Classroom and behavior management: (re)conceptualization through disability critical race theory

Valentina Migliarini, Subini Annamma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


t a time of global neoliberal reforms and rampant austerity measures, education has become a commodity. Within this context of education as a right for the privileged, racial disparities in discipline and achievement have been normalized and accepted as natural at the expense of multiply-marginalized Students of Color, those at the intersection of multiple oppressions. Consequently, educators feel increasingly powerless and unequipped to reduce such systemic inequities. This chapter refutes the assumption of disparities along the lines of race, disability, and intersectional identity as unavoidable, by advancing a Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) approach to classroom and behavior management for educators. Strategies for behavioral management have been traditionally derived from an individualistic, psychological orientation. As a result, behavioral management has been conceptualized as correcting and preventing disruption caused by the “difficult” students and about reinforcing positive comportment of the “good” ones. DisCrit shifts the questions that are asked from “How can we fix students who disobey rules?” to “How can pre-service teacher education and existing behavioral management courses be transformed so that they are not steeped in color-evasion and silent on interlocking systems of oppression?”. DisCrit provides an opportunity to (re)organize classrooms, moving away from “fixing” the individual – be it the student or the teacher – and shifting toward justice. When teachers understand (1) ways students are systemically oppressed, (2) how oppressions are (re)produced in classrooms, and (3) what they can do to resist those oppressions in terms of pedagogy, curriculum, and relationships, they can build solidarity and resistance with students and communities. DisCrit has the potential to prepare future teachers to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interactions and active engagement in learning focused on creating solidarity in the classroom instead of managing. This results in curriculum, pedagogy, and relationships that are rooted in expansive notions of justice. The chapter illustrates how DisCrit, as an intersectional and interdisciplinary framework, can enrich existing pre-service teachers’ beliefs about relationships in the classroom and connect these relationships to larger projects of dismantling inequities faced by multiply-marginalized students. Consequently we are writing about DisCrit Solidarity as theory informed practice or praxis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education
EditorsRosemary Papa
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-74078-2
Publication statusEarly online - 9 Dec 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Classroom and behavior management: (re)conceptualization through disability critical race theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this