Classroom Management Styles

PHY 311, Autumn 2004

ISU Physics Teacher Education Program

Copyright 1998 Carl J. Wenning


There are a number of management styles that both parents and teachers exhibit. There have been a number of psychological studies of parenting styles that naturally would appear to extent to classroom management styles for teachers. I hypothesize that such a relationship exists. Classroom management styles of teachers can be characterized along two dimensions (Baumrind, 1971): type of control exercised over students, and degree of involvement of teachers with students. The extremes of these two dimensions allow teacher management of students to be readily identified.

Control can run the gambit from high in which teachers explicitly "lay down the law" and very strictly enforce it, to low in which the teachers have no rules and no expectations for their students. Involvement, likewise, can range from high to low. High involvement is characteristic of teachers who have high regard for students, likes students, enjoy being around students, and want to see students do their best. On the other hand, low involvement shows a real lack of both regard and concern for students.

The classroom management styles of teachers can be readily identified on the basis of both degree of control and level of involvement. The nature of each management style can be identified from the chart below.


 High Involvement

 Low Involvment

High Control



 Low Control



According to Baumrind (1971), the authoritative style encourages independence, is warm and nurturing, control occurs along with explanation, and adolescents are permitted to express their views.The authoritative approach is the best form of classroom management style because it is the one most closely associated with appropriate student behaviors.

These four styles represent extremes, and most teachers demonstrate a certain degree of inconsistency in their use of styles.

Research has shown that the type of management style used results in characteristic behaviors.


What sort of classroom management style will you exhibit once you begin teaching?

Which style is most consistent with your personality?

Would you feel comfortable with this style?

High might you work to achieve changes if you don't like what you see?

The ideas for this article were taken from: Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monographs, 4(1).

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