Evidence Based Classroom Management

11 Research-Based Classroom Management Strategies

Does the prospect of resolving unresolved behaviour difficulties keep you awake at night, wondering about solutions that could improve responsible decision-making while also increasing academic learning time? Being personally and professionally challenged is normal—as I’ve experienced on far too many occasions to list.

The good news is that there are certain research-based classroom management tactics known as kernels that you may incorporate into your toolset for effective classroom management.


Dennis Embry and Anthony Biglan characterise kernels as “basic units of behavioural influence” in a 2008 paper published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology. Kernels are bite-size tactics that have been supported by mountains of empirical evidence as well as teaching experience. (“Evidence-Based Classroom Behavior Management Strategies,” by Barry Parsonson, provides yet another in-depth look at the findings.)

According to Embry and Biglan, a kernel can assist a parent whose child is having difficulty getting out the door on time for school: “On its alone, such a complaint does not justify providing parenting skills instruction.” However, a simple behaviour change method, such as the ‘Beat the Timer’ game (Adams and Drabman 1995), in which the kid receives a reward for completing a behaviour before the timer goes off, may be sufficient to resolve the problem and avoid parent-child conflict.

When it comes to classroom management, kernels can be particularly effective at the start of the year, before you’ve had a chance to build stronger relationships with your pupils. Kernels are recommended by administrators and coaches because putting them into practice with fidelity is intuitive and observable. They do not require specialised expertise or the services of pricey consultants.

The annotated list of kernels may be considered conventional information by senior teachers, yet their widespread use is a distinct advantage for new teachers. For this reason, they are frequently used in conjunction with more sophisticated constellations of evidence-based behavioral interventions, where they are particularly successful at curing self-awareness and self-regulation, as well as pro-academic attitudes.

1. Nonverbal cues: A teacher can cue self-regulation by using subtle body motions (such as proximity) or more explicit hand signals. Getting the attention of a high schooler who is acting out can be accomplished by moving to the front of the room and making eye contact with him or her, then pausing until the individual’s attention is gained. When it comes to social cues, younger children may be less familiar with them and may require a verbal indication to accompany the nonverbal cues. “Can you tell me what you should be doing right now?”

1. Use nonverbal transition cues: Children might become so absorbed in an activity that they may fail to notice your attempts to transition them to the next learning event. The ringing of a bell or the switching on and off of lights are unambiguous indications that the class is shifting its focus to the teacher or a new task. Inviting a group of students to decide on a signal to use can help to foster a sense of community.

3. Timeouts: Hundreds of studies have been conducted to support the use of the timeout technique, which is now regarded as an essential component of many evidence-based behavior modification methods. Instead of using a dunce cap as a punishment, which is intended to humiliate and stigmatize pupils, progressive classrooms are increasingly using timeouts to provide students with an emotional break in a less socially charged portion of the room. Furthermore, it provides students with an opportunity to decompress, reflect on, and increase their self-awareness before returning to their seats with enhanced self-regulation.

Younger pupils may find classroom routines unfamiliar or overwhelming, which can lead to over-correction. Prepare by modelling the right technique and then repeating it three or more times until each phase of the routine becomes second nature to you. As a result of these rehearsals, my second graders took great delight in doing the needed activities as quickly and accurately as possible during the rest of the year.

Five. Private notes written on a student’s desk applauding greater classroom effort are effective forms of reinforcement, especially when the remark is heartfelt. Additionally, studies have shown that sending positive letters home helps children improve their self-management and decision-making skills.

6. Private Reminders: When used in conjunction with discrete praise, private reminders to students on how to behave responsibly can help them stay on goal. It is recommended by the researchers to use brief and unemotional reminders.

7. Greetings: Although it may seem like a small gesture, addressing students by their first names and making a nice statement might help them improve their self-regulation and increase their class participation. “Hey, Marcus,” for example. “How is my bright pupil doing today?” I inquire.

Don’t let behavioural blunders go unanswered during a class; instead, correct them right away. Students should be reminded about appropriate behaviour as soon as possible, briefly, and without drama. “What should you be doing right now?” is an example. Right. Let’s see whether that comes to pass.”

9. Mindfulness Practice: According to Emily Campbell, who cites multiple studies, training a pupil to meditate or practise nasal breathing (inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth) helps them to better regulate their emotions. This animated gif assists students (as well as teachers) in learning the procedure.

Tenth, take notice and comment: The Peacebuilders website offers various “Minute Recipes for Building Peace,” such as noticing and commenting on changes in student behaviour. “I truly enjoy the way you’re acting now,” for example. Were you able to have a positive experience that made you feel better about your group?” This unambiguous and powerful message is communicated via noticing and commenting: I am interested.

The intervention “When-Then,” which was also published by Peacebuilders, encourages students to make responsible decisions while also leaving the choice in their hands: “When you start talking to me with a hushed voice, then we’ll problem-solve this situation,” the intervention reads.

Implement these principles as soon as possible, as an overwhelming number of studies urge that classroom instructors systematically teach self-regulation, relationship management, and responsible decision-making at the beginning of the school year.