Are teachers being set up for failure? You decide

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, @eSN_Meris
December 10th, 2013

New report says teachers not taught proven methods of classroom management

teacher-classroom-managementTeacher preparation programs are leaving teachers to fend for themselves and to discover their own path to classroom management instead of relying on “proven” strategies based on research, according to a new report. And this philosophy, says one group, that will lead to classroom inefficiency at best and lack of student achievement at worst.

The report, “Training Our Future Teachers: Classroom Management,” was conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research and policy group often criticized by teacher colleges as “methodologically flawed” and “ideologically based.” NCTQ is a Gates-funded initiative that is part of the “corporate school reform” movement, and it advocates for tougher teacher evaluation practices and methods.

In its new report, NCTQ argues that while teacher preparation programs do heavily emphasize classroom instruction, classroom management skills based off of “proven” techniques are often left out of formal instruction and don’t require evaluation.

Because of this lack of focus on management skills, even “the most brilliantly crafted lesson can fall on deaf ears—or, worse, be upended by disruptive behavior,” according to NCTQ.

(Next page: “Proven” techniques?)

1 2 3 Read More »

4 Responses to “Are teachers being set up for failure? You decide”

I was formerly an elementary principal in San Marcos, Texas and we served as a teaching block campus for Texas State University. I am also an adjunct instructor for TSU in their Educational Administration master’s program. When I addressed aspiring educators each semester during my campus orientation, I always emphasized the importance of relationships and establishing a strong rapport with students. Relationship building also forms one of the cornerstones of my instruction at the university level. Form a strong rapport with your students and engage them in instruction, and the need for 4 of the Big Five strategies will become irrelevant. I have consistently observed students demonstrate success in classrooms with teachers who form strong connections and engage their students in the learning process. Another point to emphasize is that classroom management strategies need to be practiced to be effective. I didn’t teach my daughters how to ride a bike, I demonstrated for them and then guided them in the process until they confidently left me in their dust. Aspiring educators must have the opportunity to practice these strategies in a field-based experience and during student-teaching in order to be successful on their own.

While I accept the efficacy of the “Big Five” in principle, as a matter of practical application, classroom management cannot be practiced by a single teacher in a dysfunctional school, rendering it pointless to devote much undergraduate time to it in teacher prep programs.

Instead, classroom management must be part of an ongoing, systemic effort within schools and systems. There must be consistent, effective, periodic, reinforcement of system-wide classroom management expectations, strategies, and policies in an ongoing program of professional development.

While instructional planning and engagement strategies, and building a rapport with students control about 80% of the classroom management task, the remaining 20% will not occur unless there is a consistent school wide effort to maintain behavioral expectations, and swift, certain, consistent application of consequences.

It is not appropriate to lay this responsibility on teacher prep programs, nor should future teachers be expected to shoulder the economic burden of training for a system of practices that must, necessarily be uniquely tailored to the needs of a particular school.

Teacher preparation should focus on thorough content knowledge, and effective lesson planning and delivery. Building and maintaining the instructional environment however, is the job of the schools themselves and the teachers that work there.

Couldn’t agree more with this article. As a secondary science teacher for the past 14 years, day-in and day-out behavioral issues (whether large or small) have been the single most frustrating experience of teaching – not the issues themselves but the lack of consistent methods/philosophies to deal with them. Start teaching proven methods and applying them in the schools. I would go as far as to say that it is the single greatest cause of new-teacher burnout. (Michael Linsin at really has some great advice and resources on this topic that I have been using this past year with very positive results).

December 12, 2013

I am very passionate about this topic. It wasn’t until years after teaching that I became frustrated with lack of opportunities to pursue quality continuing education workshops and trainings with schools. It was always a limitation due to budget cuts or if we were able to attend something, there wasn’t alot of “meat” to it in regards to “evidence based practice.”
Education reform throws this buzz term around a lot. Sadly when they consider curriculums and other programs that are implemented school wide, these “programs” have their own “research” that is conducted by their own creators. Might as well be an info-mercial but their audience is selling to the schools.
It wasn’t until I pursued my own professional development on my own tab and it was the best thing I ever did!
I wanted something with true science behind it! Enter ABA – Applied Behavioral Analysis. This has changed my life and the way I teach forever! A lot of attention is given to ABA with kiddos with autism but it has soooooo many practical uses for general education, elementary education and even just working with colleagues, administration and parents!!!
Education reform needs to start by stop looking at “cutsie” theoretical management techniques and start implementing (at the college level) material that WORKS. Meaning, ABA which has it’s roots more traditionally in psychology.
For those of you who know about how ABA works (and not the misconceptions) you know what I am talking about and how this could be a huge game changer in education if we only embraced it, implemented it, and apply it at the school level and at the University prep level.
I will now get off my soap box.