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Chapter 1. The Critical Role of Classroom Management
Peter Garber. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Students experience difficulties at home which spill over into the classroom; students experience problems with peers during class breaks and in the classroom which often involve the teacher; and students experience mood changes which can generate problems, to name just a few. If a teacher cannot obtain students' cooperation and involve them in instructional activities, it is unlikely that effective teaching will take place In addition, poor management wastes class time, reduces students' time on task and detracts from the quality of the learning environment.
It is probably no exaggeration to say that classroom management has been a primary concern of teachers ever since there have been teachers in classrooms.
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However, the systematic study of effective classroom management is a relatively recent phenomenon. Here we briefly consider the major studies on classroom management. For more detailed and comprehensive discussions, see Emmer, ; Brophy, ; and Doyle, , Arguably, the first high-profile, large-scale, systematic study of classroom management was done by Jacob Kounin He analyzed videotapes of 49 first and second grade classrooms and coded the behavior of students and teachers.
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Kounin's findings are discussed in more depth in Chapter 5, but it is worth noting here that he identified several critical dimensions of effective classroom management. In Brophy and Evertson reported the results of one of the major studies in classroom management, up to that point, in a book entitled Learning from Teaching: A Developmental Perspective. Their sample included some 30 elementary teachers whose students had exhibited consistently better than expected gains in academic achievement.
The comparison group consisted of 38 teachers whose performance was more typical. Brophy and Evertson's study, then, might be considered a comparison of exceptional teachers with average teachers. Although the study focused on a wide variety of teaching behaviors, classroom management surfaced as one of the critical aspects of effective teaching. Much of what they found relative to classroom management supported the earlier findings of Kounin.
Brophy and Everson say this about their study: Much has been said. Probably the most important point to bear in mind is that almost all surveys of teacher effectiveness report that classroom management skills are of primary importance in determining teaching success, whether it is measured by student learning or by ratings. Thus, management skills are crucial and fundamental. A teacher who is grossly inadequate in classroom management skills is probably not going to accomplish much.
A series of four studies conducted at the Research and Development Center for Teacher Education in Austin, Texas, marked a milestone in the research on classroom management. The first study involved 27 elementary school teachers. The second involved 51 junior high school teachers. Results from the elementary school study were reported in Emmer, Evertson, and Anderson and Anderson, Evertson, and Emmer Results from the junior high study were reported in Evertson and Emmer and in Sanford and Evertson Both studies were descriptive and correlational in nature and identified those teacher actions associated with student on-task behavior and disruptive behavior.
Again, Kounin's earlier findings were strongly supported. One of the more significant conclusions from these studies was that early attention to classroom management at the beginning of the school year is a critical ingredient of a well-run classroom. The third and fourth studies, also conducted in the elementary and junior high schools, respectively, examined the impact of training in classroom management techniques based on findings from the first two studies.
As described by Emmer , In the later two studies, the interventions occurred at the beginning of the school year and resulted in improved teacher behavior in many, but not all, management areas and also in more appropriate student behavior in experimental group classes as compared to control group classes. To date, these books have been considered the primary resources for the application of the research on classroom management to K education.
It involved in-depth interviews with and observations of 98 teachers, some of whom were identified as effective managers and some of whom were not. The study presented teachers with vignettes regarding specific types of students e. Among the many findings from the study was that effective classroom managers tended to employ different types of strategies with different types of students, whereas ineffective managers tended to use the same strategies regardless of the type of student or the situation.
Chapter 4 presents the implications of Brophy's study in more depth. In spite of the profound impact of these various studies, classroom management received its strongest endorsement in a comprehensive study by Margaret Wang, Geneva Haertel, and Herbert Walberg They combined the results of three previous studies. One involved a content analysis of 86 chapters from annual research reviews, 44 handbook chapters, 20 government and commissioned reports, and 11 journal articles. This analysis produced a list of variables identified as having an impact on student achievement.
The second study involved a survey of education experts who were asked to rate each of the variables in terms of the relative strength of their impact on student achievement. The third study involved an analysis of 91 major research syntheses. The end result of this massive review was that classroom management was rated first in terms of its impact on student achievement.
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In summary, the research over the past 30 years indicates that classroom management is one of the critical ingredients of effective teaching. Many studies and many books have been published articulating the specifics of effective classroom management.
So what does this book have to offer that has not already been established? Certainly, this book reinforces the findings and suggestions from many of the previous works. However, the recommendations in this book are based on a new research methodology not previously employed with the classroom management literature per se. That methodology is meta-analysis. In simple terms, it is a technique for quantitatively combining the results from a number of studies.
Since its inception, it has been used extensively in the fields of education, psychology, and medicine.
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In effect, this research technique has allowed us to construct generalizations about education, psychology, and medicine that were previously not available. A logical question is, Why is the simple act of combining the findings from a number of studies so powerful?
To illustrate, let's consider a well-designed study that examines the impact of a specific classroom management strategy on students' behavior. The study might randomly assign students to two groups—one that uses the strategy the experimental group and one that does not the control group. The study might ensure that both groups do everything exactly the same except for the classroom management strategy that is being studied. Even with this level of tight control, the findings that come from the study might be influenced by uncontrolled error.
For example, the way student behavior is measured might not be sensitive to behaviors that are important to the study; something might happen to the students in the experimental or the control group that is not related to the study but influences their behavior, and so on. In fact, it is almost impossible to control all the error that might creep into a study.
This is why researchers assign a probability statement to their findings. When researchers report that their findings are significant at the. By combining the results of many studies, we can say with far more certainty than we can with a single study that certain strategies work or do not work. This concept is considered again in more detail in Chapter 2. To write this book, I undertook a meta-analysis that included the findings from more than separate reports.
I discuss, in non-technical terms, the results of that meta-analysis throughout the book, and they form the foundation for my recommendations. See the Appendix for a more detailed discussion of the meta-analysis and Marzano, a, for a technical description. As shown in Figure 1. The remaining chapters of this book address these factors along with some others in depth. However, let's briefly consider the meaning of the scores presented in Figure 1. The fourth column indicates the number of studies that were examined for each of the four components. The third column reports the total number of students involved in those studies.
The second column presents the average effect size for each of the four general components of classroom management. An effect size is a metric used in meta-analyses. In the context of this book, it tells you how much of a difference in behavior you can expect between classes that effectively employ a given aspect of classroom management and classes that do not. To illustrate, let's consider the average effect size for disciplinary interventions, as shown in Figure 1.
This average was computed using the findings from 68 studies involving 3, students. One of the benefits of using the effect size metric is that we can translate it into a percentile change relative to the average number of disruptions that occur in a classroom. Let's think of a disruption as any type of student behavior not sanctioned by the teacher. A disruption can be as innocuous as a student talking to her neighbor or as severe as a student being disrespectful to the teacher.
So, for this example, we are not distinguishing the severity of disruptions, only the number of disruptions. For a discussion of how effect sizes are translated into percentile changes, see the Appendix. This means that the average number of disruptions in classes where disciplinary interventions are employed effectively will be at the 18th percentile in terms of the distribution of disruptions in classes where disciplinary interventions are not employed effectively.
To further understand the distribution of disruptive behavior, consider Figure 1. Let's assume that the average number of disruptions per day is 10 in classes where disciplinary interventions are not employed and that the standard deviation is 5. This is depicted in the distribution on the right of Figure 1.
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Given what we know about normal distributions, this implies that some days there will be many more disruptions than In fact, we can predict that on some days the number of disruptions will be two standard deviations or more above the mean. That is, on some days there will be 20 disruptions in these classrooms. Conversely, some days the number of disruptions will be two standard deviations below the mean—some days there will be no disruptions. Now let's consider the distribution on the left of Figure 1.