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Study Finds Educator Training Lacking

"Training Our Future Teachers: Classroom Management"

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Most teacher colleges appear to spend at least some instructional time on classroom-management techniques, but it's often incomplete, not based on research, or divorced from the student-teaching experience.

That's the gist of a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based advocacy group.

For the report, the NCTQ examined syllabi and other materials from 122 programs across 79 institutions in 33 states, mostly collected through open-records requests. Analysts reviewed the research on classroom management and arrived at five components that the council said should be taught in every program:

  • Rules for classroom behavior that are modeled and applied;
  • Routines on how to act when working in groups, turning in homework, and so forth;
  • Praise for students' good behavior;
  • Consequences for misbehavior; and
  • Student engagement through the use of interesting lessons with ample opportunities for participation.

Overall, programs spent an average of about eight class periods—or 40 percent of a single course—on classroom management. Only 17 percent of the programs studied addressed all five of the components. The review also contends that while the programs included assignments on classroom management, they often didn't give students a chance to practice the techniques. NCTQ officials found few connections between coursework and what teacher-candidates were evaluated on during student-teaching.

The group chalks the apparent mismatch up to a collision between academic freedom and a vague curriculum.

Teacher-college officials faulted the project for relying on a small sample and a narrow definition of classroom management.

Vol. 33, Issue 15, Page 5

Published in Print: January 8, 2014, as Study Finds Educator Training Lacking
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