these 12 questions and learn more about your classroom management
profile. The steps are simple:
each statement carefully.
your response, from the scale below, on a sheet of
to each statement based upon either actual or imagined
follow the scoring instructions below. It couldn't be
If a student is disruptive during class, I assign him/her
to detention, without further discussion.
I don't want to impose any rules on my students.
The classroom must be quiet in order for students to learn.
I am concerned about both what my students learn and how they
If a student turns in a late homework assignment, it is not
I don't want to reprimand a student because it might hurt
Class preparation isn't worth the effort.
I always try to explain the reasons behind my rules and decisions.
I will not accept excuses from a student who is tardy.
The emotional well-being of my students is more important
than classroom control.
My students understand that they can interrupt my lecture
if they have a relevant question.
If a student requests a hall pass, I always honor the request.
score your quiz,
Add your responses to statements 1, 3, and 9. This is your
score for the authoritarian style.
4, 8 and 11 refer to the authoritative style.
6, 10, and 12 refer to the laissez-faire style.
2, 5, and 7 refer to the indifferent style.
result is your classroom management profile. Your score for
each management style can range from 3 to 15. A high score
indicates a strong preference for that particular style. After
you have scored your quiz, and determined your profile, read
the descriptions of each management style. You may see a little
bit of yourself in each one.
you gain teaching experience, you may find that your preferred
style(s) will change. Over time, your profile may become more
diverse or more focused. Also, it may be suitable to rely
upon a specific style when addressing a particular situation
or subject. Perhaps the successful teacher is one who can
evaluate a situation and then apply the appropriate style.
Finally, remember that the intent of this exercise is to inform
you and arouse your curiosity regarding classroom management
laissez-faire teacher places few demand or controls on the
students. "Do your own thing" describes this classroom. This
teacher accepts the student's impulses and actions and is
less likely to monitor their behavior.
Jones uses a laissez-faire style. He strives to not hurt the
student's feelings and has difficulty saying no to a student
or enforcing rules. If a student disrupts the class, Mr Jones
may assume that he is not giving that student enough attention.
When a student interrupts a lecture, Mr. Jones accepts the
interruption with the belief that the student must surely
have something valuable to add. When he does offer discipline,
it is likely to be inconsistent.
Jones is very involved with his students and cares for them
very much. He is more concerned with the students' emotional
well-being than he is with classroom control. He sometimes
bases classroom decisions on his students feelings rather
than on their academic concerns.
Jones wants to be the students' friend. He may even encourage
contact outside the classroom. He has a difficult time establishing
boundaries between his professional life and his personal
this overindulgent style is associated with students lack
of social competence and self-control. It is difficult for
students to learn socially acceptable behavior when the teacher
is so permissive. With few demands placed upon them, these
students frequently have lower motivation to achieve.
students often like this teacher. A Middle School student
is a pretty popular teacher. You don't have to be serious
throughout the class. But sometimes things get out of control
and we learn nothing at all.
indifferent teacher is not very involved in the classroom.
This teacher places few demands, if any, on the students and
appears generally uninterested. The indifferent teacher just
doesn't want to impose on the students. As such, he/she often
feels that class preparation is not worth the effort. Things
like field trips and special projects are out of the question.
This teacher simply won't take the necessary preparation time.
Sometimes, he/she will use the same materials, year after
classroom discipline is lacking. This teacher may lack the
skills, confidence, or courage to discipline students.
students sense and reflect the teacher's indifferent attitude.
Accordingly, very little learning occurs. Everyone is just
"going through the motions" and killing time. In this aloof
environment, the students have very few opportunities to observe
or practice communication skills. With few demands placed
on them and very little discipline, students have low achievement
motivation and lack self-control.
to one student:
teacher can't control the class and we never learn anything
in there. There is hardly ever homework and people rarely
bring their books.
Johnson is a good example of an indifferent teacher. She uses
the same lesson plans every year, never bothering to update
them. For her, each day is the same. She lectures for the
first twenty minutes of class. Sometimes she will show a film
or a slideshow. When she does, it becomes a substitute for
her lecture, not a supplement. If there is any time left (and
there always is) she allows students to study quietly and
to talk softly. As long as they don't bother her, she doesn't
mind what they do. As far as she is concerned, the students
are responsible for their own education.
authoritative teacher places limits and controls on the students
but simultaneously encourages independence. This teacher often
explains the reasons behind the rules and decisions. If a
student is disruptive, the teacher offers a polite, but firm,
reprimand. This teacher sometimes metes out discipline, but
only after careful consideration of the circumstances.
authoritative teacher is also open to considerable verbal
interaction, including critical debates. The students know
that they can interrupt the teacher if they have a relevant
question or comment. This environment offers the students
the opportunity to learn and practice communication skills.
Smith exemplifies the authoritative teaching style. She exhibits
a warm and nurturing attitude toward the students and expresses
genuine interest and affection. Her classroom abounds with
praise and encouragement. She often writes comments on homework
and offers positive remarks to students. This authoritative
teacher encourages self-reliant and socially competent behavior
and fosters higher achievement motivation. Often, she will
guide the students through a project, rather than lead them.
student reacts to this style:
like this teacher. She is fair and understands that students
can't be perfect. She is the kind of teacher you can talk
to without being put down or feeling embarrassed.
authoritarian teacher places firm limits and controls on the
students. Students will often have assigned seats for the
entire term. The desks are usually in straight rows and there
are no deviations. Students must be in their seats at the
beginning of class and they frequently remain there throughout
the period. This teacher rarely gives hall passes or recognizes
it is quiet. Students know they should not interrupt the teacher.
Since verbal exchange and discussion are discouraged, the
authoritarian's students do not have the opportunity to learn
and/or practice communication skills.
teacher prefers vigorous discipline and expects swift obedience.
Failure to obey the teacher usually results in detention or
a trip to the principal's office. In this classroom, students
need to follow directions and not ask why.
the extreme, the authoritarian teacher gives no indication
that he\she cares for the students. Mr. Doe is a good example
of an authoritarian teacher. His students receive praise and
encouragement infrequently, if at all. Also, he makes no effort
to organize activities such as field trips. He feels that
these special events only distract the students from learning.
After all, Mr. Doe believes that students need only listen
to his lecture to gain the necessary knowledge.
in this class are likely to be reluctant to initiate activity,
since they may feel powerless. Mr. Doe tells the students
what to do and when to do it. He makes all classroom decisions.
Therefore, his style does little to increase achievement motivation
or encourage the setting of personal goals.
Middle-school pupil reacts to this teaching style:
don't really care for this teacher. He is really strict
and doesn't seem to want to give his students a fair chance.
He seems unfair, although that's just his way of getting
his point across.
was released originally as
"Teacher Talk" by Indiana University -
Center for Adolescent Studies .
We owe our thanks to the authors.