Managing Classrooms for Improved Outcomes
Walk into a Touchstone classroom and you’ll likely see multiple activities happening at once. Students will be working with partners or small groups. Others will be working in large groups. And there will be students doing independent work, too.
How can Touchstone teachers keep track of it all? Excellent classroom management.
Research shows that classroom management is a key characteristic of effective teachers. It is key because when teachers effectively manage their classrooms, students better engage with teaching and learning, and they do better in the core subjects (math, science, and reading). (see box)
For example, research published in 2011 in the Journal of Teacher Education indicated that the most effective teachers have been shown to have better classroom management, fewer classroom disruptions, and better relationships with their students (1). Similar studies show that, the better a teacher manages the classroom and the more supportive that environment is, the more learning takes place (2).
At Touchstone, providing quality education likewise means investing in higher standards for children and for teachers, and strong classroom management is critical to achieving each child’s learning goals.
Five Instructional Strategies of Effective Teachers that Foster Achievement:
> Providing strong classroom management
> Creating optimal classroom environment through strong guidance
> Building trust with students
> Encouraging cooperation and an environment of respect
> Increasing student participation and motivation
“When you’re walking with kids, you need to approach them on a kinesthetic, a visual, and an auditory level, so that you can ensure the child reaches their goals,” explains Tamara Brayshaw, Touchstone’s Head Teacher of 7-, 8-, and 9-year olds. “And in order to have children working at different levels and working on different projects all of the time, you need a great deal of planning and structure, and the kids have to know what that structure is. So, in that way, teaching at Touchstone is very rigorous.”
Further, Tamara notes, this strong management facilitates creating a supportive environment where her students can talk and share.
“But every child has a different strength. And in every activity the idea is learning to accept other people’s opinions and learning how to work with someone else. So there’s a lot of talking. We do a lot of work on negotiating and dealing with conflict: like how you talk to each other, how you take turns, and how you resolve something. Intellectually, I think we’re always pushing the kids a little bit farther than where you would think.”
As a result, in her 23 years teaching at the school, Tamara’s instruction has encouraged more than only cognitive development. Students have also experienced social and emotional growth.
“There are all kinds of people, and you have to be able to interact and manage with different kinds – that’s one of the skills they’re going to need in life,” emphasizes Tamara. “So, we (at Touchstone) are always trying to structure our classrooms to broaden the child’s experiences as much as we can, and make them open to everything that’s out there.”
(1) 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.
(2) Fauth, B., Decristan, J., Rieser, S., Klieme, E., & Butter, G. (2014). Student ratings of teaching quality in primary school: Dimension and prediction of student outcomes. Learning and Instruction, 29, 1-9.
(3) 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; Marzano, R.J., Marzaon, J.S., & Pickering, D.J. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development; Cornelius-White, J. (2007). Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 113-143; Fauth, B., Decristan, J., Rieser, S., Klieme, E., & Buttner, G. (2014). Student ratings of teaching quality in primary school: Dimensions and predictions of student outcomes. Learning and Instruction, 29, 1-9.