What comes to mind when you hear the words “classroom management”? Many people think of a school classroom in utter chaos: students socializing during work time, projectiles flying across the room, a fight breaking out in the corner, and a helpless teacher wondering, “where did I go wrong?”. Eggen and Kauchak (2007) cite classroom management as the primary concern of preservice teachers (p. 369), and I am no exception to this citation. I am very excited to teach in a classroom someday, but confess my concern that students will not behave or listen. This paper, therefore, seeks to further explore the concepts of classroom management, with an emphasis on challenges specific to the instrumental music (band) classroom.
Classroom management is defined as “teachers’ strategies that create and maintain an orderly learning environment” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007, p. 371). Classroom management is to be differentiated from discipline, which is the response to misbehavior. The distinction is important to make because teachers’ views of classroom management are often discipline-focused. However, as psychologist Jacob Kounin claims, discipline is just a small part of classroom management (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007, p. 371). Most of classroom management should be a proactive, rather than reactive, process. Just as the United States declared war on Iraq before a direct attack occurred, teachers can use classroom management as a sort of “preemptive strike” against misbehavior (here defined as anything that prevents learning) before it attacks them. The process of classroom management, however, is less controversial than declaring war; it is instead an essential ingredient to maximizing learning in the classroom.
Three principal classroom management goals, as detailed by Eggen and Kauchak (2007, p. 371), are outlined below. Interestingly, each goal corresponds to a different basic need of the self-determination theory of motivation, a theory dealing with “the process of deciding how to act on one’s environment” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007, p. 321). This is ultimately what teachers want to teach students beyond content: how to shape the world they live in. The following sections will describe each classroom management goal, how it relates to the motivation theory, and then apply each goal specifically to the instrumental music classroom.
Classroom management goal Corresponding psychological need from self-determination theory
I. Create a positive classroom climate Relatedness
II. Maximize opportunity for learning Competence
III. Develop learner responsibility Autonomy
I. Positive Classroom Climate
One indicator of a well-managed classroom is a positive classroom climate. According to self-determination theory, students have a need for relatedness, feeling connected and loved (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007, p. 321). A teacher can do...