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Autocratic Approach to Classroom Management

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Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How can the way that teachers teach influence classroom management? In this lesson, we'll look at autocratic teaching strategies, including what they are, their pros and cons, and how they impact classroom management. Updated: 06/23/2021

Classroom Management

Sunita is a teacher at a high school, and she's worried about how to help her students learn. She wants to make sure that her students are learning, but she's not always sure the best way to do that.

Sunita is thinking about classroom management, which involves any actions to help students be on task and to promote learning. There are a lot of ways that teachers can promote learning in their classrooms. One way to manage classroom behavior is through teaching style. If Sunita teaches students by explaining things to them, they might react one way. On the other hand, if she teaches students by allowing them to work together to explore a topic, they might react a different way. How she teaches, then, can impact the learning environment.

To help Sunita figure out how best to teach her students, let's look at a specific type of classroom management technique that involves how lessons are delivered.

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  • 0:04 Classroom Management
  • 0:56 Teaching Strategies
  • 2:10 Autocratic Pros and Cons
  • 4:07 Lesson Summary
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Teaching Strategies

There are many different ways to teach. For example, Sunita can have her students work in pairs with written materials to answer questions, or she can have them create questions that they are interested in having answered. How do different approaches to lesson planning impact classroom management?

There are two major types of teaching strategies, or lesson approaches: autocratic and permissive. An autocratic is a traditional teaching strategy that involves the teacher choosing what material to present and how to present it. For example, giving a lecture on a topic is an autocratic teaching method.

A permissive teaching strategy is a student-centered teaching strategy that focuses on letting students guide the lesson. If a student wants to explore a topic, they will explore it. If they are more interested in a different topic, they will be allowed to pursue that. In other words, Sunita (as a teacher) won't have much to say about what the students are learning.

So what does teaching strategy have to do with classroom management? The classroom environment is impacted by the method of teaching. For example, an autocratic classroom is often more orderly, whereas a permissive classroom can be (or seem) quite chaotic.

Autocratic Pros and Cons

Sunita isn't sure about the permissive strategies. She thinks autocratic teaching sounds better. That way, she can make sure that students are learning what they need to learn.

The autocratic method of teaching has several distinct advantages. One is that it makes clear the information that the students need to know. If a student is going to take a test on fractions, he needs to understand fractions. If a student is going to take a test on ancient Persia, she needs to know about ancient Persia. Whereas the permissive style allows students to explore topics they are interested in, the autocratic method allows teachers to make sure students are learning what they need to know.

Another advantage of the autocratic method is that many students can be reached at once. Whether Sunita is giving a lecture or demonstration, or whether she's given the students articles and lists of questions to answer in small groups, she is able to reach all of her students at once. This makes teaching more efficient.

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