Is positive child guidance research based?
When the system isn’t working:
- In a recent report “Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary Classroom,” by the Institute of Education Sciences: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (2008), the authors reported that an “estimated one-third of students fail to learn because of psychosocial problems that interfere with their ability to fully attend to and engage in instructional activities, prompting a call for ‘new directions for addressing barriers to learning” (Adelman and Taylor, 2005, p. 5).
- In a review of the research, authors Osher, Bear, Sprague, and Doyle (2010) noted that “punitive approaches to discipline have been linked to antisocial behavior” (p. 48).
There is a better way:
- Based on the above review, the authors proposed an “ecological approach” that focused teachers’ attention on creating a positive environment that promoted “cooperation, engagement, and motivation rather than compliance, control, and coercion” (p. 49). It was generally concluded that “well managed classrooms support academic achievement and … the ecological framework has been associated with success” (p. 49).
- “Research also supports the importance of …supportive relations between teachers and students, as well as developing positive peer relationships. Under such conditions, students are more likely to internalize school values, exhibit on-task behavior, exhibit less oppositional and antisocial behavior, and have fewer conflicts with teachers and peers. Social supports and relationships are particularly important for children at greatest risk for school disengagement and problem behaviors (p. 51& 52).
- Connectedness, a positive peer climate, safety, and authentic challenges are essential conditions for learning (p. 53).
The research is clear: “Effective teacher-student interactions CAN mitigate the achievement gap!”
- The authors of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), from the University of Virginia, devised an instrument that measures the emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support of quality classrooms (www.class.teachstone.org
- CLASS measures:
- Teacher Sensitivity
- Regard for Student Perspectives
- Behavior Management
- Instructional Learning Formats
- Concept Development
- Quality of Feedback
- Language Modeling
- Literacy Focus
- The research conducted in over 3000 PK-3rd grade classrooms concluded that children in classrooms with higher CLASS ratings realized greater gains in academic achievement and positive social skill development.
- Positive and supportive teacher-child interactions were the catalysts to creating positive and caring classrooms.
- High levels of emotional support were associated with reading and math achievement from K-3rd grade.
- Kindergartners experienced more social competencies, improved early literacy, and more self control.
- Sadly, in a study of over 800 children, only 10% were enrolled in positive learning environments; children from low income families were less likely to experience positive teacher-student interactions.
Therefore, it is essential that we establish positive learning environments in all of our classrooms, if we want each child to perceive him/herself to be a competent and confident learner.
Positive child guidance is the first step towards academic success.
Osher, D, Bear, G., Sprague, J., and Doyle, W. (2010). How Can We Improve School Discipline? Educational
Researcher. AERA. 39 (1) p. 48-58.
(c) Dr. Lynn Staley