Effective Learning Environment

Definition of Learning Conditions  

The goal for all teachers is to provide effective instruction that leads to student learning.  However, that goal is greatly dependent upon having a safe and supportive environment in which teachers can teach and students can learn.  Without such an environment instructional and learning time is lost.  An effective classroom envrionment for teaching and learning can be created by the teacher for maximizing the dedicated time for instruction and learning. Key variables include effective curriculum planning, systemic assessment, effective strategies for delivering instruction and classroom procedures for preventing and responding to student problem behavior (Colvin & Lazar, 1997). Once these components are in place instructional time can increase and learning time maximized with minimal problem behavior.

One of the most disturbing trends facing educators today is that less time is spent on actual instruction in the classroom.  Researchers have reported the following findings:

  • Teachers spend anywhere from 40 to 75% of available instructional time in activities other than instruction.
  • Students spend as little as 17% of their classroom time successfully engaged in academic tasks.
  • A typical intermediate grade level averaged 38 minutes of instruction out of a three-hour period.     

Walker, Colvin & Ramsey, The Effective Elementary Classroom, 1995 


School-wide to Classroom Learning Environments

For information on implementing Positive Behavior Intervention and Support in your district, school and classroom click here.

Building Effective Classroom Management

R. Horner, G. Sugai, C.Dickey, Modified by P. Hallvik

University of Oregon & University of Connecticut - OESP TA Center PBIS, www.pbis.org

Creating optimal learning conditions requires building effective classroom management. To achieve this requires:

  • Extending school-wide expectations to classrooms
  • Classroom behavior support practices blend, and are supported by school-wide systems and practices
  • Joining classroom systems and practices to promote academic gains with classroom practices to promote behavioral gains
  • Create a classroom environment that is predictable, consistent, positive, and promotes student independent behavior (reduce prompts)


12 Steps to Building Effective Classroom Management (Horner, Sugai, Dickey)


Classroom Management Assessment


Classroom Management Checklist






  • Colvin, G., & Lazar, M. (1997).  The Effective Elementary Classroom: Managing for Success.  Longmont, CO:  Sopris West.
  • Colvin, G. Sugai, G. & Patching, W. (1993). Pre-correction:  An Instructional Strategy for Managing Predictable Behavior Problems. Intervention in School and Clinic, 28, 143-150.
  • Colvin, G. (2004).  Managing the Cycle of Acting-Out Behavior in the Classroom.  Eugene, OR: Behavior Associates.
  • Darch, C.B., & Kameenui, E.J. (2003).  Instructional  Classroom Management: A Proactive Approach to Behavior Management. (2nd ed.). Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.
  • Wong, H. K. & Wong, R.T. (1998). The First Days of School:  How to be an Effective Teacher.  Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.
  • Kameenui, E.J., & Carnine, D.W. (2002).  Effective Teaching Strategies That Accommodate Diverse Learners (2nd ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
  • Jones, V.F. & Jones, L.S. (2001).  Comprehensive Classroom Management:  Creating Communities of Support and Solving Problems (6th ed.). Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.
  • Martella, R.C., Nelson, J.R. & Marchand-Martella, N.E. (2003).  Managing Disruptive Behaviors in the Schools:  A Schoolwide, Classroom, and Individualized Social Learning Approach.  Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon.
  • Paine, S.C., Radicchi, J., Rosellini, L.C., Deutchman, L., & Darch, C.B. (1993).  Structuring Your Classroom for Academic Success.  Champaign, IL:  Research Press.
  • Fay, J. & Funk, D. (1995).  Teaching with Love & Logic:  Taking Control of the Classroom. Golden, CO:  The Love & Logic Press, Inc.
  • Knoster, T. (2008).  The Teacher’s Pocket Guide for Effective Classroom Management.  Baltimore, MD:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. 
  • Snow, David R. (2005).  Classroom Strategies for Helping At-Risk Students. Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Aurora, CO:  Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.
  • The Effective Elementary Classroom (book or video), Geoff Colvin - www.sopriswest.com
  • Effective Classroom Management, Tim Knoster - www.brookespublishing.com