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Class Management

Educators are professionals who expect learners to exhibit professional behaviors that contribute to a positive learning environment. However, that ideal is not always met; learners may not be engaged, are reluctant to participate, and may display microaggressions, incivility, and disruptive behavior in the classroom. Perhaps the most critical challenge affecting teaching and learning is implementing appropriate class management strategies (Etheridge, 2010). 

Perhaps you excel at developing a positive rapport with the majority of your learners, however, there still may be the occasional learner who is difficult to connect with. Here are suggestions to manage behavior.   

  • Take the first step - Evaluate your current style of class management to ensure methods have an impact. 
  • Address microaggressions, incivility, and disruptive behavior – The key to managing disruptive behavior is to demonstrate strategies to de-escalate situations (Pickford, 2007).
  • Support quiet, shy, fearful, and uncertain learners – Engage learners who have a fear of failure, are overly thoughtful, introverted, and lack self-confidence. 
  • Utilize accommodations – CMU provides resources for learners who need accommodations. Review pages such as those on Accommodation and Digital Content Accessibility to become familiar with the range of related resources available. 
  • Make the most of difficult topics of discussion – Prepare for facilitating topics about race, religion, politics, gender, identity, and sexuality. 

Class management starts before the first day: set the tone, prepare your classroom, and be prepared to serve as a pressure release valve. Get to know your learners and remind them you are available outside of class to meet. With a well-thought-out plan, you can foster a positive learning experience. Please let us know if we can assist you in creating a class management plan.    

Additional resources

Bart, M. (2018). Shy Students in the College Classroom: What Does it Take to Improve Participation? - Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning. [online] Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning. Retrieved from

Baskin, T. (2018). Strategies for Addressing Student Fear in the Classroom. [online] Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning. Retrieved from

Hall, Christopher J. “College Classroom Management: The Good, Bad, and Ugly.” Dr. Christopher J. Hall, 16 Sept. 2015,

Handling Controversial Topics in Discussion. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2018, from

Kenney, Jr., R. (2018). Helping Quiet Students Find Their Voices | Faculty Focus. [online] Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning. Available at:
[Accessed 19 Jun. 2018]. 


Etheridge, T. (2010). Assertive discipline and its impact on disruptive behaviour  (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from Pro-Quest Dissertations & Theses database. (Publication No. AAT 3409180).

Pickford, R., & Race, P. (2007). Making Teaching Work. Sage Publications.