Classroom Management Mistakes

7 Classroom Management Mistakes—and the Research on How to Fix Them

Steve Jobs was kicked out of school for being such a brat when he was in the third grade because he caused so much disruption. The attempts that were made to correct his misbehaviour backfired, leading to defiance and even more misbehaviour on his part. He was constantly playing pranks on his classmates, and even on his own teachers.

Jobs admits, “I spent a lot of time dozing off in class.” “And all of a sudden I became a terrifying creature.”

According to Jobs’s response, it is erroneous to believe that students’ deviant behaviour is always the result of a desire to break the rules, or that punitive measures will effectively address the underlying reasons that students act out. Similarly, it is erroneous to believe that students’ deviant behaviour can be prevented by enforcing strict When students are mistreated or neglected at home, it can sometimes translate into higher levels of aggressive behaviour at school. It is estimated that approximately one in every sixteen children has oppositional defiant disorder or another form of conduct disorder. In the same way that Jobs was fidgety in class, some students become disruptive by acting out, pulling pranks, or diverting the attention of their classmates.

Even positive aspects of a child’s social and emotional development can manifest in negative behaviours at times. When children reach adolescence, their allegiances shift from adults to peers, and their abstract thinking skills sharpen dramatically. This causes them to question, and even challenge, long-accepted authority structures. Adolescents’ abstract thinking skills also sharpen dramatically. Children often appear to violate rules when, in reality, they are just testing their boundaries and exercising their independence in the process.

Research shows that teacher training programmes still tend to be focused on establishing strict rules while imposing consequences for misbehaviour, even though this may be obvious to veteran teachers. It is possible that this will work in the short term, but it is highly unlikely that it will produce change in the long term.

The following are seven common oversights in the management of classrooms, along with what the research suggests should be done instead. These oversights can occur because our feelings get the best of us or because we fall into familiar but unproductive habits.


It’s possible that different factors are causing two different students to behave poorly, such as causing a disturbance in the classroom. According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2010, researchers explain that “a strategy that will eliminate the off-task behaviour of one student might worsen the off-task behaviour of the other.” Instead of automatically reacting to inappropriate student behaviour, educators should investigate the underlying causes of the problem. If, for example, one student is dealing with a stressful new condition at home, that calls for a different approach than if another student is trying to get attention from their classmates.

According to the explanation provided by the researchers, “defining a misbehaviour based on how it looks tells us nothing about why it occurred and often does not help in our efforts to change behaviour.”

When dealing with inappropriate behaviour, Nina Parrish, who teaches special education in Virginia, typically begins by looking for patterns in her students’ actions. What takes place prior to and subsequent to the behaviour? Who exactly makes up the audience? When does it happen? According to what she writes, “Behaviors help students either obtain something desirable or escape something undesirable.” The teachers will be able to address the student’s misbehaviour in a more productive manner if they can determine what the student’s goals are.


It is easy to become cynical about student misbehaviour; however, it stems from well-intentioned academic struggles more often than you might think. Although it is easy to become cynical about student misbehaviour; Researchers from the year 2018 conducted a study in which they compared various explanations for why students behave inappropriately, including a lack of discipline, a lack of motivation, and a desire to impress classmates. Surprisingly, they discovered that a full twenty percent of the time, inappropriate behaviour could be attributed to academic deficiencies. Either the students didn’t understand the assignment or the assignment was too difficult, and inappropriate behaviour was an outlet for their frustration.


Educators who lack experience may have the misconception that they are responsible for preventing and correcting all instances of disruptive behaviour in the classroom; however, making an effort to eliminate even seemingly insignificant disruptions may, in the long run, make the problem even worse.

A study that was conducted in 2016 discovered that giving students “negative attention,” such as pointing out when students aren’t paying attention or are briefly talking in class, often made students feel less connected to the class, which ultimately led to more behavioural issues in the future. “Teachers can unwittingly engage in a negative reinforcement pattern,” which the researchers point out is a downward spiral that “actually amplifies students’ inappropriate behaviour.” What do we get in the end? If a student is reprimanded for not paying attention, rather than redirecting their attention to their learning, they are more likely to withdraw from the classroom and stew in their anger.

Teachers should highlight positive behaviour in their students, such as students finishing their work on time or smoothly transitioning between activities, rather than calling students out individually. There are a number of effective ways to subtly encourage students to pay attention, including the use of nonverbal responses such as “the look” or hand signals.

The fourth error is making use of the time-out corners.
A study from 2019 found that sending students to the corner as a form of punishment can cause them to feel ashamed or embarrassed, which can damage your relationship with them and put at risk the trust that is necessary for productive learning.

According to what is written by the researchers who conducted the study, “Children in school struggle to maintain self-esteem amidst the battle for popularity, grades, and social rankings.” “When an adult induces the belief that one is unworthy…then self-respect and self-assurance, central ingredients of thoughtful autonomy, are undermined.” [Citation needed] “When an adult induces the belief that one is unworthy…then self-respect and self-assurance are


Every classroom at Fall-Hamilton Elementary School in Nashville is equipped with a peace corner, which is an alternative to a time-out corner that provides students with the opportunity to calm down, reflect on their thoughts and feelings, and practise skills necessary for self-regulation. Students will develop the ability “to be able to know what to do when they are frustrated or when they are angry,” as explained by the school’s principal, Mathew Portell.

“so it’s not a place of stigma,” as one teacher put it, contrary to time-out corners, which are typically seen as a form of discipline because students are sent there as a form of discipline; however, peace corners are used by all students because students can go there themselves, within reason. Activities, such as breathing exercises and a chart that helps students reflect on the choices they have made and the better choices they could make in the future, are dispersed throughout the area to teach students how to learn self-regulation skills. This is an extremely important aspect of the space.


It is a common practise, but it is a destructive strategy to publicly identify students who act out or cause disruptions in the classroom. A study published in 2019 highlights several examples, including: At one particular institution, the hallways are adorned with lists of students who have been assigned detention. When students misbehave at one school, teachers either write their names on the classroom board or use color-coded stickers as a scoring system. For example, red stickers indicate inappropriate behaviour, while blue stickers indicate appropriate behaviour. Students’ tardiness or absences are recorded on data walls, which can make the situation even worse for them by making their poor test scores and grades visible to the entire class.

According to the findings of the researchers, practises such as shaming “fail to inhibit future acts of wrongdoing and may even make matters worse.” Instead of calling students out publicly, teachers should approach them privately and encourage them to reflect on the wrongdoing, think about its source, and take responsibility for addressing it.


To expect compliance from students without putting in the emotional labour to earn it is a fight that can never be won. If you demand it, then many of your students will simply rebel, test the boundaries, or engage in power struggles. Building a strong relationship with your students that is founded on trust and empathy is necessary for effective classroom management. According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2014, researchers explain that “classroom management is not about controlling students or demanding perfect behaviour.” “Instead, supporting students to manage themselves throughout daily learning and activities is at the heart of effective management,”

In order to assist students in the development of the social and emotional skills necessary for them to be able to self-regulate their behaviour, teachers should place an emphasis on proactive strategies such as providing encouraging greetings at the classroom door, intentionally forming and working to maintain relationships, co-creating classroom norms with students, and cultivating an active physical presence in the classroom.


Numerous studies have shown that teachers unintentionally have the perception that students of colour are less capable and more aggressive than White students. Furthermore, teachers may apply rules inconsistently, which can erode trust and relationships with students of colour. For instance, a study conducted in 2019 discovered that teachers typically provide Black students with fewer warnings to correct their misbehaviour before sending them to the office of the principal, in comparison to the warnings given to their White classmates.

The “trust gap” among students of colour can be contributed to by the perception of injustices like these. According to the authors of a study that was published in 2017, “African American students were more aware of racial bias in school disciplinary decisions,” and “as this awareness grew, it predicted a loss of trust in school, leading to a large trust gap in seventh grade.” This finding was the result of a study that was conducted in the previous year. This resulted in an increase in disciplinary issues as well as a decrease in interest in applying to colleges and universities.

Teachers can take a few steps to eliminate disciplinary bias in their classrooms by first becoming aware of their own implicit biases—after all, we all have them—and then making it a habit to routinely review all of the disciplinary measures they use to determine whether or not there is room for improvement.

But that’s not all on the shoulders of the educators. According to Andrew Ford, a data analyst at the New York City Department of Education, it is imperative that schools take steps “to take a hard look at themselves and identify policies that contribute to systemic racism—and then to reform them” in light of the nationwide protests over racial justice. “It is imperative that schools take steps,” he writes, “to take a hard look at themselves and identify policies that contribute to systemic racism.” He suggests that educational institutions implement a methodology known as “data equity” and investigate the ways in which “opportunities, outcomes, and environments differ along racial lines.” Are there certain groups that are targeted more frequently than others by disciplinary policies? Are the desired results being achieved by the use of disciplinary measures? If not, then why not?