How Novice and Expert Teachers Approach Classroom Management Differently (2023)

In the study, researchers asked 39 novice and expert teachers—school leaders and mentors in charge of training new teachers—to watch video clips of a high school classroom. In each video, an educator could be observed giving instructions or walking through the class while students worked. During each video, a disruptive event would occur, ranging from students talking loudly to students refusing to participate in the lesson. The teachers in the study provided feedback on the events in the classroom, critiqued the observed teacher’s own classroom management strategies, and offered their own solutions.

Here’s how expert teachers approached classroom management—plus six teacher-tested strategies to make changes in your own classroom this year.


While both novice and expert teachers relied on reactive strategies to address student misbehavior—for example, by giving a reprimand like “Eyes on me!” if students were being disruptive—expert teachers were far more likely to consider how proactive strategies could have prevented the misbehavior in the first place.

New teachers tended to view classroom management narrowly, as a way to respond directly to disciplinary problems, while expert teachers had a “more comprehensive understanding of classroom management and its complexity,” the researchers found—conceiving of discipline in the broader context of how lessons were organized and executed, how clearly the teacher communicated expectations, and even how the physical environment was arranged.


Expert teachers were more adept at interpreting the causes and influences behind student behavior. If students weren’t paying attention, for example, inexperienced teachers were more likely to focus solely on correcting behavior, while expert teachers entertained the idea that the behaviors were situational and sought strategies to improve the learning environment to short-circuit future disruptions.

(Video) A Different Approach To Classroom Management

Compared with novice teachers, experienced teachers tended to have a “more elaborate and interconnected” understanding of student misbehavior, forming a holistic picture of their students.


Establishing a set of rules and then demanding compliance doesn’t work, especially with older students. Eventually, expert teachers come to see the classroom as an ecosystem involving a delicate balance between teacher authority and student autonomy. “They viewed student behavior in the context of teacher behavior, thinking about reasons and solutions” instead of overemphasizing “order and discipline.”

Sometimes when students act out they are merely exhibiting normal, healthy developmental behaviors. For the most experienced teachers, a healthy classroom is one in which students are allowed some reasonable leeway in their behaviors and are taught how to think of others and regulate themselves.


All teachers made efforts to monitor the room, but expert teachers were more proficient, often because they also had greater positional awareness, making sure that they occupied locations where students—and student work—would be in view. For example, one teacher noted that he frequently “walks through the rows and looks at what they (students) are doing”—a common strategy to ensure that students are on task when doing independent work.

Expert teachers were also mindful of how their body language, facial expressions, presence, and ability to control their own emotions affected the emotional state of their students.

(Video) Behaviour Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know

“Emotions are contagious, and when a teacher is able to model a calm presence through their tone, facial expression, and posture, students are less likely to react defensively,” writes Lori Desautels, a professor of education at Butler University. Work to project enthusiasm, and try to keep cool if at all possible.


“Successful classroom management requires the adaptive application of a repertoire of different strategies,” the researchers explain. If a student is acting out because they’re having a bad day, that’s going to require a different approach than if they’re frustrated by the difficulty of a lesson or are confused by the instructions—researchers discovered that the latter issues account for 20 percent of classroom misbehavior, according to a separate 2018 study.

As teachers become more experienced, they undergo a “shift in perspective” from “seeing parts versus seeing the whole,” the researchers report. While novice teachers relied more on routines and consequences, essentially following a script when it came to managing students’ behavior, expert teachers had “adaptive expertise” that allowed them to draw from a variety of strategies depending on the context.


1. Plan your environment. Your classroom plays a key role in shaping the behavior of your students. A 2018 study, for example, found that heavily decorated classrooms made it harder for students to focus on a lesson, leading to off-task or disruptive behavior. While certain visual elements of the classroom can support learning—anchor charts, maps, images of role models, and displays of student work, for example—an overabundance of decorations can overstimulate.

Seating plans also matter: A 2012 study found that students were three times more likely to be disruptive if they chose their own seat rather than being assigned one. If you’re going to offer seating choice—many teachers say it ultimately improves classroom behavior—consider doing so only situationally, and provide clear rules to let students know the consequences of frequent misbehavior.

(Video) Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection | Tesia Marshik | TEDxUWLaCrosse

2. Co-create norms. A common classroom management mistake is to display a list of rules and expect compliance. It can be more productive to have a conversation with your students about the reasons why rules exist, and then produce a set of governing principles by consensus. In California, high school English teacher David Tow instills a sense of shared responsibility and ownership over the classroom’s civility by co-creating classroom norms with his students. Together, they identify guidelines like being respectful of others, and then they evaluate the guidelines’ feasibility throughout the year, discarding the ones that don’t seem valuable, meaningful, or useful.

3. It’s not one size fits all. Find ways to measure the size of the problem, and respond accordingly. When a student misbehaves, Grace Dearborn, a high school teacher and the author of Conscious Classroom Management, has developed a series of tiered choices framed “as consequences, not punishments” to give students more autonomy. For example, low-level misbehavior might receive a “gentle” response, such as using nonverbal hand signals to encourage students to pay attention, or Dearborn might try “drive-by discipline,” like saying the child’s name quickly to disrupt the behavior without getting drawn into a bigger battle.

Consequences are clear to the students and increase in intensity if the misbehavior persists: Students may be asked to change seats or take a time-out to reflect on their actions. Ultimately, the most severe consequences—detention or a meeting with parents—are used if the student’s behavior doesn’t change.

4. Consider what’s unspoken. Nonverbal communication like eye contact, body language, and even how you position yourself in the room has an impact on student behavior.

(Video) Differentiating Instruction: It’s Not as Hard as You Think

“Presence is crucial to maintaining classroom management and to effective delivery of instruction, and it’s a skill we can develop with effort,” explains Sol Henik, a high school teacher. Develop your teaching presence—you can record yourself while you’re teaching or solicit advice from trusted colleagues—circulate in areas where you can see and be seen, and make productive use of eye contact, not as a tool for surveillance but as a way to connect with your students, project confidence and accessibility, and build rapport.

5. Relationships, relationships, relationships. Ultimately, classroom management begins and ends with strong relationships. A 2018 study found that greeting students at the door set a positive tone for the rest of the day—for example, dramatically improving academic engagement and behavior. Another study concluded that engaging in prosocial activities throughout the school year—such as regular check-ins or morning meetings—can reduce disruptions by up to 75 percent.

Finally, learning a little about students’ personal lives through get-to-know-you surveys and identity activities can provide insights into the root causes of behavior. Students can draw their own “identity portraits” to share both visible and invisible details about themselves, like religion, ethnicity, or the hobbies they enjoy. You can also use writing prompts like “What inspires you?” or “What dreams do you have for after high school?” to mine information you can use to deepen relationships and connect classroom lessons to students’ interests.

6. Pick your battles (but do battle when you have to). Students who are frequently the target of negative attention—being called out if they’re not paying attention or are chatting with another student, for example—are more likely to become disengaged and apathetic, which leads to more behavioral issues in the future, according to a 2016 study. Don’t try to fix all misbehavior in your classroom—pick your battles, avoid escalating the situation if you can, and remember that the most effective classroom management strategies are based on building relationships and increasing engagement with the content.


What is the difference between an expert teacher and a novice teacher? ›

Differences in focus included themes such as student learning, student discipline, and teacher interaction and influence. Experts focused on learning in the classroom and the teacher's ability to influence learning, whereas novices were more concerned with maintaining discipline and behavioral norms.

How do expert teachers help other teachers in improving their teaching practices? ›

They can work collaboratively, sharing videos of their teaching within their professional learning communities. These communities can help them to identify successes and challenges, and provide feedback and suggestions for how to adapt the modelled instruction for their own classroom contexts.

How do you answer classroom management questions? ›

Routines create structure and a feeling of security for students, so they are less likely to act out. Talking about how you will actually stop problems before they start is a simple and effective way to answer that loaded classroom management question.

How do you handle different ability levels in the classroom? ›

Here are 5 ways you can address the wide range of skills and abilities children demonstrate throughout the day.
  1. Offer choices. ...
  2. Plan for possibilities. ...
  3. Empower children to document their learning. ...
  4. Encourage community support. ...
  5. Provide a variety of learning materials.
8 Mar 2021

How do a novice and an expert learner differ? ›

Expert knowledge is chunked and organized hierarchically (around basic principles), while novice knowledge is more randomly organized (they don't have the expertise to connect new information they learn to something they already know).

What is the difference between novice and expert learning? ›

Thus when novices learn, they see the new information as more or less random data points. By contrast, when experts learn, they immediately categorize the new information and plug it into the appropriate part of their mental model of the discipline.

How do expert teachers differ from effective teachers? ›

Expert teachers are very much acquainted with the concerned subjects . They are more efficient in planning and more selective in information processing than the novice teachers. The expert teachers are having the capacity to improvise and respond to the needs of the students and manage the classroom very quickly.

How do you build expertise knowledge and necessary skills of teachers and students? ›

Here are the top teaching skills:
  1. Communication. A huge part of teaching is communicating information. ...
  2. Patience. People learn at all different rates. ...
  3. Creativity. People learn best when they're doing something fun and interesting. ...
  4. Enthusiasm. ...
  5. Confidence. ...
  6. Dedication. ...
  7. Conflict resolution. ...
  8. Organisation.

How can a teacher improve his her skills in classroom management? ›

How to Improve Your Classroom Management: A Beginner's Guide
  • Get to Know Your Students. Strong personal relationships with your students will form the backbone of a well-run classroom. ...
  • Prepare Lessons in Advance. ...
  • Make Learning Hands-On. ...
  • Use Praise as a Reward. ...
  • Minimize Reprimanding. ...
  • Follow the Lead.
4 Jun 2020

How would you describe your classroom management style answer? ›

Share Examples With the Interviewer

The best way to illustrate your classroom management style is to describe specific examples from your past experience. Even if this interview is for your first teaching position, you probably have experience as a student teacher.

What is the best way to have successful classroom management? ›

Try these effective classroom management strategies with your students to become a happier, more effective teacher.
  1. Model ideal behavior. ...
  2. Let students help establish guidelines. ...
  3. Document rules. ...
  4. Avoid punishing the class. ...
  5. Encourage initiative. ...
  6. Offer praise. ...
  7. Use non-verbal communication. ...
  8. Hold parties.
23 Dec 2021

How do we manage or handle individual differences in the classroom? ›

Amer E.
  • Differentiate instruction. ...
  • Capitalize on learning styles. ...
  • Incorporate multiple intelligences into curriculum. ...
  • Capitalize on student interests. ...
  • Involve students in educational goals. ...
  • Use computerized instruction. ...
  • Group students effectively. ...
  • Consider outside placement options.
4 Nov 2015

How do you deal with different types of learners? ›

Accommodating Different Learning Styles: 3 Tips to Guide You
  1. Know the Different Learning Styles in Your Class. Take a moment and visualize an ordinary kindergarten classroom. ...
  2. Provide an Uncommon Experience. ...
  3. Let Them Work at Their Own Pace and Use a Multisensory Approach.

What are different techniques that a teacher can use to teach students with mixed abilities? ›

How to Teach Mixed Ability Classes
  • Structure your lessons so that activities have more open-ended possibilities. ...
  • Create ongoing activities. ...
  • Use level-specific material. ...
  • Communicate equally with the whole class. ...
  • Use positive pair-work.

How should teachers handle novice and expert learners in the classroom so that they both develop metacognitive thinking skills? ›

This is Expert Verified Answer

Teach students how their brains are wired for growth. ... Give students practice recognizing what they don't understand. ... Use a "wrapper" to increase students' monitoring skills. ... Consider essay vs.

What is the importance of novice and expert learners in learning? ›

Novices find flexible knowledge much more difficult to acquire – while experts tend to find flexible knowledge more useful and seek it out.

What are the differences between experts and novices in the following areas a schema? ›

They tend to work from the known to the unknown. The expert has solved many similar problems and recalls schemas easily. The novice, on the other hand, tends to work backwards. They begin with the unknown in the problem and try to use trial and error or incomplete schemas to solve it.

What is novice approach? ›

Novices approach problems with strategies that are based primarily on concrete information, and then they use more and more abstract reasoning as they gain more expertise.

What is the difference between novice and beginner? ›

Novice is someone new at performing—-doing—something: somewhat educated or not clueless. A beginner is someone who is basically clueless—-no clue at all—-and has not yet achieved any experience for the activity being deliberated.

What is it called when you have a novice and an expert work together on a project to help bring the experts approach to light? ›

What is it called when you have a novice and an expert work together on a project to help bring the expert's approach to light? Joint problem solving.

What makes a teacher an expert teacher? ›

An expert teacher listens to students and asks questions to help them make sense of their own understanding of key ideas. Sometimes listening to students' reasoning as they solve problems tells you more about their understanding than a quiz or test grade.

What is the importance of classroom management in the teaching and learning process? ›

Classroom management systems are effective because they increase student success by creating an orderly learning environment that enhances students' academic skills and competencies, as well as their social and emotional development.

What characteristics make an expert good teacher? ›

Top 5 Qualities of Effective Teachers, According to Teachers
  • Ability to develop trusting, productive relationships. The most frequent response is that a great teacher develops relationships with students. ...
  • Patient, caring, kind. ...
  • Knowledge of learners. ...
  • Dedication to teaching. ...
  • Subject matter knowledge.

What is the most important contribution that a teacher can make in the classroom? ›

Dedication. One of the most important parts of teaching is having dedication. Teachers not only listen, but also coach and mentor their students. They are able to help shape academic goals and are dedicated to getting their students to achieve them.

Why is it important for teachers to increase their knowledge and develop personal and professional skills? ›

The more professional development teachers get, the more likely students are to succeed. Whether it is a workshop, a conference, or a meeting, all new teachers should take part in some form of professional development to set themselves up for success.

How can teachers improve their knowledge in teaching? ›

Learn about new theories which can provide useful information about how people learn best; Learn about new teaching strategies and techniques which can be actually implemented in the classroom; Improve the way they differentiate instruction in order to meet the individual learning needs of each student.

What are the classroom management skills a teacher should have? ›

Read on to learn about some practical and effective strategies.
  • Build an authoritative personality. ...
  • Know your subject well. ...
  • Involve students to create classroom guidelines. ...
  • Make room for initiatives. ...
  • Set learning expectations before each lecture. ...
  • Incorporate Interactive Teaching techniques. ...
  • Schedule fun activities.
6 Dec 2021

What things do teachers need to consider in managing the class? ›

The 5 Priorities of Classroom Management
  • Developing effective working relationships with students.
  • Training students on how learning takes place in your classroom.
  • Protecting and leveraging time.
  • Anticipating student behaviors in well-written lesson plans.
  • Establishing standards of behavior that promote student learning.
2 Sept 2016

What kind of classroom management does the teacher practice? ›

There are four styles of classroom management: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and indulgent. They range from the teacher having very strong control and less student involvement to the teacher having less control and more student involvement.

What is an expert teacher? ›

An expert teacher listens to students and asks questions to help them make sense of their own understanding of key ideas. Sometimes listening to students' reasoning as they solve problems tells you more about their understanding than a quiz or test grade.

What is a novice teacher? ›

Novice teachers are in their first year of teaching with little or no prior teaching experience. Novices are required to participate in the Induction and Mentoring Program unless exempted by their principal. Novices meet weekly with their mentor(s) regarding lesson plans, management, instruction, etc.

What is the meaning of expert teacher? ›

Expert teachers are aware of what they are doing; they monitor and adjust their teaching behaviours to bring out the best in their students. One of the reasons that teaching is a complex business is because it revolves around decision making.

What characteristics separates novice teachers from expert teachers? ›

According to research on expertise development, what characteristic separates novice teachers from expert teachers? ANSWER: d) Expert teachers are critical thinkers; they evaluate their conclusions through logical and systematic examination of the problem, the evidence, and the solution.

How do you have good classroom management? ›

7 Habits of Highly Effective Classroom Management
  1. Set the Tone. Don't just stay at your desks before class begins; stand near the door of your classroom and greet kids as they enter. ...
  2. Jump Right In. Good managers start class right away. ...
  3. Establish the Rules. ...
  4. Have a Plan. ...
  5. Involve Your Kids. ...
  6. Respect Your Kids. ...
  7. Keep It Fair.

What characteristics make an expert good teacher? ›

Top 5 Qualities of Effective Teachers, According to Teachers
  • Ability to develop trusting, productive relationships. The most frequent response is that a great teacher develops relationships with students. ...
  • Patient, caring, kind. ...
  • Knowledge of learners. ...
  • Dedication to teaching. ...
  • Subject matter knowledge.

Why is classroom management important in teaching? ›

Classroom management systems are effective because they increase student success by creating an orderly learning environment that enhances students' academic skills and competencies, as well as their social and emotional development.

How should a novice teacher help? ›

Tips for Supporting New Teachers
  1. Introduce yourself and explain what you can offer to the novice teacher. ...
  2. Ask to observe a class, but bring specific literacy strategies and resources with you. ...
  3. Never give the impression that your goal is to show the novice teacher how teaching is done.
5 Sept 2017

What does novice mean in education? ›

Definition. In novice learning a person is learning content about which he/she does not hold any previous knowledge or experience.

What is novice in learning? ›

A novice learner is someone who has no specific knowledge about a topic. They lack any knowledge related to the topic and also lack any exposure to similar topics that may apply to the area they are learning about.

What lessons can be learned from an expert teacher? ›

Here are 10 life lessons you can learn from teachers:
  • Hard Work Pays Off.
  • Give Respect, Get Respect.
  • Teamwork Brings Great Reward.
  • Always Make Smart Decisions.
  • We Can't Control Everything.
  • Change is Inevitable.
  • You Can Become Anything You Want.
  • Always Stay True to Yourself.
23 May 2016

Is effective teaching different from expert teaching? ›

Expert teachers are more effective scanners of classroom behavior, make greater references to the language of instruction and learning of students, whereas experienced teachers concentrate more on what the teacher is doing and saying to the class and novices concentrate more on student behavior.

How can you help develop expert teachers? ›

Ways to develop expert teachers
  • Students engage in a review of content.
  • Students work individually or in small groups to generate hypothesis.
  • Teacher is a facilitator and resource provider.

How can you handle novice and expert learners in the classroom? ›

This is Expert Verified Answer

Teach students how their brains are wired for growth. ... Give students practice recognizing what they don't understand. ... Use a "wrapper" to increase students' monitoring skills. ... Consider essay vs.

What separates a good teacher from a great one? ›

A Good Teacher is the one who explains once. A Great Teacher is the one who explains again and again until she is sure her purpose has been served. Good Teacher teaches. A great Teacher forms strong relationship with students and show that they care about them as people.

What are the different characteristics of the 21st century teachers explain? ›

They: Have a deep understanding of their individual content and connect their content area to authentic global issues and perspectives. Understand and stay up-to-date on current world events, international issues, and global debates and help students gain understanding of these through daily interactions.


1. How much problem-based learning should we be doing with our students?
2. Differentiated Instruction
(Institute of Education Sciences)
3. Lara Alcock -- Investigating and Improving Proof Comprehension.
(Teaching and Learning Mathematics Online)
4. Safe, Familiar, Student-Centric — An Emergency Guide to Remote Teaching for Novices
(Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab J-WEL)
5. Using Classroom Observations to Measure Teacher Effectiveness
(Institute of Education Sciences)
6. Dr. Susan Ambrose - Seven Research Based Principles for Smart Teaching
(PLNU Media Services)
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