PSY Article Critique
veryone concedes that there is a severe shortage
of qualified teachers in the United States and that
one of the most frequent reasons cited in the literature
regarding the problem of staffing and retaining qualified
individuals is the lack of student discipline (Macdonald
1999; Tye and O’Brien 2002). In speaking to
new and veteran teachers who have left the profession
primarily due to discipline problems in the classroom,
many have commented that although they felt that
during the preteaching training period sufficient time
was spent on classroom management, they were not
truly prepared for the realities of the classroom, which
contributed to feelings of frustration, anger, and helplessness
(Miech and Elder 1996).
In reviewing the research, one can see that effective
teachers—those who have fewer discipline problems in
the classroom—spend a good deal of time on planning
(Brown 1998); take into account diversity as well as the
preference of individual learning styles (Daniels, Bizar,
and Zemelman 2001; Dunn and Dunn 1993; Sleeter
and Grant 2003); provide activities that get students
to begin work immediately and ensure there is a sufficient
amount of work that will have students working
the entire period (Ornstein and Lasley 2004); and are
consistent in classroom management techniques with “.
. . a healthy balance between rewards and punishment”
(Miller, Ferguson, and Simpson 1998, 56).
Establishing, explaining, reviewing, and modifying
(as needed) rules, routines, and procedures that are
clearly understood to handle the daily recurring activities
as well as developing procedures for unpredictable
events that may occur, will help you to devote the
maximum amount of time available for instruction and
enhance classroom management (Marshall 2001).
The following is based on my beliefs, my personality,
and thirty-seven years of experience as an educator.
Individuals should use this article as a guide and not
as a complete list of strategies or techniques that can
be used for effective classroom management. Your personality
and philosophy of education will dictate those
ideas you will or will not use in dealing with developing,
setting up, and using an effective strategy to ensure
maximum instruction with few classroom discipline
First Things First
As a teacher, ensuring that all students can learn in
a safe environment is your prime objective. Before you
can begin to teach, you must devote time to preparing
your classroom and developing procedures that will
help you maximize instruction in a positive climate,
such as the following:
Permanent seating arrangements will help you to
learn students’ names quickly, take attendance, and
perform any other administrative task while students
are involved in some instructional activity. The use of
Strategies for Effective
Classroom Management in
the Secondary Setting
Paul Pedota is a former principal in a New York City secondary school and is currently
the director of alternative certification programs at St. John’s University, New York.
Copyright © 2007 Heldref Publications
Abstract: Over the years, researchers have written many
books and articles about the lack of discipline or lack of
respect students have toward their teachers. This image is
enhanced by the daily accounts in movies, newspapers, television,
and radio or in speaking to students, their teachers, or
parents. In this article, the author provides working strategies
that can be used by new and veteran teachers that will provide
educators with procedures to maximize classroom instruction
by incorporating effective classroom management techniques
into their daily routines.
Keywords: classroom management, effective teachers, secondary
164 The Clearing House March/April 2007
a Delaney book or seating chart can help to make this
task a simple one. In addition, you should think about
how your seating arrangements can be modified to
support different types of instruction, such as whole
group instruction, small group instruction, or students
The room should be arranged to ensure that all
students can see well, there are no obstructions, the
lighting is adequate, and if and when students move
around, they do not interfere with other students. Your
desk should be positioned so that you can monitor the
activities of all students as well as not interfere with
movement within the class.
Procedures for the storing of equipment and other
material, the distribution and collection of student
material, keeping the chalkboard clean, the location of
the wastepaper basket, using the pencil sharpener, and
so on, must also be developed.
The classroom should be a showcase for student
work, as well as posters, magazine covers, charts, maps,
and pictures. It is important to let students know that
their work is important as well as let others know what
students are learning. Your material, as well as student
work, should be changed, at least every month or when
you begin a new unit. This will allow for all students
to have the opportunity to have their work displayed,
which will give them a sense of ownership. School and
class rules should also be posted as a reminder to students
of the code of behavior.
Plan for a variety of instructional experiences and
keep students actively involved. You will find that by
avoiding the sameness of daily classes, you will help
prevent discipline problems. One way that this can be
accomplished is by allowing students to be active participants
in learning rather than passive listeners.
Setting Classroom Standards for Behavior
Students, just like adults, prefer to be in an environment
that is structured and predictable. In school,
where students have individual teachers who hold different
beliefs as to how to handle certain situations, it
is important that you make your expectations perfectly
clear. To this end, it is extremely important that procedures
are in place that are consistent with schoolwide
policy and that both students and their parents know
what is expected in terms of behavior and class work. If
rules are firm, fair, and followed consistently, you will
be able to handle most situations that may infringe
on the use of instructional time. Developing a written
syllabus or contract that includes the subject material,
subject class requirements, and class and individual
code of conduct helps all to understand their responsibilities
(Brophy 1986; Curwin and Mendler 1988).
The following provides some examples of what
should be included in a code of conduct:
Student attendance: The importance of daily class attendance
must be emphasized. Students should know
what are considered legitimate reasons for being
absent, procedures to follow when absent as well as
when returning from an absence, and the impact recurring
absences will have on grades.
Student lateness and dismissal: Students must understand
the importance for being on time for class. Being
late causes students to not only interrupt instruction
for others, but also causes them to miss work. In addition,
procedures for dismissal should be in place at the
end of the instructional period and students should be
reminded that only you dismiss the class.
Classroom interruptions: Procedures should be developed
to handle classroom interruptions—such as intercom
announcements, visitors, and fire drills. In all of these
situations, students must know that you alone give
direction on student actions.
Students leaving classroom: What are the procedures
for leaving the room? Are you going to use a sign-out
book, issue a pass, write the names of students on the
chalkboard, or restrict the pass at certain times?
Student work: You should make students aware of the
subject manner to be studied; instructional objectives
you hope that students will obtain; skills that will be
developed; their responsibility regarding class work,
homework, or any other assignments; the number and
types of tests; and a review of how you will arrive at a
grade for each student.
Recognizing students in class: Students should not shout
out questions, answers, or comments without first
being recognized by you. Moving around the room as
you call on volunteers as well as nonvolunteers will
ensure that all students are on task as you build a climate
Instruction: Policies should also be developed to take
into account how students should act and interact with
each other during different types of instruction. For
example, when working in groups what is the expected
behavior of students? How is this behavior different
from behavior exhibited during other types of instrucVol.
80, No. 4 Effective Classroom Management 165
tion? If during group work students are speaking to
one another, how do you control the volume?
Recognition of accomplishments: It is important to see the
glass as half full not half empty, that is, try to accentuate
the positive over the negative. To establish a positive
classroom environment, students must feel that
you recognize their accomplishments.
Inappropriate behavior: Ignoring inappropriate behavior
until it reaches a point that you have no choice but to
give a harsh punishment should be avoided. In deciding
on the appropriate course to be taken, you must
ensure that you are reacting to what took place and not
It is imperative to realize that once classroom rules
and procedures have been developed, the worst thing
that you can do is act hastily, not enforce a rule, or
enforce it sporadically. In addition, you may not have
thought of everything and may have to revise, modify,
add, or disregard a rule. Do not be afraid to talk to a
colleague or school official if you are having a problem
or to change something if what you had originally
planned is not working.
You must model the behavior that you expect from
your students. You must avoid the use of insulting,
abusive, or threatening language. Although it may be
hard at times, you must learn to control your temper.
Your words and/or actions can upset others and may
even instigate physical actions, which can cause harm
to the student, other students, or adults. To get respect,
you must earn it, and by setting a good example and
by treating others as you would like to be treated, this
can be accomplished.
Communication can be verbal and nonverbal and
just as in everyday life, poor communication can cause
unnecessary problems. Table 1 displays some simple
“Dos” and “Do nots” in using communication efficiently
If you must reprimand students, use a normal tone
of voice, look at the student, do not use gestures such
as pointing your finger, and do not insist on the last
word (Kerr and Nelson 2002).
Good communication skills and being a good listener,
as well as a good speaker, can help in preventing
problems in the classroom. When students feel that
they are welcomed into a nonthreatening environment
where learning is encouraged, they usually come ready,
willing, and able to learn.
Strategies to Help Manage Your Classroom
By now you should be asking yourself, how can
I build an environment in my classroom where
there is trust and mutual respect among all, as well
as have rules that are firm, fair, consistent, and followed?
Table 2 outlines ten rules to help manage a
Combining structure and fairness with clear expectations
in a caring, nonthreatening environment are
the major elements of good teaching and effective
classroom management. Students who believe that you
really care about them as individuals, that is, academi-
TABLE 1. Dos and Do Nots in Communication
DO DO NOT
Think before you speak Say you will do something you cannot do
Speak only when you have everyone’s Speak to individuals and not pay attention
attention to the class
Give students the opportunity to ask questions Be close minded
Be specific in your statements, directions, Take silence as knowing
questions, and so on
TABLE 2. Top Ten List for Classroom Management
10. Develop a philosophy of “we” rather than “I” and use
a personal approach in working with your students.
9. Class rules should be reasonable, fair, equitable, and
used in a consistent manner.
8. Your actions, words, and deeds should model the
behavior that you expect from your students.
7. Remember self-esteem is as important for adolescences
as it is for you—avoid sarcasm or actions that belittle
an individual in front of classmates.
6. Be proactive. Move around the room and keep your
5. Before you speak, get everyone’s attention and say
what you mean and mean what you say.
4. Keep parents informed. Parent involvement will
support your role as a teacher.
3. Always give students hope—make them feel that they
can accomplish anything.
2. Treat your students as you yourself would like to be
1. Be yourself. Do not be an imitation of someone else.
Success will follow if you allow your own personality
166 The Clearing House March/April 2007
cally, socially, and emotionally, will gain status and
recognition and a sense of self-worth and belonging
(Dreikurs, Grunwald, and Pepper 1971; Glasser 1990)
as well as establish your authority and credibility.
By following these simple strategies, you can have an
orderly classroom environment that will improve students’
learning outcomes while providing for an atmosphere
that is structured and consistent and shows that
you are serious about teaching and learning. Motivating,
challenging, and engaging students as you strive for
high expectations will not only help to improve student
behavior in school and academic accomplishments but
will also provide the key for students to understand
how to act in a moral and ethical way in society.
Brophy, J. 1986. Classroom management techniques. Education and
Urban Society 18 (2): 182–94.
Brown, T. 1998. Effective school research and student behavior. Southeast/
South Central Educational Cooperative Fourth Retreat: Making
a difference in student behavior. Lexington, KY.
Curwin, R. L., and A. N. Mendler. 1988. Discipline with dignity. Alexandria,
VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Daniels, H., M. Bizar, and S. Zemelman. 2001. Rethinking high school:
Best practice in teaching, learning and leadership. Portsmouth, NH:
Dreikurs, R., B. Grunwald, and F. Pepper. 1971. Maintaining sanity in
the classroom: Classroom management techniques. New York: Harper
Dunn, R., and K. Dunn. 1993. Teaching secondary students through
their individual learning styles: Practical approaches for grades 7–12.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Glasser, W. 1990. The quality school: Managing students without coercion.
New York: Harper and Row.
Kerr, M. M., and C. M. Nelson. 2002. Strategies for managing behavior
problems in the classroom. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/
Macdonald, D. 1999. Teacher attrition: A review of the literature.
Teaching and Teacher Education 15:839–48.
Marshall, M. 2001. Discipline without stress, punishments, or rewards:
How teachers and parents promote responsibility and learning. Los
Alamitos, CA: Piper.
Miech, R. J., and G. H. Elder. 1996. The service ethic and teaching.
Sociology of Education 69:237–53.
Miller, A., E. Ferguson, and R. Simpson. 1998. The perceived effectiveness
of rewards and sanctions in primary schools: Adding in
the parental perspective. Educational Psychology 18 (1): 55–64.
Ornstein, A., and T. Lasley. 2004. Strategies for Effective Teaching. 4th
ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Sleeter, C., and C. Grant. 2003. Turning on learning: Five approaches for
multicultural teaching plans for race, class, gender, and disability. 3rd
ed. New York: Wiley.
Tye, B. B., and L. O’Brien. 2002. Why are experienced teachers leaving
the profession? Phi Delta Kappan 84 (1): 24–32.
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Article CritiqueGuidelines and Rubric
Articles are written to inform, misinform, influence, or misdirect, among other reasons. Sometimes they serve as nothing more than a vehicle for an author to achieve fame, notoriety, and wealth. You should never take at face value the elements of any article you read, but you should be able to:
• Differentiate between fact and opinion
• Recognize and evaluate author bias and rhetoric
• Determine cause-and-effect relationships
• Determine accuracy and completeness of information presented
• Recognize logical fallacies and faulty reasoning
• Compare and contrast information and points of view
• Develop inferential skills
• Make judgments and draw logical conclusions
When writing an article critique, you will need to summarize, evaluate, and offer critical comment on the ideas and information that the author(s) presents in the article.
In your paper, cite any and all information taken from the article or any other references used. Your goal should be to read and understand the article, analyze the findings or arguments, and evaluate and comment on the article.
Remember to include and cite the provided article in the critique paper as well!
Pedota, P. (2007). Strategies for effective classroom management in the secondary setting. The Clearing House, 80(4), 163-166. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/196841282?accountid=3783
Student book:(Chapter 12 & 13)
Be sure to address the following within your article critique:
• What is the issue that the article is specifically addressing? Is this a significant problem or issue related to the concepts and theory in this course? Why or why not?
• What references did the author use in this article?
• Did the article contain research? What data was used? What instruments, if any, were used to collect data?
• What were some of the conclusions, if any, to the research in this article?
• Was the article reliable and valid? Explain.
• Was this article well written? Thoughtful and reflective?
• What were the limitations in this article? Any variables?
• Any other thoughts, comments?
Requirements of submission: Written components of projects must follow these formatting guidelines when applicable: double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and discipline-appropriate citations. Page length should be 3 pages, not including cover page and resources.
Critical Elements Exemplary Proficient Needs Improvement Not Evident Value
Main Elements Includes almost all of the main elements and requirements and cites multiple examples to illustrate each element
(23-25) Includes most of the main elements and requirements and cites many examples to illustrate each element
(20-22) Includes some of the main elements and requirements
(18-19) Does not include any of the main elements and requirements
Quality of Article Critique
Provides an in-depth critique of the main elements; lists and explains examples of bias or faulty reasoning found in the article
(23-25) Critiques the main elements; listsand explains any examples of bias or faulty reasoning found in the article
(20-22) Attempts to critique the main elements and list examples of bias or faulty reasoning found in the article
(18-19) Fails to critique the main elements, does not include any examples of bias or faulty reasoning found in the article
Inquiry and Analysis
Explores multiple issues through extensive collection and in-depth analysis of evidence to make informed conclusions
(14-15) Explores some issues through collection and in-depth analysis of evidence to make informed conclusions
(12-13) Explores minimal issues through collection and analysis of evidence to make informed conclusions
(11) Does not explore issues through collection and analysis of evidence and does not make informed conclusions
Integration and Application All of the course concepts are correctly applied
(9-10) Most of the course concepts are correctly applied
(8) Some of the course concepts are correctly applied
(7) Does not correctly apply any of the course concepts
Research Incorporates many scholarly resources effectively that reflect depth and breadth of research
(14-15) Incorporates some scholarly resources effectively that reflect depth and breadth of research
(12-13) Incorporates very few scholarly resources that reflect depth and breadth of research
(11) Does not incorporate scholarly resources that reflect depth and breadth of research
(Mechanics/Citations) No errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
(9-10) Minor errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
(8) Some errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
(7) Major errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations