classroom management may struggle to create a positive learning environment for their students.Teachers may feel unprepared, and their students may not receive a quality education.

By understanding the school-based problems that can affect classroom management, teachers can work to address these issues and create a better learning environment for their students.

Suggested Ways to Deal with School-Based Problems

Solving these problems is mostly beyond the control of teachers. However, I do believe teachers have a role to play in getting them fixed. Some of the following steps can be taken:

  • Negotiate a reasonable amount of lessons to be delivered each week in your contract of engagement. Take into account the amount of time needed for planning and delivering quality lessons that will be beneficial to the success of your students.
  • Collaborate with school authorities to make statements discussing the importance of your subject units to the future of students. This may motivate students to get interested in your lessons.
  • Encourage school administration to engage the services of professionals such as psychologists, doctors, etc.

Student-Based Problems

The nature of students, as well as their backgrounds, are a major source of classroom management problems. The following student factors are some of the major causes of problem behavior:

  1. Disruptive behavior: Some students may engage in disruptive behavior that can distract other students and affect the learning environment. This can include talking out of turn, making noise, or refusing to follow instructions.
  2. Aggressive behavior: Aggressive behavior can manifest in many ways, including physical aggression towards classmates, verbal abuse towards teachers or peers, or damaging school property. Such behavior can pose a danger to other students and disrupt the overall learning environment.
  3. Non-compliance: Some students may not comply with classroom rules, assignments, or expectations. This can include refusal to participate in class or submitting work on time. This behavior can lead to low academic performance and disrupt the learning process of other students.
  4. Low engagement: Certain students may not be engaged in the classroom, leading to low participation, lack of interest, and disengagement from the learning process. Low engagement can result in a lack of progress and may impact the motivation of other students.
  5. Learning difficulties: Some students may have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD, or other conditions that require additional support from educators. These students require personalized approaches to ensure that they can reach their full potential and participate in classroom activities.

By identifying and addressing these types of student-based classroom management problems, educators can create a more positive and effective learning environment for all students.

Suggested Ways to Deal with Student-Based Problems

Teachers can follow the  steps below to solve student-based problems:

  • Collaborate effectively with parents to correct problems resulting from home. Students’ parents are key players in the education of their wards so make use of this opportunity in solving behavioral problems amongst your students.
  • Collaborate with other professionals such as the school’s counselor and doctor, if there is any, in dealing with student behavioral problems. These professionals are there to support you in educating your students, so make use of them.
  • Don’t lose control of yourself when addressing defiant, disruptive, and oppositional behaviors. Stay calm and firm when giving warnings and commands.
  • Change students’ seats if need be to stop them from chatting with others.
  • Use behavior contracts to get students’ commitment to good behavior in class.
  • Find a designated place for cooling off students during flare-ups and tantrums.
  • Organize meetings with students to discuss their misbehaviors.

Social-Based Problems

When discussing the causes of classroom management problems, we must not forget the role of the social environment in promoting or reducing them. Below are some of the factors we must take note of:

Here are five examples of social-based classroom management problems:

  • Unequal participation: Some students may dominate class discussions or group activities, while others may be too shy or uninterested to participate. This can create an uneven dynamic within the classroom and leave certain students feeling left out or unengaged.
  • Bullying: Any form of bullying, whether it be physical, verbal, or online, can create a hostile learning environment. Teachers must address bullying quickly and effectively to ensure all students feel safe and respected in the classroom.
  • Disruptive behavior: Students who engage in disruptive behavior, such as talking out of turn or making inappropriate comments, can distract from the lesson and disrupt the learning process for the entire class.
  • Difficulty with group work: Group work can be challenging for students who struggle with social interactions or have difficulty working with others. Teachers must find ways to support these students while still encouraging collaboration and teamwork.
  • Cliques: Some students may form exclusive groups or cliques, which can create social divides within the classroom. This can make it difficult for certain students to form friendships and feel included in the classroom community.
  • Students may put up problem behavior as a result of their desire to impress their friends. That is, they choose to misbehave to express their feeling of belongingness and loyalty to their groups.
  • Some students may have other responsibilities and engagements outside school that can cause them to put up problem behaviors in the classroom. For example, financial problems, heavy workloads, and relationships can push students to disrupt, defy, and oppose teachers’ commands and requests.

Suggested Ways to Deal with Social-Based Problems

Teachers can do the following to help them deal with these problems:

  • Collaborating with parents can help reduce the occurrence of problems caused by these factors.
  • Collaborate with school authorities and professionals like psychologists and doctors when tackling misbehaviors.
  • Maintain your cool when dealing with problems in class.
  • Be firm but flexible when tackling misbehaviors.


There are numerous classroom management problems. Understanding the causes of these problems can help teachers find strategies to deal with them. Continue to follow this blog to learn more about how to manage your classroom successfully. Please share this article for more people to benefit from it.

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