Classroom Management Styles Teachers Need to Know

Classroom management helps you cultivate learning. How you do that depends on your classroom management style.
The classroom is the centerpiece of the education profession. It’s where the learning magic happens and teaching becomes an art. It’s the epicenter of growth and development for students. But if you’ve been in a classroom, you also know it can be a maelstrom of chaos and confusion! 
Featuring 
Justin McElwee

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

Classroom Management Styles Teachers Need to Know

Classroom management helps you cultivate learning. How you do that depends on your classroom management style.
Chapter 
 | 
 🚀
 🥤

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

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Classroom Management Styles Teachers Need to Know

Classroom management helps you cultivate learning. How you do that depends on your classroom management style.
By 
Justin McElwee
 | 
April 20, 2022
Register Now

About the Event

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

Register Now

About the Event

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

About the Presenter

Justin has been an educator for over a decade including various teaching roles ranging from Special Education, ELA, and Social Studies! When he's not busy, he enjoys spending time with his family including his daughter, his wife, and his half labrador/half dachshund, "Mac."

In addition to this you can find him working on his podcast production skills for his goofy sports and pop culture podcast, Baseball and Whatever, playing ice hockey, water skiing, or playing video games. He's probably playing video games.

Classroom Management Styles Teachers Need to Know

Classroom management helps you cultivate learning. How you do that depends on your classroom management style.
By 
Justin McElwee
 | 
April 20, 2022

The classroom is the centerpiece of the education profession. It’s where the learning magic happens and teaching becomes an art. It’s the epicenter of growth and development for students. But if you’ve been in a classroom, you also know it can be a maelstrom of chaos and confusion! 

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

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Justin McElwee
 

Classroom Management Styles Teachers Need to Know

Classroom management helps you cultivate learning. How you do that depends on your classroom management style.
By 
Justin McElwee
 | 
April 20, 2022

The classroom is the centerpiece of the education profession. It’s where the learning magic happens and teaching becomes an art. It’s the epicenter of growth and development for students. But if you’ve been in a classroom, you also know it can be a maelstrom of chaos and confusion! 

Do not worry! A few helpful classroom management tips can help you turn this chaos into meaningful learning experiences. How you do that depends on your classroom management style. Just like an artist has their own approach, so do teachers. In this article, we’ll explore common classroom management styles you can learn from.

But first…

Why Is Classroom Management So Important?

Classroom management is the glue that holds the classroom together. As teachers, we have to prepare and be ready for whatever situations may enter our doors – and that’s quite a lot. Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the outside lives of our students and what emotions they may bring with them. 

However, with the right classroom management style that fits your approach to classroom management, you can be there to support students in a variety of ways. Classroom management not only guides students but also enforces expectations and helps them meet objectives. 

Let’s discuss a few styles you may want to employ as well as additional approaches that can be used in conjunction with them or as supplements. One thing you may notice as you read through these is that just utilizing one can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to take inspiration from each to build out your own special type of classroom management style.

The Boss 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritarian. 

This particular classroom management example places all power and focus on the teacher. There is very little room for students to have a say in their learning or how the class is handled. 

That’s not to say this is a negative – far from it. This may be a management style for educators who prefer to have complete control over what and how learning is taking place in their classroom. 

The teacher calls the shots: lessons, outcomes, objectives, activities, are all guided by the educator. There is not necessarily an opening for students to branch out, because everything has been decided for them. This particular type of management style has the potential to reduce the number of potential disruptive behavior issues because there is very little unstructured time in this type of classroom. 

One risk with this particular management style is that there will be less of a rapport built between a student and teacher. Depending on the grade level you teach, this could be positive or negative. Younger students oftentimes require a strong bond and rapport with their teachers to help foster their learning. As students get older, this can change, and that particular rapport building may be more difficult or not required.

The Middle Ground 

Sometimes referred to as The Authoritative.

This type of classroom management style is a lighter version of “the boss.” In this model, the teacher or educator still “calls the shots” within the room. However, there is more room for student participation and input on how a lesson proceeds. 

This type of style also provides a bit more flexibility for students to feel valued within the classroom as well as the opportunity for a bond to be built between educator and learner. 

Students are able to voice their thoughts on how concepts and routines can be improved without fear of being told no because they are the student and not the teacher.  

The “You Do You!”

Sometimes referred to as The Indulgent.

In this classroom management style, students may have more creative control in how they operate with their lessons and learning. This can be a wonderful mindset and plan for classroom management. 

However, teachers must be careful that this doesn’t go too far and fall into a situation where the students begin to run the classroom with their behaviors. Teachers have to be careful they do not hit a tipping point with their students where the balance of control completely flips from the teacher to students.

What does that mean exactly? In a “You Do You” style, the teacher actively prepares materials for their students but then collaborates with them on the execution. This can be a very powerful motivator because it fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership of learning. 

Students oftentimes feel extremely comfortable in these situations and will often build positive rapport with their teachers. It’s important that teachers build those bonds but also remain the leader of the room too. Otherwise, it leads to students feeling there is very little control or guidance from the adult in the room.

The “Just Do Your Work”

Sometimes referred to as Permissive.

This particular classroom management style is oftentimes the weakest that can be chosen by teachers when in the classroom. This is because when teachers often rely on a permissive attitude or stance with learners, they have given up complete control of the room. 

The teacher may be bogged down with the bureaucracy of teaching and settle for the success of just having students turn in assignments so that grades can be recorded. This is ultimately a disservice to both the teacher and student. 

Why? In a sense, the teacher has sort of thrown in the towel. The end goal in this classroom management style is to make sure assignments are completed, which is a small fraction of what learning truly entails. This can have negative effects on behavior as well. When teachers feel this way about their role, students are sure to pick up on it and act accordingly. 

Other Classroom Management Styles

Sage on a Stage

This particular classroom management style comes into very clear focus when teachers are actively reviewing or informing students of lessons and activities. These particular teachers sometimes have difficulty letting go of control of the classroom and passing it to their students in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. 

The term Sage on a Stage refers to all eyes and ears being centered on the “wise” teacher. The teacher is the one that is hand-delivering the knowledge to learners and is the only source of knowledge. 

Lectures and constant note-taking are prevalent in this type of teaching and classroom management strategy. As such, there are very few opportunities for student creativity in this style. 

It’s important to note, there will be times when teachers need to command their students' attention to teach a key task or piece of knowledge. However, as with any of these classroom management strategies, it’s extremely important not to solely rely on this type of strategy when teaching the classroom. 

Guide on the Side

This teaching and classroom management strategy typically is the antithesis of the “Sage on a Stage.” In this particular model, the teacher acts as a resource for students when it comes to their learning. 

This strategy is nicely paired with others listed earlier in this article to help teachers meet the holistic academic and behavior needs of their students. 

As a “Guide on the Side,” the educator allows their students to take the lead on their assignments or projects in the classroom. The teacher acts as a resource that students can turn to when they encounter challenges or need support. 

It is extremely important though not to relinquish full control of the classroom. The students within your classroom must understand the importance of staying on task in order to maintain this type of learning. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

The final styles are proactive and reactive discipline and classroom management styles.

Proactive management happens when the teacher takes the lead and clearly sets out objectives and goals for their students. This may also tie into some type of behavior management system whether it be with a token economy, positive behavior supports, or PBIS rewards. 

The opposite of this would be to be a reactive teacher. This is where you would see a strategy implemented like a “clip up/clip down” chart. The student is then made aware of their behavior by the reaction of the teacher. 

Teacher Behavior Clip Chart

Source: Clutter Free Classroom

Both can work in the proper settings. Your approach depends on how you want to present your expectations to your class.

Your Unique Classroom Management Style

There are many more potential classroom management styles you can utilize. The key component to remember with classroom management is that one strategy is often not enough. Think of it as an actor getting typecast into a particular role. It is okay to branch out and adopt multiple strategies in order to be a successful teacher for your students. 

Ultimately, our goal as teachers is to educate and create an environment that fosters success for our students. That’s why your classroom management style matters, and by combining multiple strategies to suit your class’s individual needs, you can help your students thrive.  

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👑
🎁
Sports Tickets
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Snacks
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Theme Party
Grades K-8
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Reading Time
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Messenger
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Trunk or Treat
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Toys
Grades K-8
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Recess
Grades K-5
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Pie a Teacher
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free

All Event Ideas for Schools

💰
🎨
Camp Read Away
💰
🎨
Game Week
💰
🎨
Silent Disco
💰
🎨
Music Fest
💰
🎨
Blood Drive
💰
🎨
The A-List
💰
🎨
Kickback Vibes
💰
🎨
STEM Field Day
💰
🎨
Karaoke Night
💰
🎨
Amazing Race

All Free Reward Ideas for Schools

All Reward Ideas for High School Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Glow Party
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Loudspeaker Shoutout
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Ice Cream Sundae Party
Grades K-12
Class/House
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Movie Night
Grades 9-12
Student
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
School Supplies & Merch
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Seating Choice
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Classroom DJ
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Donate $1
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Game Week
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Picnic Lunch
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Art Contest
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
TikTok with the Teacher
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Career Day
Grades 3-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Meme Party
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free

All Reward Ideas for Middle School Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Meet the Teacher
Grades K-8
School
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Homework Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Silent Disco
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Show & Tell
Grades K-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Class Pet
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
♟️Chess With the Principal
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Messenger
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
STEM Field Day
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Digital Escape Rooms
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Free Dress
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Be a Comedian.
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Decades Party
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Theme Party
Grades K-8
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY

All Student Reward & Incentive Ideas

💰
🎨
School Spirit Day
Grades K-12
School
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Teacher v Student Competition
Grades 6-12
School
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Operate Equipment.
Grades 9-12
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Create the Seating Chart
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Virtual Field Trip
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Class Book
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Emcee the Announcements
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Technology
Grades 6-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
💰
🎨
Digital Escape Rooms
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Deluxe
💰
🎨
School Assembly
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Extra Recess
Grades K-5
Class/House
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
♟️Chess With the Principal
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
💰
🎨
Play Games
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Seating Choice
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
💰
🎨
Sports Tickets
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
💰
🎨
Extra Computer Games
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free

All Virtual Reward Ideas for Schools

🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Show & Tell
Grades K-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Host a Virtual Party. 🎶
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Spotlight Board
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Classroom DJ
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Certificate of Achievement
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Field Trip
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Computer Games
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Stickers
Grades K-5
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Social Media Reporter
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Brain Break
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Podcast
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Donate $1
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Digital Escape Rooms
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Deluxe
See all Rewards

Want more ideas?

Rewards that Rock 🎸 has 100+ rewards, incentives, and event ideas to build your school culture.
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Learn more about the author, 
Justin McElwee
 

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