HOW TO DESIGN AN EFFECTIVE CLASSROOM



Abstract
Classroom management is about creating inviting and appealing environments for student learning. Classroom management strategies are tools that the teachers can use to help create such an environment, ranging from activities to improve teacher-student relationships to rules to regulate student behaviour. The findings of numerous studies have shown that teachers play a key role in shaping effective education. Effective classroom management is a requirement for effective education. In this study, we provide an overview of classroom management strategies and classroom management programs for (new) teachers in primary education to help them develop ways to effectively manage their classrooms and to identify interventions that have the potential to prevent classroom management difficulties. three classroom management programs that are frequently implemented by primary schools are described in order to illustrate types of programs used in classrooms currently,and to make the differences between existing programs more tangible. The three programs are (1) School-Wide Positive Behavior Support, (2) Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, (3) The Good Behavior Game, We describe each program’s aims, theoretical underpinnings, intensity, format, and effectiveness.




Effective education refers to the degree to which schools are successful in accomplishing their educational objectives. The findings of numerous studies have shown that teachers play a key  role in shaping effective education (Hattie, 2009). The differences in achievement between students who spend a year in a class with a highly effective teacher as opposed to a highly ineffective teacher are startling.
Effective teaching and learning cannot take place in poorly managed classrooms (Jones & Jones, 2012; Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2003; Van de Grift, Van der Wal, & Torenbeek, 2011). Effective classroom management strategies (here after abbreviated to CMS) support and facilitate effective teaching and learning. Effective classroom management is generally based on the principle of establishing a positive classroom environment encompassing effective teacher-student relationships (Wubbels, Brekelmans, Van Tartwijk, & Admiraal, 1999). Evertson and Weinstein (2006) define classroom management as "the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning
" (pp. 4-5). This definition concentrates on the responsibility of the teacher and relates the use of classroom management strategies to multiple learning goals for students.
Evertson and Weinstein (2006) refer in their definition of classroom management to the actions teachers take to create a supportive environment for the academic and social-emotional learning of students. They describe five types of actions. In order to attain a high quality of classroom management, teachers must (1) develop caring, supportive relationships with and among students and (2) organize and implement instruction in ways that optimize students’ access to learning. The importance of developing favourable teacher-student relationships is also expressed by Marzano et al. (2003). Additionally, Evertson and Weinstein (2006) state that teachers should (3) encourage students’ engagement in academic tasks, which can be done by using group management methods (e.g., by establishing rules and classroom procedures, see Marzano et al., 2003). Teachers must (4) promote the development of students’ social skills and self-regulation. Marzano et al. (2003) refer to this as making students responsible for their behaviour. Finally, Evertson and Weinstein (2006) state that teachers should be able to (5) use appropriate interventions to assist students with behaviour problems. The last two actions proposed by Evertson and Weinstein (2006) indicate that effective classroom management improves student behaviour. Hence, classroom management is an ongoing interaction between teachers and their students. Brophy (2006) presents a similar definition: “Classroom management refers to actions taken to create and maintain a learning environment conducive to successful instruction (arranging the physical environment, establishing rules and procedures, maintaining students' attention to lessons and engagement in activities)” (p. 17). Both definitions emphasize the importance of actions taken by the teacher to facilitate learning among the students.
Below, three classroom management programs that are frequently implemented by primary schools are described in order to illustrate types of programs used in classrooms currently,and to make the differences between existing programs more tangible. The three programs are (1) School-Wide Positive Behavior Support, (2) Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, (3) The Good Behavior Game, We describe each program’s aims, theoretical underpinnings, intensity, format, and effectiveness.
1.      School -Wide Positive Behavior Support School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) wasdeveloped in the USA, where over 16,000 schools, now in various stages of implementation, have adopted the program (Bradshaw, Waasdorp, & Leaf, 2012; Horner et al., 2009). It is a whole-school (and system-wide) approach, intended to create a social culture and to provide intensive behavioural support, both of which are needed for all students to achieve academic and social success. It is preventive rather than reactive, and it combines primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention measures regarding student behaviour. The primary tier involves defining, teaching, monitoring, and rewarding a small set of behavioural expectations for all students across classroom and non-classroom settings (Horner et al., 2009) Schools continually measure students’ social behaviour, which permits early intervention and supports further decisions. In this way, they work on a data-driven basis. If more severe individual problems are identified or structural changes are needed, a secondary tier is brought into action. This secondary tier includes behavioural support for students ‘at risk’ and focuses on problem behaviour. The tertiary tier provides highly individualized interventions to address higher intensity problem behaviours when necessary(Horner et al., 2009). The program is based on the principles of behaviour analysis (Anderson & Kincaid, 2005; Sugai & Horner, 2002, 2006). Schools that adopt the program are expected to set up a school-wide reward system for good behaviour, rather than punishment systems for bad behaviour (Anderson & Kincaid, 2005). Implementation of SWPBS in the USA is often initiated at state  level; states also may provide personnel experienced in the training and support practices associated with the approach (Horner et al., 2009).  SWPBS is not a packaged approach, and thus schools and even departments or settings within schools may vary in the sets of rules they use, given the above-mentioned general features of the program (Anderson & Kincaid, 2005). At class level, teacher practice may, for example, typically consist of teaching expectations and target behaviours to students in classroom settings as well as in other target school environments, on the one hand, and systematically providing acknowledgment for successfully meeting those behavioural expectations, on the other hand (Solomon, Klein, Hintze, Cressey, & Peller, 2012, referring to McCurdy, Mannella, & Eldridge, 2003).  Although evaluation reports concerning SWPBS thus far are positive and show the approach to be implementable, real experimental evidence regarding its effects is just coming on stage (Chitiyo, May, & Chitiyo, 2012; Horner et al., 2009; see also Bradshaw et al., 2012; Solomon et al., 2012; Sørlie & Ogden, 2007).  
2.      Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies The Fast Track (PATHS) intervention was developed in the USA as a universal service froman initial Fast Track selective prevention model for children at risk for behavioural problems.  In this program, small-group social skills interventions are combined with academic tutoring  in which parenting support classes are provided and home visits are conducted. The PATHS intervention is aimed at preventing the (further) development of violent and aggressive behaviourin children, lowering the risk of later juvenile and adult violence as well as other social and academic maladaptive outcomes. It is mainly school-based, as schools are the only setting with almost universal access to children (Crean & Johnson, 2013). The central component in the PATHS universal intervention is the school-based PATHS  curriculum, which is a scripted curriculum in social and emotional skills taught on a regular basis throughout the school year. The PATHS curriculum contains 131 lessons in which the focus is on skills related tounderstanding and communicating emotions. The program aimsto increase positive social behaviour, and to enable children to achieve self-control and other steps in social problem solving. The PATHS lessons may be flexibly implemented over the primary school years. In these lessons, skill concepts are presented by various means, such as direct instruction, discussion, modelling stories, andvideo presentations. Subsequently, the skills are practiced by pupils in discussions and role-playing activities. (For more information on the curriculum we refer to Greenberg andKusché(2002) and Bierman, Greenberg, and the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (1996)). In addition to this lesson-based curriculum, the PATHS intervention emphasizes the need to implement the PATHS principles during the rest of the school day. As part of the program, school-based support for teachers as well as consultation activities with school principals are provided by the PATHS project staff  (Crean & Johnson, 2013; Greenberg et al., 2010). PATHS is based on the Affective-Behavioral -Cognitive-Dynamic (ABCD) model of development (Greenberg & Kusché, 1993). In this model, early emotional development is identified as a precursor to other ways of thinking. Moreover, the curriculum places special emphasis on neurocognitive models of development, by promoting the development of children’s inhibitory control and having them verbally identify and label feelings and emotions in order to manage these (Riggs, Greenberg, Kusché, & Pentz, 2006). In the USA, a considerable amount of research has been done on the effectiveness of the program since the nineties. In general, positive effects on students’ social and emotional competence and behaviour have been founds’ social-emotional development focused’
3.      The Good Behavior Game The Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a classroom-ased program targeting the prevention of and early intervention in aggressive and disruptive behaviour. The basic principle of the game was stated by Barrish, Saunders, and Wolf (1969); they defined the game as a “classroom behavior management technique, based on reinforcers natural to the classroom, other than teacher attention” (p. 119). The game involves competition for privileges available in almost every classroom (see Dolan, Turkkan, Werthamer-Larsson, & Kellam, 1989). In GBG, first, appropriate behaviour is explicitly defined, and when students demonstrate such behaviour it is systematically rewarded. Appropriate behaviours are formulated as rules students have to comply with. They may be stated by way of bans, e.g., “No one is to be out of his seat without permission” (Barrish et al., 1969) or as positively formulated classroom rules,e.g., “In the classroom, we work quietly and stay in our seats” (Leflot, Van Lier, Onghena, & Colpin, 2013). The rules may differ according to the specific tasks children have to complete or the lessons being taught. Second, GBG facilitates positive interaction between (disruptive and non-disruptive) children through a team-based approach (Van Lier, Vuijk, & Crijnen, 2005; Witvliet, Van Lier, Cuijpers, & Koot, 2009), using group contingencies. This approach divides students in each class Into two or more teams, each containing students both with and without behaviour problems. The teams compete for privileges, and each team as a whole may be punished for the inadequate behaviour of its members(e.g., losing points earned by the team in the weekly contest) (Dion et al., 2011) or rewarded for helping members to comply with classroom rules (Witvliet et al., 2009). In this way, the GBG directly intervenes in the children’s social context (Van Lier et al., 2005) and is supposed to bring about the positive peer interactions that underlie the effect of the program on student behaviour (Witvliet et al., 2009). Research on GBG has demonstrated positive effects of the program on various outcome measures, varying from diminishing aggressive and disruptive behaviour, attention deficit/hyperactivity problems, oppositional defiant problems, and conduct problems, to preventing the development of antisocial personality disorders and postponing (or preventing)  tobacco use in early adolescence (Van Lier et al., 2005).  A Dutch version of GBG has been introduced in the Netherlands, the so-called ‘Taakspel’, developed by CED group/PI Rotterdam. Research on the effects of the program showed results comparable to those found internationally (Van der Sar, 2004). The program effectively reduces the disruptive behaviour of students. It is the only intervention program that has been recognized by the ‘Nederlands Jeugdinstituut’ (2014) as “proven effective by strong evidence”, the highest category out of four (Spilt, Koot, & Van Lier, 2013a; Spilt,Koot, & Van Lier, 2013b; Nederlands Jeugdinstituut, 2014). For a description of the program in Dutch,see Witvliet, Van Lier, Cuijpers, and Koot (2010) and the publication of the Nederlands Jeugdinstituut (2013).
Finally, we would like to present some recommendations for the scientific community on the basis of our experiences in reporting pretest-posttest control group designs used to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom management interventions. We found that numerous studies lacked detailed descriptions of the intervention that was implemented in the schools (e.g., specific focus of the teacher sessions and/or student sessions, type of training teachers and/or students received, duration of the intervention). Moreover, very few studies reported the classroom setting (e.g., group or frontal placement) in which the intervention was implemented, whereas such contextual factors may strongly influence student behaviour in the classroom. Similarly, it was often unclear within what type of school or educational context (e.g., during instruction, collaborative assignments, independent seatwork, or throughout the school day) the intervention was implemented. And when the intervention was implemented throughout the school day, it was unclear how the school days were normally organized (e.g.,the amount of instruction time, independent seatwork, how often students worked collaboratively in groups, whether some students followed an individual learning trajectory, whether computers were used throughout the day, and whether teaching assistants were present). Information on these aspects makes the interpretation of the effectiveness of classroom management interventions much more insightful and, moreover, makes the findings much easier to replicate. We therefore strongly recommend including detailed descriptions of these aspects in scientific papers evaluating the effectiveness of CMS/CMP. Another recommendation is to provide detailed information on the research design and sampling procedures. On several occasions, it was unclear whether a control group was used, how the randomization or matching across intervention and control groups was performed,and whether the students were representative of the student population (e.g., many studies lacked details on gender, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity of the students included). In reporting the results, mean scores, standard deviations, and sample sizes among intervention and control groups should be reported for both pretest and posttest measures. Only then can effect sizes be properly calculated. Moreover, for these measures, reliable and validated research instruments should be used (and information about this should be reported).

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