The 3 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 for teaching and learning.

But the dynamics of how a teacher becomes effective in managing the classroom environment is 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 relationship, and inappropriate mental set. Put differently, Merç and Subaşı (2015) classified the problems of classroom management as teacher-based, student-based, teaching point, and 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 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.

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, managing 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 most 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.
  • 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.

Suggested Ways to Deal with School-Based Problems: Solving these problems are 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:

  • Families are sometimes causes of problem behavior in school. Things that happen at home often follow students to school. Students with family problems are more likely to engage in disruptive and problem behaviors both in and out of class.
  • Some disorders among students promote the incidence of problem behavior in the classroom. For example, autism, ODD, and ADHD are likely to cause classroom management problems.
  • Lack of social skills can be a source of behavioral problems in the classroom. Lack of personal skills can cause poor students’ relationships with others in the class. This promotes disagreements and quarrels during lessons.

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’ commitments 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:

  • 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 on how to manage your classroom successfully. Please share this article for more people to benefit from it.

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