I have a book out soon, The Truth About Teaching: An Evidence-informed Guide for New Teachers. It’s already available for preorder if you, or someone you know, might like to read it. The first chapter is a brief history of education and then the second chapter, the first time I discuss the art of actually teaching, is about classroom management. Classroom management is that important. It is certainly not sufficient to make good teaching, but without it, all other efforts are hampered, at best, and futile, at worst.
I was therefore dismayed to stumble upon a Twitter thread where a number of people objected to the term ‘classroom management’, apparently on the basis that children are humans rather than problems and so we shouldn’t seek to manage them.
It’s absurd. Nobody objects to the idea that Gareth Southgate is the England football ‘manager’ on the basis that footballers are humans. And we have whole years of professionals who we call ‘managers’ precisely because we expect them to manage human beings. You don’t have to disrespect people in order to manage them; a lot of it is about predicting and responding to their needs.
If it fails to make any logical sense then there must be another reason for the objection. When people attack the term, ‘classroom management’, it is because they object to the idea that it represents. This is a clear manifestation of the progressivist tradition in education that view learning as natural, children as innately good and therefore any unnatural attempt to direct or control them as suspect.
By attacking words, the aim is to take these words away, or at least make them taboo. Once we lack words to describe a thing, it becomes much harder promote it, focus on it, or insist that teachers are educated about it.