The Key to Classroom Management: Multicomponent Professional Development

Employing effective classroom management techniques can pave the way for positive teacher-student relationships and create a safe space for students to learn, improve behavior, and increase academic achievement.

Key Takeaway: Providing teachers with instructional strategies, coaching, and feedback to effectively manage student behavior will benefit teachers and students alike. Employing effective classroom management techniques can pave the way for positive teacher-student relationships and create a safe space for students to learn, improve behavior, and increase academic achievement. School leaders should look for opportunities to offer authentic, long-term, multicomponent professional development for classroom management practices, such as through peer coaching. —Bernadette Gorczyca

In the educational research article, “Professional development for classroom management: a review of the literature,” Wilkinson et al. (Department of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut) present a review of empirical literature examining 74 professional development (PD) in-service studies on classroom management in the United States from 1984-2018. 

Wilkinson et al. (2021) set the stage for their review by first establishing research-based best practices for teacher professional development. As part of the review, the authors cite additional research that suggests, “PD opportunities should be job-embedded, occur long-term with ongoing supports (e.g., demonstrations, observations, feedback, reflection), focus on content, align with other school initiatives, provide opportunities for active learning, encourage collaboration among teachers, and include coaching.”1, 2, 3 

The article then establishes the importance of this review by drawing a link between classroom management practices and student achievement, finding that, “The ability of teachers to organize classrooms and manage student behaviour is critical to achieving positive educational outcomes for students.”4,5,6 

Unfortunately, there is a lack of classroom management pre-service training and training for teachers active in the field, especially for special educators and secondary teachers. Moreover, the training that is offered is often generic and short-term, leading to little development in skills and application.

Major takeaways from the article:

  • “A clear gap exists between what research shows regarding effective delivery of PD and what teachers in schools experience. Although generic, one-time PD aligns with practical logistics (e.g., time, expense, scheduling convenience), it is important to consider PD outcomes in the context of basic learning theory.”
  • Instead, school leaders should offer “multicomponent PD for classroom management as the most effective approach. Across all studies that demonstrated desired results, the most frequently identified components of effective PD were didactic training, coaching, and performance feedback.” When persistent challenges continue after attending PD training, schools can organize internal, ongoing additional supports such as one-to-one coaching and/or performance feedback for individual teachers. 
  • Moreover, classroom management training should “[make] appropriate adaptations and considerations for the cultural and contextual characteristics of teachers, school settings, student needs, and community values.”
  • Future research should include:
    • an analysis of classroom management strategies and an examination of PD components and the effect on teacher/student behavior in order to develop innovative, effective PD practices; 
    • studies dedicated to secondary teachers as well as K-12 elective and special education teachers.

Summarized Article:

Wilkinson, S., Freeman, J., Simonsen, B., Sears, S., Byun, S. G., Xu, X., & Luh, H.-J. (2021). Professional development for classroom management: a review of the literature. Educational Research and Evaluation, 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803611.2021.1934034 

Summary by: Bernadette Gorczyca - Bernadette loves the MARIO Framework because it centers student voice and choice, empowering students to take ownership over their personalized learning journey to become confident, self-directed learners

Additional References:

  1. Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/product-files/Effective_Teacher_Professional_Development_REPORT.pdf
  2. State, T. M., Simonsen, B., Hirn, R. G., & Wills, H. (2019). Bridging the research-to-practice gap through effective professional development for teachers working with students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 44(2), 107–116. https://doi.org/10.1177/0198742918816447
  3. Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W.-Y., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2007–No. 033). U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/southwest/pdf/rel_2007033_sum.pdf
  4. Korpershoek, H., Harms, T., de Boer, H., van Kuijk, M., & Doolaard, S. (2016). A meta-analysis of the effects of classroom management strategies and classroom management programs on students’ academic, behavioral, emotional and motivational outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 86(3), 643–680. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654315626799
  5. Oliver, R. M., & Reschly, D. J. (2007). Effective classroom management: Teacher preparation and professional development. National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED543769.pdf
  6. Stronge, J. H., Ward, T. J., & Grant, L. W. (2011). What makes good teachers good? A cross-case analysis of the connection between teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(4), 339–355. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487111404241

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We are a dedicated group of learners that are constantly seeking to improve the lives of the children we care for. Whether you are a teacher, parent, assistant, or administrator, we give you free access to the most recent special education related research and practices available. Our twice monthly MARIO Memo summarizes and shares studies from peer-reviewed journals, while our learning letters provide insights from MARIO classrooms.

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