01/31/2014 10:08 pm ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

Future Trends in K-12 Classroom Management and Discipline

Classroom management is all about the balance between learning within the classroom and discipline. Today, various trends are currently popular. Strategies that come to mind include Wong's Pragmatic Classroom, which stresses the need to define expectations for students, and Canter's Behavior Management Cycle, which emphasizes a distinct discipline model.

So far, though, despite the range of strategies and their fluctuating popularity, all strategies applied to date have their pros and cons, their various strengths and weaknesses.

Above all, there is an increased importance applied to classroom management these days. A relatively new open-mindedness also applies to classroom discipline strategies (the recognition that it is not, after all, better to punish the child for inattention or some indiscretion).

What does this point to? Inevitably, there are several trends to be aware of:

• We are likely to see an increase in success for one strategy or another. Existing strategies for classroom management and discipline approaches tend to be, in general, quite effective. Inevitably, there is also the need to make some allowances for teaching style. Some teachers excel with one approach to classroom management and discipline. Others prefer alternative methods. While this is unlikely to change because it is unlikely that there will be a single strategy deemed more effective than the rest, we can be fairly sure that the handful of top recommended strategies will see an increase. We should see an increase in their strengths and a corresponding reduction in weaknesses as overall efficiency and effectiveness are improved.

• Because of the increased use of technology in the classroom, we can certainly expect to see more of an integration of technology within the classroom, in part as a management approach but perhaps also as a discipline approach. Teachers may well find means of applying technology. Whether it is some sort of integrated system used via a system like the iPad (with more and more public school classrooms enjoying access to this type of technology) or some online database for monitoring student behavior in class will depend on the circumstances. It is likely that teachers will have increased scope to experiment, very likely knowing ten or fifteen years down the line precisely which of these various resource types is likely to be the most effective.

• With a bit of luck, although this trend is less certain, teachers may well also see a greater transfer of learning responsibility to the child. A further advantage of the integration of technology to the classroom is the increase in scope for independent activity among children. In many other areas of school life (for instance, library use and general self-care areas), children are already encouraged to take a lead, to the effect that they learn relevant skills faster and that much more effectively. Very likely, teachers will have means of encouraging students to be more independent in their discipline -- in their self-discipline -- and, depending on the way in which curriculum and standards develop, perhaps also in terms of how they go about learning within the classroom, moving from task to task and perhaps even having independence in their learning choices.

One thing is for sure though -- we can expend change to classroom management and discipline strategies in public education classrooms. We may not have the full story yet on what is likely to happen five to ten years down the road, but we have some signs of change, some definite evidence of the types of shifts. How exactly these individual shifts play out? Only time will tell.

Dr. Matthew Lynch is the author of the recently released book, The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching. To order it via Amazon, please click on the following link.