Commitment to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) pipeline is slowly declining despite the need for professionals in the medical field. Addressing this, the John A. Burns School of Medicine developed a summer teacher-training program with a supplemental technology-learning component to improve science teachers’ knowledge and skills of Molecular Biology. Subsequently, students’ skills, techniques, and application of molecular biology are impacted. Science teachers require training that will prepare them for educating future professionals and foster interest in the medical field. After participation in the program and full access to the virtual material, twelve high school science teachers completed a final written reflective statement to evaluate their experiences. Using thematic analysis, knowledge and classroom application were investigated in this study. Results were two-fold: teachers identified difference areas of gained knowledge from the teacher-training program and teachers’ reporting various benefits in relation to curricula development after participating in the program. It is concluded that participation in the program and access to the virtual material will impact the science community by updating teacher knowledge and positively influencing students’ experience with science.
Virtual Learning; Teacher Training; High School Science
Studies of school leadership suggest that visiting classrooms, emphasizing achievement and training, and supporting teachers are important indicators of the effectiveness of school principals. The utility of a behavior-analytic program to support the enhancement of these behaviors in 2 school principals and the impact of their involvement upon teachers' and students' performances in three classes were examined in two experiments, one at an elementary school and another at a secondary school. Treatment conditions consisted of helping the principal or teacher to schedule his or her time and to use goal setting, feedback, and praise. A withdrawal design (Experiment 1) and a multiple baseline across classrooms (Experiment 2) showed that the principal's and teacher's rates of praise, feedback, and goal setting increased during the intervention, and were associated with improvements in the academic performance of the students. In the future, school psychologists might analyze the impact of involving themselves in supporting the principal's involvement in improving students' and teachers' performances or in playing a similar leadership role themselves.
performance management; feedback; public education; school principals; teacher behavior; academic skills
Recent studies suggest that many children with milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are undiagnosed, untreated, and being educated in mainstream classes without support and that school teachers might be the best persons to identify a child's social deviance. At present, only a few screening measures using teacher ratings of ASD have been validated. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of teacher ratings on the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a quantitative measure of ASD. We recruited 130 participants aged 4 to 17 years from local schools or local pediatric outpatient clinics specializing in neurodevelopmental disorders that included 70 children with ASD. We found that the teacher-report SRS can be reliably and validly applied to children as a screening tool or for other research purposes, and it also has cross-cultural comparability. Although parent-teacher agreement was satisfactory overall, a discrepancy existed for children with ASD, especially for girls with ASD. To improve sensitivity in children at higher risk, especially girls, we cannot overstate the importance of using standardized norms specific to gender, informant, and culture.
Students’ experiences with science integrated into agriscience courses contribute to their developing epistemologies of science. The purpose of this case study was to gain insight into the implementation of scientific inquiry in an agriscience classroom. Also of interest was how the tenets of the nature of science were reflected in the students’ experiments. Participants included an agriscience teacher and her fifteen students who were conducting plant experiments to gain insight into the role of a gene disabled by scientists. Data sources included classroom observations, conversations with students, face–to–face interviews with the teacher, and students’ work. Analysis of the data indicated that the teacher viewed scientific inquiry as a mechanical process with little emphasis on the reasoning that typifies scientific inquiry. Students’ participation in their experiments also centered on the procedural aspects of inquiry with little attention to scientific reasoning. There was no explicit attention to the nature of science during the experiments, but the practice implied correct, incorrect, and underdeveloped conceptions of the nature of science. Evidence from the study suggests a need for collaboration between agriscience and science teacher educators to design and conduct professional development focused on scientific inquiry and nature of science for preservice and practicing teachers.
scientific inquiry; scientific methods; nature of science
The relationships between preschool children and their teachers are an important component of the quality of the preschool experience. This study used attribution theory as a framework to better understand these relationships, examining the connection between teachers’ perceptions of children's behavior and teachers’ behavior toward those children. One hundred seven preschool children and 24 preschool teachers participated in this study. Two teachers reported on each child's behavior using the Teacher Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist. Commands and praise directed toward children by the teachers in the study were coded from classroom videotapes. Teachers gave more commands to children they perceived as having greater general behavior problems, even after controlling for the shared variance in the other classroom teacher's report of the child's behavior. Implications for school psychologists, teachers, and researchers are discussed.
Preschool Teachers; Preschool Students; Teacher Student Interaction; Teacher Attitudes; Classroom Behavior
An experiment was conducted to evaluate procedures to improve classroom discussions in seventh-grade social studies classes. An increased number of students participated in discussions when rules were stated for discussions, students were praised for their contributions, the teacher restated or paraphrased students' contributions aloud or on the blackboard, the teacher planned an outline of discussion questions, student contributions to discussions were recorded and were used to determine part of the students' grades for the class, and discussion grades were publicly posted.
The second part of the study focused on procedures designed to improve quality of classroom discussions. Students were taught to participate in discussions by providing reasons for their statements, comparisons between different points, or examples supporting their statements. As each type of contribution was taught, recorded, and counted toward part of the students' classroom grades, each type of contribution increased. Ratings of discussions by outside judges consisting of junior high school teachers, junior high school students, and persons experienced in conducting discussions, indicated that the training increased the overall quality of the discussions. Use of the quality training procedures, however, resulted in decreased levels of overall participation in discussion, a decrease that was reversed by the use of a group contingency for participation. Finally, the discussions after training seemed to be preferred by both the teacher and the students.
academic behavior; discussion skills; contingencies; teacher behavior; junior high students
Both teachers and students benefit from an interactive classroom. The teacher receives valuable input about effectiveness, student interest, and comprehension, whereas student participation, active learning, and enjoyment of the class are enhanced. Cost and deployment have limited the use of existing audience response systems, allowing anonymous linking of teachers and students in the classroom. These limitations can be circumvented, however, by use of personal digital assistants (PDAs), which are cheaper and widely used by students. In this study, the authors equipped a summer histology class of 12 students with PDAs and wireless Bluetooth cards to allow access to a central server. Teachers displayed questions in multiple-choice format as a Web page on the server and students responded with their PDAs, a process referred to as polling. Responses were immediately compiled, analyzed, and displayed. End-of-class survey results indicated that students were enthusiastic about the polling tool. The surveys also provided technical feedback that will be valuable in streamlining future trials.
A prevention trial tested the efficacy of INSIGHTS into Children’s Temperament as compared to a Read Aloud attention control condition in reducing student disruptive behavior and enhancing student competence and teacher classroom management. Participants included 116 first and second grade students, their parents, and their 42 teachers in six inner city schools. Teachers completed the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory (SESBI) and the Teacher’s Rating Scale of Child’s Actual Competence and Social Acceptance (TRS) at baseline and again upon completion of the intervention. Boys participating in INSIGHTS, compared with those in the Read Aloud program, showed a significant decline in attentional difficulties and overt aggression toward others. Teachers in INSIGHTS, compared to those in the attention control condition, reported significantly fewer problems managing the emotional-oppositional behavior, attentional difficulties, and covert disruptive behavior of their male students. They also perceived the boys as significantly more cognitively and physically competent.
Teachers; Temperament; Prevention; Classroom management
Teacher self-efficacy refers to the beliefs teachers hold regarding their capability to bring about desired instructional outcomes and may be helpful for understanding and addressing critical issues such as teacher attrition and teacher use of research-supported practices. Educating students with autism likely presents teachers with some of the most significant instructional challenges. The self-efficacy of 35 special education teachers of students with autism between the ages of 3 to 9 years was evaluated. Teachers completed rating scales that represented self-efficacy and aspects of the following 3 of Bandura’s 4 sources of self-efficacy: (1) sense of mastery, (2) social persuasions, and (3) physiological/affective states. Significant associations were observed between physiological/affective states and self-efficacy, but no associations were observed for the other sources.
autism; teachers; self-efficacy; attrition; retention; burnout; stress
Undergraduate college “science partners” provided content knowledge and a supportive atmosphere for K–5 teachers in a university–school professional development partnership program in science instruction. The Elementary Science Education Partners program, a Local Systemic Change initiative supported by the National Science Foundation, was composed of four major elements: 1) a cadre of mentor teachers trained to provide district-wide teacher professional development; 2) a recruitment and training effort to place college students in classrooms as science partners in semester-long partnerships with teachers; 3) a teacher empowerment effort termed “participatory reform”; and 4) an inquiry-based curriculum with a kit distribution and refurbishment center. The main goals of the program were to provide college science students with an intensive teaching experience and to enhance teachers' skills in inquiry-based science instruction. Here, we describe some of the program's successes and challenges, focusing primarily on the impact on the classroom teachers and their science partners. Qualitative analyses of data collected from participants indicate that 1) teachers expressed greater self-confidence about teaching science than before the program and they spent more class time on the subject; and 2) the college students modified deficit-model negative assumptions about the children's science learning abilities to express more mature, positive views.
A comprehensive validation study was conducted of the Program for Academic Survival Skills (PASS), a consultant-based, teacher-mediated program for student classroom behavior. The study addressed questions related to: (a) brief consultant training, (b) subsequent teacher training by consultants using PASS manuals, (c) contrasts between PASS experimental teachers and students and equivalent controls on measures of teacher management skills, student classroom behavior, teacher ratings of student problem behaviors, and academic achievement, (d) reported satisfaction of participants, and (e) replication of effects across two separate school sites. Results indicated that in both sites significant effects were noted in favor of the PASS experimental group for (a) teacher approval, (b) student appropriate classroom behavior, and (c) four categories of student inappropriate behavior. Program satisfaction ratings of students, teachers, and consultants were uniformly positive, and continued use of the program was reported a year later. Discussion focused upon issues of cost-effectiveness, differential site effects, and the relationship between appropriate classroom behavior and academic achievement.
Classroom control and discipline; group contingencies; group reinforcement; behavior management programs; program evaluation; social validation; children
The purpose of this article is to describe the GREAT (Guiding Responsibility and Expectations for Adolescents for Today and Tomorrow) Teacher Program, a prevention program for middle school teachers to deter students' aggressive behavior. It was developed on the basis of an ecologic understanding of aggression and on specific constructs of Social Cognitive Theory. The goals of the program were (1) to increase teacher awareness of different types of aggression, risk factors, role of the classroom teacher, and influence of the school climate on the child's behavior; (2) to develop strategies that will prevent aggression; (3) to improve teacher management skills to reduce power struggles and aggression; and (4) to enhance skills to assist students who are the targets of aggression. To accomplish these goals, teachers participated in a 12-hour workshop and 10 support group sessions. Training, manuals, and supervision were provided to maintain program integrity and to assure the quality of implementation.
Participants were 443 (52.6% male, 47.4% female) ethnically diverse, 1st-grade, lower achieving readers attending 1 of 3 school districts in Texas. Using latent variable structural equation modeling, the authors tested a theoretical model positing that (a) the quality of teachers’ relationships with students and their parents mediates the associations between children’s background characteristics and teacher-rated classroom engagement and that (b) child classroom engagement, in turn, mediates the associations between student–teacher and parent–teacher relatedness and child achievement the following year. The hypothesized model provided a good fit to the data. African American children and their parents, relative to Hispanic and Caucasian children and their parents, had less supportive relationships with teachers. These differences in relatedness may be implicated in African American children’s lower achievement trajectories in the early grades. Implications of these findings for teacher preparation are discussed.
student; teacher relationship; home/school relationship; engagement; achievement; ethnicity
There is growing interest in coaching as a means of promoting professional development and the use of evidence-based practices in schools. This paper describes the PBISplus coaching model used to provide technical assistance for classroom- and school-wide behavior management to elementary schools over the course of three years. This tier-two coaching model was implemented within the context of school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and tested in a 42-school randomized controlled trial. We summarize some of the lessons learned by coaches regarding their efforts to gain access to the administrators, teachers, and student support staff in order to effect change and improve student outcomes. We conclude with a discussion of ways to successfully collaborate with teachers to promote effective classroom- and school-wide behavior management.
coaching; classroom management; Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
This study used hierarchical linear modeling to predict first grade students' peer acceptance, classroom engagement, and sense of school belonging from measures of normative classroom teacher–student support and individual teacher–student support. Participants were 509 (54.4% male) ethnically diverse, first grade children attending one of three Texas School districts (1 urban, 2 small city) who scored below their school district median on a measure of literacy administered at the beginning of first grade. Peer nominations from 5147 classmates were used to assess both normative and individual levels of teacher support. Normative classroom teacher–student support predicted children's peer acceptance and classroom engagement, above the effects of child gender, ethnic minority status, and individual teacher–student support. Results are discussed in terms of implications for teacher preparation and professional development.
Teacher–student relations; Teacher warmth; Peer acceptance; Engagement; School belonging; Elementary students
Schools are adopting evidence-based programs designed to enhance students’ emotional and behavioral competencies at increasing rates (Hemmeter, Snyder, & Artman, 2011). At the same time, teachers express the need for increased support surrounding implementation of these evidence-based programs (Carter & Van Norman, 2010). Ongoing professional development in the form of coaching may enhance teacher skills and implementation (Noell et al., 2005; Stormont, Reinke, Newcomer, Darney, & Lewis, 2012). There exists a need for a coaching model that can be applied to a variety of teacher skill levels and one that guides coach decision-making about how best to support teachers. This article provides a detailed account of a two-phased coaching model with empirical support developed and tested with coaches and teachers in urban schools (Becker, Bradshaw, Domitrovich, & Ialongo, 2013). In the initial universal coaching phase, all teachers receive the same coaching elements regardless of their skill level. Then, in the tailored coaching phase, coaching varies according to the strengths and needs of each teacher. Specifically, more intensive coaching strategies are used only with teachers who need additional coaching supports whereas other teachers receive just enough support to consolidate and maintain their strong implementation. Examples of how coaches used the two-phased coaching model when working with teachers who were implementing two universal prevention programs (i.e., the PATHS® curriculum and PAX Good Behavior Game [PAX GBG]) provide illustrations of the application of this model. The potential reach of this coaching model extends to other school-based programs as well as other settings in which coaches partner with interventionists to implement evidence-based programs.
coaching; prevention; schools; teachers; PATHS; Good Behavior Game
MyTeachingPartner (MTP) is a web-mediated approach that provides ongoing support for teachers to improve the quality of their interactions with children. This study examined the effects of MTP on the preschool language and literacy development of children who are at risk for later academic difficulties. Results of this randomized controlled trial indicated that for English-only classrooms, teachers receiving a high level of support had students who made greater gains in language and literacy skills than teachers who only received access to a curricular supplement. Three implications are drawn from these findings: (1) on-going, video-based consultation holds promise not only for altering teacher-child interactions, but also improving children's learning, (2) technology allows teachers to receive intensive, effective support from a distance, and (3) there is still much to be learned about how professional development can support effective teaching of language and literacy skills to children whose home language is not English.
Four fourth graders with developmental disabilities were trained to recruit teacher attention while they worked on spelling assignments in a general education classroom. The students were taught to show their work to the teacher two to three times per session and to make statements such as, "How am I doing?" or "Look, I'm all finished!" Training was conducted in the special education classroom and consisted of modeling, role playing, error correction, and praise. A multiple baseline across students design showed that recruitment training increased (a) the frequency of students' recruiting, (b) the frequency of teacher praise received by the students, (c) the percentage of worksheet items completed, and (d) the accuracy with which the students completed the spelling assignments.
To examine effects of a teacher consultation and coaching program delivered by school and community mental health professionals on change in observed classroom interactions and child functioning across one school year.
Thirty-six classrooms within five urban elementary schools (87% Latino, 11% Black) were randomly assigned to intervention (training + consultation/coaching) and control (training only) conditions. Classroom and child outcomes (n = 364; 43% girls) were assessed in the fall and spring.
Random effects regression models showed main effects of intervention on teacher-student relationship closeness, academic self-concept, and peer victimization. Results of multiple regression models showed levels of observed teacher emotional support in the fall moderated intervention impact on emotional support at the end of the school year.
Results suggest teacher consultation and coaching can be integrated within existing mental health activities in urban schools and impact classroom effectiveness and child adaptation across multiple domains.
classroom intervention; mental health; child behavior; teacher practice; elementary school
We investigated the effects of My Teaching Partner—Secondary (MTP-S), a teacher professional development intervention, on students’ peer relationships in middle and high school classrooms. MTP-S targets increasing teachers’ positive interactions with students and sensitive instructional practices and has demonstrated improvements in students’ academic achievement and motivation. The current study tested the prediction from systems theory that effects of MTP-S on students would extend beyond the academic domain—that is, the ecology of teachers’ behaviors towards students should also influence the ecology of students’ behaviors towards one another. Participants were 88 teachers (43 randomly assigned to MTP-S and 45 assigned to a control group that received the regular professional development offerings in their school) and 1423 students in their classrooms. Observations and student self-report of classroom peer interactions were collected at the start and at the end of the course. Results indicated that in MTP-S classrooms, students were observed to show improvement in positive peer interactions, although this pattern was not found in self-report data. However, moderation analyses suggested that for students with high disruptive behavior at the start of the course, teacher participation in MTP-S mitigated a typical decline towards poorer self-reported peer relationships. The relevance of findings for the social ecology of classrooms is discussed.
Many short-duration science outreach interventions have important societal goals of raising science literacy and increasing the size and diversity of the science workforce. Yet, these long-term outcomes are inherently challenging to evaluate. We present findings from a qualitative research study of an inquiry-based, life science outreach program to K–12 classrooms that is typical in design and excellent in execution. By considering this program as a best case of a common outreach model, the “scientist in the classroom,” the study examines what benefits may be realized for each participant group and how they are achieved. We find that K–12 students are engaged in authentic, hands-on activities that generate interest in science and new views of science and scientists. Teachers learn new science content and new ways to teach it, and value collegial support of their professional work. Graduate student scientists, who are the program presenters, gain teaching and other skills, greater understanding of education and diversity issues, confidence and intrinsic satisfaction, and career benefits. A few negative outcomes also are described. Program elements that lead to these benefits are identified both from the research findings and from insights of the program developer on program design and implementation choices.
Parent involvement in a child's education is consistently found to be positively associated with a child's academic performance. However, there has been little investigation of the mechanisms that explain this association. The present study examines two potential mechanisms of this association: the child's perception of cognitive competence and the quality of the student-teacher relationship. This study used a sample of 158 seven-year old participants, their mothers, and their teachers. Results indicated a statistically significant association between parent involvement and a child's academic performance, over and above the impact of the child's intelligence. A multiple mediation model indicated that the child's perception of cognitive competence fully mediated the relation between parent involvement and the child's performance on a standardized achievement test. The quality of the student-teacher relationship fully mediated the relation between parent involvement and teacher ratings of the child's classroom academic performance. Limitations, future research directions, and implications for public policy initiatives were discussed.
Parent Involvement; academic performance; student-teacher relationships
This study is aimed at assessing special education teachers' attitudes toward teaching pupils with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and at determining the role of variables associated with a positive attitude towards the children and their education. Sixty-nine special education teachers were interviewed. The interview included two multiple-choice Likert-type questionnaires, one about teachers' attitude, and another about teachers' perceived needs in relation to the specific education of the pupil with ASD. The study shows a positive view of teachers' expectations regarding the education of pupils with ASD. A direct logistic regression analysis was performed testing for experience with the child, school relationship with an ASD network and type of school (mainstream or special) as potential predictors. Although all three variables are useful in predicting special education teachers' attitudes, the most relevant was the relationship with an ASD network. Need for information and social support are the relatively highest needs expressed by teachers.
Research suggests that early classroom experiences influence the socialization of aggression. Tracking changes in the aggressive behavior of 4179 children from kindergarten to second-grade (ages 5–8) this study examined the impact of two important features of the classroom context–aggregate peer aggression and climates characterized by supportive teacher-student interactions. The aggregate aggression scores of children assigned to first-grade classrooms predicted the level of classroom aggression (assessed by teacher ratings) and quality of classroom climate (assessed by observers) that emerged by the end of grade 1. HLM analyses revealed that first-grade classroom aggression and quality of classroom climate made independent contributions to changes in student aggression, as students moved from kindergarten to second grade. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
This experiment was designed to determine the relative effectiveness of teacher and counselling approaches in the reduction of disruptive or inappropriate classroom behavior. Inappropriate classroom behavior frequencies of 12 academically low achieving, seventh-grade, black male students, with a reported high rate of inappropriate classroom behavior, were recorded. Three groups, with nearly equal mean inappropriate behaviors, were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: behavioral counselling, client-centered counselling, or no counselling. Each counselling group received fifteen 30-minute counselling sessions, at a rate of two to three times a week. In addition to counselling, all students subsequently received teacher approval within the classroom. Results indicated that the teacher was able to reduce inappropriate behavior more than any counselling group. There were also indications that behavioral counselling, but not client-centered counselling, was moderately helpful in reducing inappropriate classroom behavior.