Classroom Management Then and Now

La-Shanda WestBlog, Manage Better, Self Care Better


  • Classroom management has changed quite a bit since the days of Harry Wong.
  • Today’s classrooms have shifted physically and philosophically to empower students in their learning.
  • Consider including wellness breaks in an instructional period to allow for meditation, hydration, or socialization.

La-Shanda joined Rae on the Daily Drop In to chat about classroom management and including wellness practices with your students.

Click here to watch!

Harry Wong, Effective Classroom Management

In 2001, one of the leading theorists on classroom management was Harry Wong. According to Wong, starting the first day of the school year with setting guidelines, expectations, and building a routine is the key to effective classroom management. At this time, the classroom structure included the traditional setting. Lined rows, blackboard with chalk, bell to bell academic instruction with limited technology, and a teacher of an authoritarian nature were all aspects of this type of teaching.

Wellness breaks may include meditation, time for hydration, or simply socialization. Click To Tweet

Then and Now: Two Decades Later

Twenty years later, classroom management practices have expanded upon Harry Wong’s philosophy. This includes an active learning environment with wellness practices. Modern classrooms are filled with bright-colored walls, SMART boards, unconventional seating, and wellness breaks are included in the instruction. Classroom management moved from structural control, bell-to-bell instruction to semi-structured classrooms with a more democratic approach.

Several factors caused the modified approach to classroom management.

First, it is progression. Twenty-first-century classrooms should not reflect traditional classrooms of the 1970s. Secondly, student motivation is affected by the structure and energy of the classroom. Next, mental health (i.e. wellness practices) allow students a safe space to express their feelings which lessen the stress of academic pressure.

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Wellness Breaks

Given the last two years of a global pandemic, teachers are seeking effective methods for classroom management. From learning lag and disinterest to the overwhelmingness of returning to brick and mortar, students require a pause in instruction through a wellness break. A wellness break is not a one-size-fits-all. Wellness breaks may include meditation, time for hydration, or simply socialization. Think about it, if you sat in a classroom for 90 to 120 minutes without a wellness break, how would you feel? Could you focus for the entire time? Now add three to four classes where you are sitting all day except for the changing of classes and a lunch break.

Finally, a modified approach to classroom management emphasizes the need to support the health and wellness of students. Finding the right wellness practice for your classroom requires student input. The best approach to classroom management is keeping students’ best interests at the forefront.

About La-Shanda West

La-Shanda West was born in Laurel, Mississippi but raised in Miami, Florida. She attended K-12 schools within the Miami-Dade County Public Schools District who once dreamed of becoming the first female President of the United States when she won 8th grade Student Council Vice President. Seeking political office may come later, for now, La-Shanda uses her teaching network to advocate for safe schools, student-centered classrooms, and women empowerment.

La-Shanda West has served the Miami-Dade County Public Schools District for 20 years teaching secondary social studies. In the past five years, she has taught Cambridge Business AS Level. Her philosophy of teaching, it takes a village to educate the whole child through care, support, and stakeholder involvement. Her leadership experience includes being the iPrep Academy Leader, Leadership Florida Southeast Council Education Chair, Donors Choose Teacher Ambassador, and Bill of Rights Teacher Council. La-Shanda holds a Masters in Reading K-12 from Florida Memorial University, a Historically Black University in South Florida. She earned an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2017.

From 2017-current, La-Shanda is the teacher sponsor for Students Together Against Negative Decision (STAND) and serves Sandy Hook Promise National School Advisory Council. Beside education, leadership, and advocacy, La-Shanda West accolades includes being Florida Chamber Campaign School and Community Leadership Program Certificate of Completion 2021, Veterans Foreign Wars National Citizenship Education Teacher Recognition Award 2021, National Celebrity Educator 2016, Florida Social Studies Beginning Teacher of the Year 2002, Miss Royal Poinciana 1992, and Miss Sunburst 1990.