Teaching Main      Learning Styles      EDSE 415      PLSI     School Climate Page   Shindler Index


Ten Biggest Classroom Management Mistakes Made by Teachers


  1. Inconsistency – Teacher appears to act from a subjective-reactive set of criteria and or lacks a transparent and consistent set of principles from which to make decisions. See social learning model)


  1. Chronicling Student Failure – Teacher focuses on what is not going well, the misbehavior and the problematic aspects of the students’ actions, rather than giving a clear set of expectations for successful behavior and clear feedback related to progress toward academic and behavioral goals. (See teacher –student interaction language handout)


  1. Use of Punishments – Teacher responds to unwanted behavior with penalties intended to give short-term discomfort and send the message that they are unhappy with a particular behavior, rather than providing consequences that are non-personal, related to the problem behavior and are intended to teach long-term lessons. (See Punishments vs. Consequences)


  1. Use of deficit models – Teacher uses a feedback system that assumes students begin with an adequate behavioral level with each act of misbehavior leading to a lowering of the level on a chart (names on the board act essentially the same way).


  1. Consistent and perpetual use of Extrinsic Rewards – Teacher gives students tangible or quantitative rewards for desired behavior. This has the long-term effect of addicting students to these rewards, and shifting their locus of control externally. The result is a lower level of intrinsic motivation and the promotion of a view of work as a means to an end as opposed to a valuable for its own sake.


  1. Short-sighted focus – Teacher focuses on what will stop the problem today and relieve the current crisis or stop the unwanted behavior, as opposed to taking action intended to change or eliminate the problem in the long term. The problem seems to go away for a while but comes back again in a short time. Upon reflection the teacher might consider if the goal of the intervention is to feel better, or to get results. Common examples include bribes, guilt and shame, dramatic episodes, sarcasm, put-downs, and punishments. (See also Curwin and Mendler’s 9 steps for consequence implementation).


  1. Personal Praise for Desired Behavior – Teacher gives general and emotional messages to students for doing what the teacher wants. See comparison of healthy and unhealthy praise in course pack. (Also see Positive vs. Personal Feedback distinction).


  1. Victim and/or external LOC language – Teacher uses an excessive amount of language that projects a plea to student to change their behavior because the teacher had been wronged or does not deserve to be treated with such disrespect. (See teacher – student interaction language handout). (See “real world” mentality handout)


  1. Ignoring Students’ Basic Needs – Teacher thinks and acts with an orientation based on how student behavior effects their interests, where it is either good or bad depending on how much trouble it gives them, rather than examining all student behavior within the context of meeting a need of some kind.


  1. Passive-Hostility.  Rather than taking action (the only thing that changes behavior), the teacher expects students to respond to anger, lectures, threats shaming and random punishments – Teacher assumes that student behave because the teacher has been forceful or repetitive enough to make them aware of how they should act. The result of this strategy is a long term deterioration of the teacher-student relationship, lower levels of motivation and an increase in behavioral problems, especially from student with negative identities (see week 10 readings).