Exploring Effective Classroom Management Constraints in EFL Context: A Phenomenological Inquiry


ELT Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


For years, effective classroom management and the constraints which affect teachers’ classroom management have been of much concern to both teachers and teacher educators. Despite such paramount importance, this issue has been far less explored in general and the Iranian EFL context in particular. Therefore, the current study employed a phenomenological inquiry to delve into the constraints which set hurdles in the way of effective classroom management. To that end, 20 Iranian EFL teachers from different branches of the same English Language Institute were selected through purposive sampling and interviewed in person to extract thick and in-depth data. The interviews then were transcribed verbatim and their content was inductively analyzed to let frequent themes emerge. Results of the analysis indicated that four major themes, namely ‘institute-related’, ‘learner-related’, ‘teacher-related’, and ‘social-cultural differences’ frequently manifested. It should be noted that each main theme also comprised several sub-themes. Some stakeholders such as teachers and teacher educators could benefit from the findings to promote the quality of EFL teachers’ classroom management.


Abdullah, M. Y., Bakar, N. R. A., & Mahbob, M. H. (2012). Student’s participation in classroom: What motivates them to speak up?. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 51, 516–522.
ACTFL. (2010). Use of the target language in the classroom. https://www.actfl.org/news/ position-statements
Anthony, T., Kritsonis, W. (2007). A mixed-methods assessment of the effectiveness of strategic e-mentoring in improving theself–efficacy and persistence (or retention) of alternatively certified novice teachers within an inner-city school. District Doctoral Forum National Journal for Publishing and Monitoring Doctoral Student Research, 4(1), 1–8.
Asiyai, R. (2011). Effective classroom management techniques for secondary schools. African Research Review, 5(1), 282–291.
Aydın, B., & Bahçe, A. (2001). Cases from STs. Paper presented at the International ELT Conference-2001 on “Searching for Quality in ELT”. Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazimagusa.
Aydin, B. (2001). Konusma ve yazma derslerinde yabancı dil ogrenimindeki kaygi nedenleri (A study of sources of foreign language classroom anxiety in speaking and writing classes) [Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation].Anadolu Universitesi, Eskisehir.
Aydin, S. (2016). A qualitative research on foreign language teaching anxiety. The Qualitative Report, 21(4), 629–642.
Ayeni, A. J. (2017). Teachers’ classroom management and quality assurance of students’ learning outcome in secondary schools in Ondo State, Nigeria. Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, 4(2), 160–180.
Bandura, A., Caprara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., Gerbino, M., & Pastorelli, C. (2003). Role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychosocial functioning. Child Development, 74(3), 769-782.
Bauman, S., & Del Rio, A. (2006). Preservice teachers’ responses to bullying scenarios: Comparing physical, verbal, and relational bullying. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 219–231.
Berends, M. (2000). Teacher-reported effects of new American school designs: exploring relationships to teacher background and school context. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22, 65–82.
Bol, L., Stephenson, P. L., O’connell, A. A., & Nunnery, J. A. (1998). Influence of experience, grade level, and subject area on teachers’ assessment practices. The Journal of Educational Research, 91(6), 323–330.
Brophy, J. E. (2006). History of research in classroom management. In C. M. Evertson & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of Classroom Management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 17–43.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Brophy, J., & Evertson, C. (1976). Learning from teaching: A developmental perspective. Allyn & Bacon.
Brown, D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. Pearson Longman.
Cleaver, S. (2014). Technology in the classroom: helpful or harmful?.  http://www.education.com/magazine/article/effective-technology-teaching-child/.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education (7th ed.). Routledge.
Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Pearson.
Creswell, J. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Sage.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Sage.
Crowe, C. (2010). Teaching children with challenging behavior. Educational Leadership, 67, 65–67.
Crowley, E. P. (1993). A qualitative analysis of mainstreamed behaviorally disordered aggressive adolescents’ perceptions of helpful and unhelpful teacher attitudes and behaviors. Exceptionality, 4(3), 131–135.
Datnow, A. (2000). Power and politics in the adoption of school reform models. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22(4), 357–374.
Debreli, E., & Ishanova, I. (2019). Foreign language classroom management: Types of student misbehaviour and strategies adapted by the teachers in handling disruptive behaviour. Cogent Education, 6.
Debreli, E. (2016). Pre-service teachers’ belief change and practical knowledge development during the course of practicum. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(7), 37–46.
Debreli, E. (2019). Teacher shadowing as an empowering technique for EFL student teacher practical knowledge development: Insights from three-week shadowing programmes. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 47(4), 432–452.
Delgado-Gaitan, C. (2004). Involving Latino families in schools: Raising student achievement through. Corwin.
Dias-Lacy, S. M., & Guirguis, R. V. (2017). Challenges for new teachers and ways of coping with them. Journal of Education and Learning , 6(3), 265–272.
Dick, R. V., & Wagner, U. (2001). Stress and strain in teaching: A structural equation approach. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 243–259.
Evertson, C. M., Emmer, E. T., Sanford, J. P., & Clements, B. S. (1983). Improving classroom management: An experiment in elementary school classrooms. The Elementary School Journal, 84(2), 173–188.
Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S. (2006). Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Evertson, C. M., Emmer, E. T., & Worsham, M. E. (2006). Classroom management for elementary teachers. Pearson/A and B.
Feldman, S. (2003). Values, ideology, and the structure of political attitudes. In L. H. D. O. Sears (Ed.), Handbook of political psychology (pp. 477–508). Oxford University Press.
Gilavand, A., & Jamshidnezhad A. (2016). The effect of noise in educational institutions on learning and academic achievement of elementary students in Ahvaz, south west of Iran. International Journal of Pediatrics, 4(3),1453–63
Guardino, C., & Fullerton E. K. (2010). Changing behaviors by changing the environment: A case study of an inclusion classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42, 8–13.
Guba, E. G. (1981). Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 29(2), 75-91.
Henson, R. K. (2001). Understanding internal consistency reliability estimates: A conceptual primer on coefficient alpha. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34(3), 177–189.
Houghton, S., Wheldall, K., Jude, R., & Sharp, A. (1990). The effects of limited private reprimands and increased private praise on classroom behavior in four British Secondary school classes. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 60(3), 255–265.
Howe, D. (2005). Child abuse and neglect: Attachment, development and intervention. Macmillan Education.
Huang, J. (2005). Metacognition training in the Chinese university Classroom: An action research study. Educational Action Research, 13(3), 413–434.
Ingersoll, R. M. (1996). Teachers’ decision-making power and school conflict. Sociology of Education, 69(2), 159–176.
Ingersoll, R. M. (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 37(3), 499–534.
Jones, V. F., Jones, L. S. (2012). Comprehensive classroom management, creating communities of support and solving problems (10th ed.). Pearson.
Judge, T. A., Thoresen, C. J., Bono, J. E., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job satisfaction–job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376–407.
Kapur, R. (2018). Impact of classroom management on students behaviour. https://www.researchgate.net.
Kayıkçı, K. (2009). The effect of classroom management skills of elementary school teachers on undesirable discipline behavior of students. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 1215–1225.
Khan, P., & Iqbal, M. (2012). Overcrowded classroom: A serious problem for teachers. University of Science and Information Technology, 49, 10162–
Kohut, S., Jr., & Range, D. G. (1986). Classroom discipline: Case studies and viewpoints. National Education Association.
Kokkinos, C. M. (2007). Job stressors, personality and burnout in primary school teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology teachers., 77(1), 229–243.
Lakshmi, V. (2010). Classroom management in integrated school setup. International Journal of Education Science, 2(2), 95–102.
Lewis, R. (2001). Classroom discipline and student responsibility: The students’ view. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 307–319.
Lewis, R., & Burman, E. (2008). Providing for student voice in classroom management: Teachers’ views. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12(2), 151–167.
Lewis, R., Roache, J., & Romi, S. (2011). Coping styles as mediators of classroom management techniques. Research in Education, 85, 53–68.
Lewis, R., Romi, S., Qui, X., & Katz, Y. (2005). Teachers’ classroom management and student misbehavior in Australia, China and Israel. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 729–741.
Linse, C., & Nunan, D. (2005). Practical English language teaching. McGraw-Hill.
Littlewood, W., & Yu, B. (2009). First language and target language in the foreign language classroom. Language Teaching, 44(1), 64-77.
Malik, S. K., Rehman, S., & Chaudhari, A. (2011). Teaching in multicultural classroom- assessing current programs of teachers’ training in Pakistan. International Journal of Education and Development, 1(1), 32–52.
Malmir, A., & Bagheri, M. (2019). Instructors and learners’ attitudes about English for science and technology: Learning and target needs of mechanical engineering students. Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes (IJEAP), 8(1), 17–34.
Marashi, H., & Assgar, F. (2019). EFL teachers’ effective management and learners’ anxiety and learning strategies. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 7(2), 65–82.
Marzano, R. (2011). Classroom management: Whose job is it?. Educational Leadership, 69(2), 85-86.
Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. J. (2003). Classroom management that works. VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Mastrilli, T., & Sardo-Brown, D. (2002). Novice teachers’ cases: A vehicle for reflective. A vehicle for reflective practice. Education, 123(1), 56.
McCormack, A. (1994). The implementation of a classroom management system by preservice physical education teachers: The effect of the practicum [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). Jossey Bass.
Miri, M., Alibakhshi, G., & Mostafaei-Alaei, M. (2017). Reshaping teacher cognition about L1 use through critical ELT teacher education. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 14(1), 58–98.
Moustakas, C. E. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Sage Publications, Inc.
OECD. (2015). The ABC of gender equality in education: Aaptitude, behaviour, confidence. OECD Publishing.
Oliver, R. M., Wehby, J. H., & Nelson, J. R. (2015). Helping teachers maintain classroom management practices using a self-monitoring checklist. Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 113–120.
Pagano, K., & Langley, D. J. (2011). Teacher perspectives on the role of exercise as a management tool in physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 21, 57–74.
Pianta, R. C. (2006). Classroom management and relationships between children and teachers: Implications for research and practice. In C. M. (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 685–709). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Qinglan, L., Junyan, W., & Shongshan, H. (2010). Effective classroom management in young learners English teaching.
Randi, J. (2004). Teachers as self-regulated learners. Teacher College Record, 106(9), 1825–1853.
Rogers, B. (2015). Classroom behaviour: A practical guide to effective teaching, behaviour management and colleague support. Sage.
Salehizadeh, S., Shabani, M., & Malmir, A. (2020). Professionalism: The perceptions of Iranian English teachers of competence and performance in language teaching. Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9(1), 1–14.
Salkovsky, M. , Romi, S. , & Lewis R. (2015). Teachers’ coping styles and factors inhibiting teachers’ preferred classroom management practice. Teaching and teacher Education, 48(1), 56–65.
Sasidher, K., Vanaja, S., & Parimalavenu, V. (2012). Effective strategies for classroom management in ELT. Scholarly Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1(3), 421–428.
Sezer, S. (2017). Novice teachers’ opinions on students’ disruptive behaviours: A case study. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 17(69), 199–219.
Shernoff, E. S., & Kratochwill, T. R. (2007). Transporting an evidence-based classroom management program for preschoolers with disruptive behavior problems to an analysis of implementation, outcomes, and contextual variables. School Psychology Quarterly, 22(4), 449–472.
Stough, L. M., Montague, M. L, Landmark, L. M., & Williams-Diehm, K. L. (2015). Persistent classroom management training needs of experienced teachers. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(5), 36–48.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Sage.
Sultana, A. M., & Rashid, S. N. B. (2013). A study on time management and punctuality issues among students at secondary school, Kedah. American Journal of Economics, 3(5), 52–56.
Trussell, R. P. (2008). Classroom universals to prevent problem behaviors. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43, 179–185.
Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher Efficacy: Capturing an Elusive Construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(6), 783–805.
Turner, J.C., Meyer, D. K., & Schweinle, A. (2003). The importance of emotion in theories of motivation: Empirical, methodological, and theoretical considerations from a goal theory perspective. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(4-5), 375–393.
Uysal, H., Urcak, F., Tepetas, G., & Akman, B. (2014). Preschool education and primary school pre-service teachers’ perceptions about classroom management. International Journal of Instruction, 7(2),165–180.
Victor, K. R. (2005). Identifying effective behaviour management in the early childhood classroom [Unpublished Master Thesis]. Cedarville University.
Warschauer, M. (2007). The paradoxical future of digital learning. Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 41–49.
Warschauer, M., Zheng, B., Niiya, M., Cotten, S., & Farkas, G. (2014). Balancing the one-to-one equation: Equity and access in three laptop programs. Equity & Excellence in Education, 47(1), 46–62.
Wiggins, G. (1989). A true test. Phi Delta Kappan, 70(9), 703–713.
Wolfgang, C. H. (2005). Solving discipline problems: Strategies for classroom teachers. Ally and Bacon.
Woolfolk Hoy, A. E., & Weinstein, C. S. (2006). Student and teacher perspectives in classroom management. In C. M. Evertson (Ed.), Handbook of classroom Management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 685–709). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Woolfolk, A. E., & Hoy, W. K. (1990). Prospective teachers’ sense of efficacy and beliefs about control. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(1), 81–91.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In P. R. M. Boekaerts (Ed.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp.13–39). Academic Press.