Classroom Control Vs. Classroom Management: How They Are Very Different

When you are studying to be a teacher, at some point you will have to take a class on classroom management. You will pour over a classroom management textbook, trying to absorb its wisdom on how to keep unruly kids in control. There is just one thing you are missing; classroom management is not classroom control. Here is how these two concepts seem similar, but are, in fact, very different.

Trying to Make Sure Students Listen and Follow School Rules

A teacher's worst nightmare is revealed in every "tough school and tougher teacher" movie ever made. You, too, probably worry about your future students getting out of line, destroying school property, hurting you and other students. That is why you are so focused on the idea of control, and not on the idea of management.

Most kids that you will have in your classroom are generally good kids. They have a desire to please, or at least placate, the adult in the room. You only have to worry about the kids that need some skilled management, not control.

Management is not that difficult. You address each student that misbehaves by dealing with him/her according to school rules. You reward kids that have been compliant. You avoid methods of control, such as threats, punishing the entire class for the wrongdoings of one person, etc. Control is hard; management, by comparison, is easy.

Control Reinforces Negative Reactions and Negative Behaviors

As you study classroom management further, you will find that control reinforces negative reactions and negative behaviors. This is because you are using punitive measures to force better behavior. Instead, your actions are met with hostility and rebellion.

Management Is about Respect, Positive Actions, Positive Reinforcements, and Setting Physical Boundaries

Classroom management, however, sets the premise that you assume that everyone in the classroom is a good kid. You assume that they are capable of following the school's rules. You establish trust, and you reinforce good behavior. You also make every effort to set up your classroom in a way that every student understands and respects boundaries, and is able to succeed. The environment is as important as the actions taken or not taken.

Every Approach and Technique Has to Be Practiced

Control comes from a personal point of fear. Management is comprised of learned techniques and learned approaches. The techniques and approaches have to be practiced regularly to overcome the need for control.