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Classroom managemnt students

  1. 1. ANALYZING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES, STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT SCORES, AND TEACHERS’ ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS IN DIVERSE ELEMENTARY SETTINGS by Dusty Hill Moore JACKSON “SKOT” BEAZLEY, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor and Chair LISA REASON, Ph.D., Committee Member CHERYL BULLOCK, Ph.D., Committee Member Harry McLenighan, Ed.D., Dean, School of Education A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Capella University May 2008
  2. 2. 3307900 3307900 2008 Copyright 2008 by Moore, Dusty All rights reserved
  3. 3. © Dusty Hill Moore, 2008
  4. 4. Abstract Twenty-first century classrooms are different from twentieth-century classrooms (Spring, 2005). Diverse student populations, students with disabilities mainstreamed in regular classrooms, and violent students challenge many of today’s teachers who have received little or no training teaching these students. Specifically, many of today’s teachers possess minimal classroom management strategies and teaching methodologies that best promote student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). While political attention on student achievement continues to rise, many teachers strive to adhere to legislation by closing achievement gaps with out-dated teaching methodologies and inadequate management skills (Armstrong, 2006). Teachers do the best they can with the skills they have, but are their skills academically effective? Do they use classroom management strategies that increase student achievement scores? Furthermore, do teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities match their actual classroom practices? Specifically, do teachers teach students the way they think or believe they teach students? This study addresses these questions to identify relationships between the variables and to identify their effects on achievement scores. In this study, teachers who consistently met academic benchmarks were considered to be effective, and it was clear that some classroom management strategies, attitudes, and beliefs affected student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. By comparing responses to the Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory and data collected on observation checklists, this study determined that relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices were nominal. Additionally, it showed that teachers with the best classroom management practices had higher student
  5. 5. achievement scores than teachers with weaker classroom management strategies. This study implemented quantitative and ethnographic research methods, which included emic and etic perspectives, to collect data. This data helped reveal the impact of effective classroom management strategies on student achievement scores, provided teachers with conclusive evidence about their teaching attitudes and beliefs, and revealed personal teaching behaviors that supported the need for professional development training with teachers in diverse elementary settings that may potentially improve teacher efficacy and cultivate student achievement.
  6. 6. iii Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my loving grandmother, Ruby Lee Fauscett, and the rest of my family, including Sir Jose, and friends whose continued patience, support, and unconditional love made completing this project possible.
  7. 7. iv Acknowledgements This dissertation is a direct result of the contributions of my family, friends, and Capella faculty members who sustained me through this process. At this time I would like to pay homage and say thanks to the many people who traveled along this amazing journey with me, showed kindness, generosity, and unconditional support. First and foremost, I must thank God for the mental ability and patience to endure this process. Without many answered prayers, this dream would not be a reality. To my Dissertation Chair and mentor, Dr. Skot Beazley, for his relentless patience and willingness to share his time, energy, and knowledge through this journey. His guidance and timely feedback was priceless. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be his mentee. To my other committee members, Dr’s. Casey and Lisa Reason and Dr. Cheryl Bullock, I applaud your efforts and appreciate your timeless efforts in helping me attain a life changing milestone that I thought at one time would not be possible. To my mother, Judy Simmon, for always comforting me and drying the tears that accompanied this project. To my step-father Gary Simmon for making Phoenix business and pleasure. To my father Ron Hill and step-mother Sherry Hill, for supporting me along the way and supplying me with the right resources. To Tracy, for enduring the madness and supporting me till the end. To Dave Goldsman, my statistician. Your incalculable knowledge and support will never be forgotten. To Tasha, Keri, Karen, Kelly, Gee, and Stacey for being my backbone through this process. Your friendship and continued support will live with me forever.
  8. 8. v Table of Contents Acknowledgements iv List of Tables viii List of Figures ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction 1 Background of the Study 3 Statement of the Problem 8 Significance of the Study 10 Purpose of the Study 10 Rationale 11 Research Questions 13 Hypotheses 13 Study Variables 14 Definition of Terms 15 Assumptions 16 Limitations 17 Nature of the Study 18 Organization of the Remainder of the Study 20 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 21 Introduction 21 History of Classroom Management 21 Bureaucratic Discipline 23
  9. 9. vi Twentieth-Century Classroom Management 25 Twentieth-Century Home/School Dyads 26 What is Classroom Management? 29 Traditional Discipline Strategies 31 Assertive Discipline 34 Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs About Teaching 39 Educating Diverse Populations 43 Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement 47 Theoretical Framework 55 Summary 59 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 62 Introduction 62 Statement of the Problem 62 Purpose of the Study 64 Design of the study 64 Population 67 Instrumentation 67 Data Collection 74 Data Analysis 76 Ethical Considerations 77 CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 78 Introduction 78 Restatement of the Problem 79
  10. 10. vii Research Questions 81 Cohort Demographic Data 81 Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control Inventory Overview 83 Statistical Overview of Research Question 1 84 Management Behaviors Chosen By Top Teachers 88 Statistical Overview of Research Question 2 89 Summary 92 CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 94 Summary of Methods and Procedures 95 Summary, Interpretations, and Procedures 98 Overall Implications and Conclusions 103 Strengths and Limitations 105 Implications of Practice 107 Future Directions 108 Conclusion 110 REFERENCES 113 APPENDIX A: Class Summary Report Examples 118 APPENDIX B: ABCC Inventory 119 APPENDIX C: Classroom Management Observation Checklist 121 APPENDIX D: Fitted Line Plots for Observation Checklist Data 123
  11. 11. viii List of Tables Table 1. Demographic Data for Participating Schools 82 Table 2. Cohort 3 Demographics 83 Table 3. Cohort 5 Demographics 83 Table 4. Analysis of Variance for Observation Checklists 85 Table 5. Consistency Scores between Observation Checklists and ABCC 91 Inventories
  12. 12. ix List of Figures Appendix D: Fitted Line Plots for Observation Checklists 123 Figure D1: Teacher uses proximity control 123 Figure D2: Teacher praises students 123 Figure D3: Teacher has positive attitude 124 Figure D4: Supplies readily available 124 Figure D5: Teacher has everyone’s attention before beginning lessons 125 Figure D6: Teacher calls on a wide variety of learners for answers 125 Figure D7: Students who finish work early know what to do next 126 Figure D8: Student noise level is maintained 126 Figure D9: Positive teacher/student interactions 127 Figure D10: Class climate is comfortable 127 Figure D11: Student follows rules in common areas such as halls, restrooms, cafeterias, etc. 128 Figure D12: Student disruptions handled quickly and timely 128 Figure D13: Teacher uses higher order thinking level questions 129
  13. 13. 1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem Popular belief among many administrators, teachers, and parents is that a quality education depends on curriculum content, school programs that support and enrich curricula implementation, and the quality of teaching occurring in classrooms (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). However, many teachers are entering classrooms without in-depth content knowledge, poor classroom management strategies, negative attitudes, and minimal skills to thwart disruptive behavior that impedes learning and minimizes student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Mahon, 2006). Some researchers have found that novice teachers, and many veteran teachers, admit they lack effective classroom management skills and student motivation tactics that endorse learning (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006). Do these findings suggest that today’s teachers need these skills in order to increase student achievement? Kohn (1999) and Cameron and Sheppard (2006) believe that effective classroom management is crucial to teaching, learning, and student achievement. Their research indicates that teachers who are unable to grasp students’ attention and involve them in vast instructional activities are teaching ineffectively. Additionally, Boynton and Boynton (2005) believe that ineffective classroom management skills can waste instructional time, reduce time-on-task, and interrupt learning environments. To teach effectively and impact learning, Darling-Hammond (2003) believes that teachers must be well prepared and properly trained in classroom dynamics, such as classroom management and pedagogy, to strongly influence student achievement.
  14. 14. 2 In the past, the term classroom management could be defined as a way to ensure students complied with teacher demands (Spring, 2005). Kohn (1999) believes it was teacher directed and driven by negative beliefs about students. However, in modern terms, classroom management is summarized by some researchers as a comprehensive term used to describe the encapsulation of the actions and strategies that teachers implement to involve students in learning, how efficiently they use instructional time, provide optimal learning experiences, maintain safe and orderly environments, manage student behavior, and form cohesive learning relationships (Emmer, Evertson, & Worsham, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006; Kohn, 1999). Armstrong (2006) believes that teachers have an enormous influence on classroom dynamics, but he also believes that well managed classrooms with student-centered goals contribute to developing holistic educational environments that promote student achievement. He also believes that not all teachers are equipped with appropriate strategies to manage diverse classrooms or build holistic cultures conducive to improving student achievement. Glasser (1998) supports Armstrong’s (2006) statements by conveying that more and more teachers believe they are not to blame for poor school discipline, habitual classroom disruptions, and decreasing achievement scores. He also states that teachers increasingly blame students for their behavior and that students choose to be disruptive, but Kohn (1999) believes many teachers fail to recognize the possibility that their classroom management strategies may need to be evaluated instead of students’ misbehavior. To support Glasser, Kohn stresses that many times the teachers’ corrective requests may need to be analyzed rather than continuing to explore why students do not comply with
  15. 15. 3 requests. Analyzing discipline requests may compel teachers to keep an open mind about classroom management and personal practices. Background of the Study Improving America’s public schools is a dilemma perplexing citizens, politicians, administrators, parents, and teachers (Armstrong, 2006). Furthermore, monitoring improvement using high-stakes testing has intensified demands on teachers to increase test scores and improve student achievement (Armstrong, 2006). However, some teachers are better at facilitating student growth and managing classrooms than their colleagues. How are some teachers able to increase student achievement scores and practice classroom management better than other teachers? This question has penetrated educational research for decades in the quest to examine factors such as teacher behaviors, personality, attitudes and beliefs, self-efficacy, student efficacy, motivation, content knowledge, and pedagogies to better understand dynamics in teacher/student dyads (Malm & Lofgren, 2006). Additionally, Glickman (2002) adds that teacher behaviors are reflected in attitudes and beliefs about teaching and classroom management, which he believes can effect student achievement. Some researchers believe that teachers adopt instructional methodologies and classroom management strategies that mirror how they were taught and disciplined (Goddard, Hoy & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2000; McCormack, Gore & Thomas, 2006). However, instructional methodologies and discipline strategies designed for younger generations may not be effective with today’s students or students from culturally diverse populations. In fact, Everhart and Vaugh (2005) believe that a “one-size-fits-all
  16. 16. 4 pedagogical model” and the use of ineffective, traditional classroom management strategies are contributing to chronic, habitual behavior disruptions and lower student achievement scores (p. 222). Also, Everhart and Vaugh (2005) purport that many of today’s teachers lack experience teaching in diverse settings and have little to no knowledge about proper methodologies that increase student achievement in culturally diverse schools. Interestingly, in 1994, Everhart’s field research found that urban teachers focus more on management, while suburban teachers “emphasized instructional outcomes,” but the ethnicity and cultural backgrounds of the students were not disclosed (Everhart & Vaugh, 2005, p. 224). In other research, a 1998 survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 71% of teachers surveyed indicated they were well prepared to handle classroom discipline problems, while only 21% of the teachers reported being well prepared to address the needs of culturally diverse students (NCES, 1998). However, Parsad, Lewis, and Farris (2000) conducted a survey that highlighted teacher preparedness in classroom dynamics that revealed different percentages for teachers in both areas. Their survey revealed that only 45% of teachers felt well prepared in classroom management strategies, while 41% felt well prepared to teach students from culturally diverse backgrounds. The data from the 2000 survey clearly shows that teachers felt less prepared to handle classroom discipline demands than in the 1998 survey, but believed they were more prepared to teach culturally diverse students. Unfortunately, it was not clear if the same survey instruments were used in both studies or if the same group of teachers were resurveyed. Overall, lacking classroom management skills and teaching methodologies that promote academic achievement for
  17. 17. 5 culturally diverse students can possibly cause students to miss achievement benchmarks, which may create even larger achievement gaps between the “schoolhouse world” and the “real world” than what already exists in test scores among minority students (Armstrong, 2006, p. 90). The teacher’s role in public education sectors has changed considerably since the beginning of educational institutions (Spring, 2005). In the past, teachers could be defined as knowledge transmitters and behavior controllers (Spring, 2005). Teachers used memorization methods to enhance learning, while using humiliation, nagging, embarrassment, coercion, and scare tactics to intimidate students into compliance (Spring, 2005). Fortunately, in many of today’s classrooms, classroom management no longer encompasses traditional behavior management strategies, such as paddling, verbal threats, or the punitive actions listed above. Instead, Cameron and Sheppard (2006) and Miller and Pedro (2006) believe that the most effective teachers are those who manage their classrooms by focusing on the whole child and use more assertive tactics. These include improving social skills among, between, and with students, teaching life tasks, character education, moral education, spending individual time with every student, and showing respect for students’ feelings about personal experiences or traumatic life events. Teachers who implement these practices in their classrooms validate students’ feelings and thoughts, which foster emotionally safe and optimal learning environments (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Very few teachers are able to manifest techniques associated with teaching whole child concepts in emotionally safe classroom environments, and a low percentage of classrooms have teachers who are sympathetic, supportive, or equipped with effective
  18. 18. 6 classroom management practices that minimize behavior disruptions (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Furthermore, they are unaware of various teaching methodologies that increase learning and academic achievement for all students. Although the term academic achievement is familiar terminology in many American public education realms, Armstrong (2006) believes that academic achievement became “the cornerstone of U.S. education” during the nineteenth-century when The Committee of Ten determined that college bound students had different academic needs from those who planned not to attend college (p. 18). Despite the differences among the two sets of students, The Committee of Ten recommended that curriculum adhere to a college preparatory format in an attempt to provide everyone with a common education and similar skills for future social dynamics. Spring (2005) adds that because more wealthy children attended college than poorer children, The Committee of Ten argued against varying courses of study to eliminate the possibility of “creating a class system of education” (p. 246). During the nineteenth-century, college-bound and non college-bound students were offered equitable educational courses, but it was not until the twentieth-century that standardized testing became an icon in public schools. Since the inception of Thorndike’s first standardized achievement test in 1909, a mass use of standardized measures have engrossed public schools to quantify student achievement on academic standards (Armstrong, 2006). During the wide-spread development of standardized tests and the government’s involvement in the national assessment system, the term accountability evolved in educational realms. Spring (2005) believes the accountability movement was an attempt to regain community control of schools and end educational discriminatory practices towards minorities. Additionally, he states that although communities often
  19. 19. 7 lacked sufficient knowledge to make decisions about professional education practices, the schools listened and were responsive to public concerns. As the accountability movement began to spread through the 1970s, local communities and many states required schools to publish their annual achievement test scores. Under close scrutiny, behavioral objectives were accentuated. Emphasizing the use of behavioral objectives soon became linked to classroom instruction, classroom management, and student achievement (Spring, 2005). Inevitably, since the accountability movement increased teacher responsibility, Goddard, Hoy, and Woolfolk- Hoy (2000) believed that some teachers would try to control student learning instead of supporting autonomous learning. Controlling students’ learning and behavior may be interpreted by some as a form of discipline. Without minimizing student achievement concerns, Cotton (2001) believes discipline has become “the most serious problem facing the nation’s educational system” (p. 1). In fact, Cameron and Sheppard (2006) support Cotton and claim that non- instructional activities account for up to one-half of classroom time, with discipline interruptions responsible for an extensive portion of those activities. Ultimately, they believe that teachers’ inabilities to control classrooms contribute to lost instructional time and lower student achievement. One of the goals of this study was to identify and examine relationships between classroom management strategies and high student achievement scores.
  20. 20. 8 Statement of the Problem It is not known how and to what extent classroom management strategies and teacher attitudes affect student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Kohn (1999) purports that classroom management may be linked to student achievement because managing styles are reflected in teacher behaviors and performances, are related to teacher stress, and procure learning. As mentioned earlier, a survey conducted in 2000 by Parsad, Lewis and Farris revealed that only 45% of teachers they surveyed felt well prepared in classroom management strategies, but a 1999 survey conducted by the NCES revealed that 71% of surveyed teachers felt well prepared in classroom management strategies. The 26% reduction in teacher efficacy can be interpreted to mean that many teachers may need professional development in classroom management strategies to minimize student disruptions, effectively handle discipline problems, and foster student achievement. Many of today’s teachers have not received appropriate training in classroom management tactics or discipline strategies (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Cameron and Sheppard purport that many teachers may not be aware of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of classroom management strategies they implement in their classrooms. In fact, the researchers believe that some classroom management strategies may encourage unwanted behaviors, especially from students who have no interest in learning or do not want to be at school. Many times, these students can be disruptive and interrupt critical instructional time. When these interruptions occur, many teachers use positive reinforcements or rewards to temporarily cease unwanted behaviors (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Kohn, 1999). To reinforce behavior, Kohn (1999) believes teachers
  21. 21. 9 should use “social rewards” such as smiles or nods to emit personal value or self- confidence and stop rewarding appropriate behavior with tangible, extrinsic rewards (p. 31). Also, he stresses that using punitive, demeaning responses never help students become better people, and he strongly concurs with Skinner’s argument (as presented in Kohn, 1999) that when most teachers punish students for misbehaving, they usually focus on negative behaviors and rarely reflect on positive behaviors that can replace negative behaviors. Canter and Canter (2001) concur with Skinner’s argument (as presented in Kohn, 1999). Therefore, to help eliminate negative behavior focus, they incorporated communicating about positive behaviors and future choices as tenets of assertive discipline. Canter and Canter (2001) believe that assertive discipline is an effective practice for teachers because it helps identify motivations behind inappropriate behaviors that occur at that moment without focusing on past behaviors. However, Kohn (1999) opposes assertive discipline and argues that it attributes all classroom problems to the students, bases punishment on their “choices,” and places no demand on teachers to change or review their discipline methods or actions (p. 165). Additionally, he states that guidance towards appropriate behaviors, reasoning about misbehavior, and discipline discussions rarely occur or they are often omitted. For these reasons, Kohn (1999) believes that many discipline and punishment tactics provoke resentment and defiance, which can ultimately lead to rebellious behavior, lost instructional time, and lower student achievement.
  22. 22. 10 Significance of the Study This research study was conducted to better understand relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, as well as, relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. The use of effective classroom management strategies is believed to increase student achievement by focusing on safe, social learning environments (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Acquiring new knowledge about relationships between effective classroom managers, teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, and student achievement not only contributes to the education field, but also allows central-office and school-level administrators to examine individual teaching practices, gather information for future professional development, build positive school cultures, and promote safe learning environments that augment teacher improvement and student achievement. Overall, this study proved that there is a slight positive relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores. Additionally, it proved that there were not strong relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices. In the end, results from this study provided administrators with data that could enhance school improvement efforts, allowed teachers to analyze and evaluate their attitudes, beliefs, and practices, improve pedagogies, and better manage diverse twenty-first century classrooms. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to (a) examine the relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores and (b) examine the relationship
  23. 23. 11 between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual classroom practices or behaviors. The overall goals of this study were to (a) determine if classroom teachers with high student achievement scores used certain classroom management strategies researchers have found to increase student achievement and (b) to determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities match their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. This study investigated classroom management strategies of teachers with high summative nationally-normed standardized achievement test scores and teachers with low summative nationally-normed standardized achievement test scores to determine if teachers with higher summative scores were more effective classroom managers and had better attitudes than teachers with lower summative scores. The findings of this study allowed school-level administrators to formulate data driven decisions about professional development that can potentially improve classroom management skills and teacher instruction that increases student achievement, while simultaneously meeting national mandates and expanding school improvement plans. Rationale The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 requires schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) by consecutively meeting academic benchmark goals until all students “reach 100% proficiency” in reading and math (Armstrong, 2006, p. 8). The pressure to achieve 100% proficiency in reading and math requires many administrators and teachers to analyze and evaluate school policies and procedures, test data, teacher quality, effectiveness, and classroom practices (Armstrong, 2006).
  24. 24. 12 Armstrong believes high-stakes testing data has become the proficiency measure for identifying student achievement, effective teachers, and quality schools. He further states that this data increases teacher accountability for academic learning and can help identify strong and weak teachers. In fact, recent research has identified relationships between effective classroom management and academic achievement (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000; Wolfgang, 2001; Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006). Cameron and Sheppard (2006) revealed in their recent research that many teachers are not aware of the effects of their classroom management strategies on students or academic achievement, nor are they equipped with various discipline strategies to use with difficult or diverse students. Not all students respond to similar disciplinary tactics; therefore, Boynton and Boynton (2005) believe some students may need more traditional discipline strategies while other students may need more assertive discipline strategies. This study was conducted because of increased local and national concern about academic achievement gaps and a growing trepidation of teacher quality. This study implemented a third grade cohort and a fifth grade cohort from two Georgia suburban elementary schools that represented the district’s growing diverse populations that include high percentages of disadvantaged students, English Language Learners (ELL), Black, Asian, and Hispanic students. These demographics may challenge some teachers who are not prepared to effectively teach or manage such diverse student populations. However, this study revealed that a few teachers effectively managed diverse student populations and incorporated appropriate classroom management strategies that researchers believe raise achievement scores among diverse learners.
  25. 25. 13 When this study was completed, administrators and teachers had improved understandings of how classroom management strategies, teacher attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions impacted student achievement scores in their diverse elementary settings. Also, administrators better understood how potential professional development could help teachers expand management skills with diverse students and possibly ensure student achievement. In the end, professional development opportunities that can expand teachers’ professional repertoires associated with classroom management and teaching methodologies were recommended to increase teacher quality and student achievement among diverse populations. Research Questions The following research questions have been formulated for this study: 1. What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings? Hypotheses The following hypotheses have been formulated for this study: H1: There is a relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores. H2: Effective classroom managers teach cognitive and social skills that reflect students from all cultures on varying skill levels.
  26. 26. 14 H3: Effective classroom managers implement similar classroom management strategies that promote student achievement. H4: Teachers are confident about their teaching practices with diverse students. H5: Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities in diverse elementary settings match their actual teaching practices. Study Variables The first independent variable for this research study was classroom management strategies. Teachers use numerous classroom management strategies to control their classrooms. It was hypothesized that the type of classroom management strategies used by effective teachers are similar and contributes to student achievement, while classroom management strategies used by ineffective teachers are similar and do not contribute to student achievement. Therefore, it was believed that classroom management strategies would impact student achievement scores. The second independent variable for this research study was third and fifth grade teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their personal teaching abilities. It was hypothesized that the most effective classroom teachers believe their teaching skills and abilities are efficient, enjoy teaching and learning, and use methodologies and classroom management strategies that promote social and cognitive learning while ineffective teachers use punitive classroom management strategies and implement minimal teaching methodologies. Therefore, it was believed that teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities would match actual classroom practices and impact student achievement scores.
  27. 27. 15 The dependent variable for this research study was teachers’ 2007-2008 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) summative grade equivalent (GE) score. This score was needed to rank teachers’ classes from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class and to evaluate the class’s overall student achievement growth. This data provided quantifiable numbers that later helped statistically identify correlations between effective classroom management strategies and high student achievement scores. Definition of Terms The following terms are specifically defined for this study: Academic Achievement. Students’ concepts, knowledge, and skills in reading, math, science, and social studies content areas (Wilde, 2004). Accountability. The NCLB provision for state public schools to describe how they intend to close achievement gaps among disadvantaged students and minorities to ensure they achieve “academic proficiency” (U.S. Department of Education, 2003, p. 1). Behavior. Observable individual actions which serve as a mean for functioning in particular environments (Kohn, 1999). Benchmark. A standard used to evaluate student growth (Wilde, 2004). Classroom Management. Teaching strategies used to cultivate teaching, learning, and discipline in classrooms (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Cognitive Domain. Information processing of the brain’s intellectual systems to form concepts that aid in rationalizing ideas and understandings about how the world works (Pratt, 2000).
  28. 28. 16 Data. Facts, figures, statistics, records, and information that are known from which conclusions can be generated (Marzano, 2007). Discipline. Consequences intended to correct misbehavior (Kohn, 1999). Effective Teachers. Teachers who are believed to possess skills and knowledge needed to improve student academic achievement (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Ineffective Teachers. Teachers who are not believed to possess skills and knowledge needed to improve student academic achievement (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Punishment. Imposing unpleasant consequences on students as a response to disobedient behavior (Spring, 2005). Social Domain. Students of different backgrounds and cultures interacting in learning environments to form relationships and associations among people (Pratt, 2000). Assumptions The following assumptions are reflected in this study: 1. Classroom teachers use classroom management strategies. 2. Classroom teachers use teaching methodologies. 3. Classroom management strategies minimize behavior disruptions. 4. Classroom teachers are knowledgeable in subject content areas. 5. Classroom teachers are familiar with cognitive and social domains. 6. Classroom teachers treat all students morally and respectfully. 7. Teachers use different classroom management strategies for difficult students. 8. Teachers have set classroom discipline plans and students are aware of the consequences for misbehavior.
  29. 29. 17 9. Teachers have positive attitudes about teaching and students. Limitations The following limitations are inherent in this research study: 1. This study was limited to 10 third grade and nine fifth grade teachers in two Georgia suburban public elementary schools. 2. Teachers may spend a significant portion of time implementing discipline strategies. This study does not focus on the total amount of time teachers spend on classroom discipline strategies. 3. This study was limited to classroom management practices implemented in one hour during one regular school day. 4. As an undergraduate, many teachers may have taken classroom management courses. This study does not reflect college course material pertaining to classroom management. 5. This study focused on classroom management skills and did not reveal how school-wide discipline programs effect classroom management or student achievement. 6. Teachers may have graduate degrees or professional development credit in classroom management, but this study does not focus on advanced teaching degrees or professional development courses taken to improve classroom management strategies or teaching methodologies.
  30. 30. 18 7. Teachers may use numerous classroom management strategies with students. However, this study only addressed the classroom management strategies used by the participants during observations. 8. Due to extensive daily duties, teachers may not promptly return surveys. 9. With internal pressures and increased paperwork on today’s teachers, participation may be minimal. Nature of the Study This research study incorporated a mixed-methodology approach to collect data and determine relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, as well as, relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Teachers’ 2007-2008 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) summative grade equivalent scores were used to numerically rank 10 third grade and nine fifth grade teachers’ classes from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class within their grade levels. After teachers were ranked, they completed an Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory that included twenty-six items to score with a 4- point Likert Scale developed by Martin, Yin, and Baldwin (1998). The inventory measured aspects of teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about their classroom management practices. Teachers marked responses between 1 and 4 depending on how close each statement described their classroom practices, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. The number 1 indicated the statement describes me not at all, the number 2 indicated the statement describes me somewhat, the number 3 indicated the statement describes me
  31. 31. 19 usually, and the number 4 indicated the statement describes me very well (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). More specifically, the instrument measured three separate dimensions of classroom management. Fourteen of the instrument’s items reflected Instructional Management, eight items reflected People Management, and only four items reflected Behavior Management (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). According to Martin, Yin, and Baldwin the 14 inventory items pertaining to Instructional Management include “monitoring seatwork, structuring daily routines, and allocating materials” (p. 7). The eight inventory items relevant to People Management “pertains to what teachers believe about students as persons and what teachers do to develop the teacher-student relationship” (p. 7). Finally, the four items pertaining to Behavioral Management include “setting rules, establishing a reward structure, and providing opportunities for student input” (p. 7). Once teachers returned their inventories, they were observed teaching in their classrooms to collect real-time data about classroom management strategies implemented during instruction to maintain control over learning environments. This data was analyzed and evaluated for positive correlations or relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices. Essentially, the ABCC Inventory responses were analyzed for comparisons to classroom observations for possible correlations, or relationships, and consistencies between the researcher’s observations and teachers’ responses on their ABCC Inventories. Overall, by taking a humanistic and social approach towards the effectiveness of classroom management on student achievement, this study revealed the impact of some classroom management strategies on student achievement scores and identified minimal relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and
  32. 32. 20 their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Receiving a quality education in today’s schools may be the overall objective for many parents, teachers, and administrators. But, poor teacher quality, nominal teaching methodologies, negative attitudes, and a lack of classroom management skills may be hindering students from reaching their highest potentials. In the end, the nature of this study was to identify relationships between the variables. This study’s results identified relationships between the variables that potentially affect student achievement scores and teacher efficacy in diverse elementary settings. Organization of the Remainder of the Study The remainder of this study is divided as follows: Chapter 2 presents a literature review of historical and modern classroom teaching effectiveness, how classroom management strategies have evolved over the years, and describes what quality teaching means and looks like. The chapter concludes with discussions about classroom management theories grounded in traditional and assertive discipline practices, research surrounding teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about educational practices, educating diverse populations, teacher effectiveness and student achievement, and teaching perspectives. Chapter 3 presents the research methodologies used during data collection and instrumentation. Chapter 4 presents the study’s results and statistical data. Chapter 5 summarizes research findings, discusses relevant conclusions, highlights implications, and recommends future educational studies.
  33. 33. 21 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The literature review examines critical research on classroom management, teacher attitudes and beliefs, student achievement, and educating diverse populations. The review discusses the following sections: history of classroom management as it has evolved, classroom management as defined by current literature, traditional and assertive discipline practices that help facilitate learning and minimize disruptions, research surrounding teacher attitudes and beliefs, educating diverse populations, teacher effectiveness as it relates to student achievement, and teaching perspectives. History of Classroom Management In the early nineteenth-century, Americans were enthralled with the idea that public institutions could create good people and in turn create good societies (Spring, 2005). This way of thinking made it possible for educators and leaders to envision a common schooling system that would reform society. Ultimately, it was believed that public institutions created moral, political citizens, and conducted social reformations. As these institutions grew, charity schools developed. Charity schools’ impetus was to correct problems arising out of parental failure and to develop moral character. Furthermore, they were to protect students from exposure to criminal contacts and immoral education practices (Spring, 2005). Charity schools were cheaper to maintain and they used the Lancasterian Monitorial System, which allowed advanced students to teach less advanced students (Spring, 2005). This concept allowed everyone to participate
  34. 34. 22 in the education process. Additionally, school masters, or teachers, could educate vast numbers of students at once in large communal areas, while order was maintained by monitors. Classes competed against other classes, students were seated in communal areas by level, and students who were ranked higher than other students were given specific seating positions in their classes (Spring, 2005). Theoretically, Lancaster’s system was sound for students, but quality teachers needed to manage this system were scarce. At the time, many teachers working in the system were young, female, and not trained to handle the number of students they were educating (Spring, 2005). Furthermore, men were considered to be unable to teach, because they lacked “emotional qualities” and relied too heavily on reason (Spring, 2005, p. 154). In the end, despite the fact that the majority of teachers were female and few quality teachers existed, the vast number of students participating in the system may have been what caused it to fail. Discipline, obedience, and order used in the Lancasterian system were supposed to sustain moral learning. Since the system prohibited corporal punishment, rewards systems, lighter punishments, and student promotions were being utilized (Spring, 2005). Students were rewarded or punished based on their class participation and they could achieve award badges for their virtues. The Order of Merit Badge was the most prominent to achieve because virtues of submission, ability, and order were considered necessities for functioning in business realms (Spring, 2005). Plus, continuous display of virtue and abilities could lead to students being appointed monitors. Monitors were not school teachers or masters. They were advanced students with rank who would tutor smaller groups of learners with approximately equal abilities. Monitors precisely assessed posture and carriage to ensure students were attentive during lessons (Hogan, 1989).
  35. 35. 23 Although the Lancasterian system prohibited corporal punishment, students who “talked frequently” or remained “idle were punished by having a wooden log placed around their necks” (Spring, 2005, p. 59). Habitual violators and extreme behavior problem students were placed in sacks or baskets suspended from the school house roof for all pupils to witness. This form of humiliation allowed school masters (principals) to displace violence and ridicule upon teachers and other students. Humiliation and inhumane punishments remained in schools throughout the nineteenth-century and may exist in some schools today. However, the Lancasterian system began to fade midway through the nineteenth-century with the emergence of bureaucratic management and discipline techniques. Bureaucratic Discipline David Tyack (as cited in Spring, 2005) states that as American schools were developing and organizing, employing women seemed to correlate with “the pace of bureaucratization” because relationship values in nineteenth-century females were closely related to bureaucratic organization attributes (p. 150). Like the Lancasterian System, typical school organization during the late nineteenth-century emphasized school order. Tyack quotes William T. Harris’s 1871 statement that “the first requisite of the school is order” (p. 150). Harris continued to stress that all students must be taught how to conform behaviors to a “general standard” so that students could be socialized for business and industry organizations (p. 151). For example, the workforce was expected to attend work regularly and exhibit punctuality; therefore students attending school were also expected to attend school regularly and exhibit punctuality. Organizational values were extremely
  36. 36. 24 important among nineteenth-century teachers and leaders. These values were so esteemed that tardiness to class was considered a serious offense (Spring, 2005). Through bureaucratic organizational beliefs, classroom management and motivational methods were developed and designed to be elements of pedagogical practices (Spring, 2005). One major organizational school development during the nineteenth-century was the separation of students in to age-appropriate classes. This included smaller, self-contained classrooms that required teachers to grade student performances and simultaneously teach various subjects on various levels to every student (Spring, 2005). This practice mirrors modern-day differentiated instruction practices that cultivate student achievement through learning strengths. In essence, it was the development of Bloom’s Taxonomy in the twentieth-century that gave teachers opportunities to implement higher ability lessons for students on different levels. Nineteenth-century educators did not have this luxury. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, classroom teachers concurrently combined traditional teaching pedagogies and bureaucratic discipline strategies. Symbols of extrinsic motivation to conform (e.g., whips, paddles, switches) were hung on walls for easy viewing or placed on desks as punishment reminders (Spring, 2005). The ironies of viewing these punishment reminders were that (a) they were seen by good and bad students and (b) they were used by teachers who sought to build trust and teach at distinctively different ability levels. The fearful extrinsic motivators did not need to be seen by all students. The very presence of the symbols may have intimidated good students and indirectly hindered academic achievement.
  37. 37. 25 As nineteenth-century disciplinary styles evolved, their use broadened and was standardized well in to the twentieth-century in forms of report cards, promotion, retention, and grading (Spring, 2005). Spring believes that each of these elements affected classroom management and strained relationships in student/teacher dyads. Inevitably, it would not be until the twentieth-century that using rewards and increased concern about child development would become factors of improving student achievement and strengthening communication in student/teacher dyads. Twentieth-Century Classroom Management In the nineteenth-century, many teachers linked behavior problems to parental concerns and larger social concerns (Hogan, 1989). Also, Hogan purports that almost all educational discussions pertaining to student discipline were aimed at broader social issues. These issues were still visited early in the twentieth-century, but there began to be a shift towards using classroom management strategies that minimized problem behaviors linked to poor self-confidence and individual needs instead of larger social issues. Many of these strategies were used till the mid 1900s, but research conducted since the 1950s mostly focuses on minimizing problem behavior through the use of punitive punishments, rewards, or other extrinsic means (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001; Kohn, 1999 & Cameron & Pierce, 2002). Kohn (1999) believes that rewarding students for appropriate behavior with extrinsic motivators, such as gold stars, extra free time, and smiley faces, only subjects students to bribery that does not sustain moral learning. He believes that teachers should find alternatives to extrinsic motivators because rewards drive behavior, not the morality of doing what is right. Rummel and Feinberg (1988, as cited in Akin-
  38. 38. 26 Little, Eckert, Lovett, & Little, 2004) concur with Kohn that extrinsic rewards damage intrinsic motivation. However, to contrast Kohn and Rummel and Feinberg, Eisenberg, Pierce, and Cameron (1999, as cited in Akin-Little et al, 2004) believe rewards that satisfy personal needs and wants can increase students’ intrinsic motivation. As a result of over 100 research studies, Cameron and Pierce (2002) discovered that rewards can be used to maintain and enhance intrinsic motivation and should not be excluded from classroom management practices. Interestingly, researchers such as Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (2001) have conducted sound research that solidifies Cameron and Pierce’s (1994, as cited in Cameron & Pierce, 2002) findings and purport that social rewards do not effect or decrease a student’s intrinsic motivation. However, Cameron and Pierce’s research conducted in 1971 (as presented in Cameron & Pierce, 2002) failed to employ tasks that were unattractive to elementary and college students. Their study used tasks that were attractive to each respective age group, which may not place validity on the results. Their study may have more validity if they had used unattractive tasks to each respective age group to better understand extrinsic reward effects on intrinsic motivation. Twentieth-Century Home/School Dyads In 2004, Common Good released a Public Agenda stating that the majority of teachers surveyed believed that discipline interruptions compromise student learning (Common, 2004). Additionally, 80% of these teachers said their schools have students who need to be removed and sent to alternative schools. Seventy-Eight percent reported that students are quick to remind them of their rights and that their parents can sue, 55%
  39. 39. 27 believed that districts who back down from assertive parents leads to prolonged discipline problems, 76% of the teachers believed that special education students are disciplined too lightly, 94% indicated that stronger parent accountability for their children’s actions would help deter behavior problems, 82% believed lawsuits should be limited to serious infractions, and 91% believed that in-depth concentration on classroom management skills in teacher education programs would help teachers assemble effective classroom management strategies. In addition to teachers, parents were also administered the same survey, and 70% indicated that they believe giving more authority to principals to handle discipline problems could be an effective solution to discipline problems, 74% supported alternative schooling for more chronic disciplinary problem students, 78% believed that lawsuits should be limited to serious infractions, and 88% supported rewards for strictly enforcing “little” rules to avoid the possibility of larger problems emerging (Common, 2004, p. 1). This Public Agenda supports the idea that teachers and parents are open to palpable solutions that allow administrators to have greater authority when disciplining students, more power to minimize litigations in attempts to solve discipline problems, and the ability to create learning communities that foster student achievement. Since the nineteenth-century, home/school dyads have drastically changed. Community growth, higher transient percentages, reduced family cohesion, an increased number of working single mothers, increased divorce rates, television violence, and aggression associated with video games all contribute to the seriousness and frequency of discipline problems that are plaguing today’s schools (Kohn, 1999; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). These changes challenge schools to control these
  40. 40. 28 influences with extensively less support from families, communities, and churches than in past decades. Although these changes developed late in the twentieth-century, there are several recurring discipline problems that continue to plague teachers, such as teasing, talking without permission, getting out of seats without permission, failing to complete assignments, refusing to do work, bullying, and disrespecting teachers (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Boynton and Boynton believe that disrespect has become inherent in American student culture. Students grasp it and bring it to school with them. To add to disrespect’s raging overture, there are newer societal discipline problems emerging that are frustrating teachers and administrators. These newer problems include, but are not limited to, physical and verbal aggression towards teachers, drugs, possession of guns or knives, gang violence, vandalism, and truancy (Elam, Rose, & Lowell, 1996; Boynton & Boynton, 2005). These newer complex problems and behaviors require teachers to adopt comprehensive discipline models and more stringent classroom management strategies. Boynton and Boynton (2005) state that knowledge of the most effective discipline measures will not always prevent students from disrupting lessons or bullying teachers and students, but that teachers should be aware of strategies that are productive and counter-productive with defiant students. Kohn (1999) adds that teachers who wait for students to become mature enough to handle discipline responsibilities often aid in the creation of vicious cycles of repetitive disruptive behaviors. He strongly argues that teachers and students should be participating and practicing in decision-making processes together that enables students to clearly understand classroom rules, better manage current behaviors, and develop respect for classroom responsibilities.
  41. 41. 29 What is Classroom Management? Over the years, classroom management has acquired many definitions. Today, these definitions can be synthesized to mean a comprehensive term used to describe the encapsulation of actions and strategies that teachers implement to involve students in learning, how efficiently they use instructional time, provide optimal learning experiences, maintain safe and orderly environments, control student behavior, and form cohesive learning relationships (Emmer, Evertson & Worsham, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006; Kohn, 1999). Effectively managing students may be a teaching necessity. In fact, Wang, Haertel, and Walberg (1993/1994, as cited in Boynton & Boynton, 2005) reviewed “11,000 pieces of research that spanned 50 years” and found that the number one influence on student learning was classroom management (p. 3). Moreover, Emmer and Stough (2001) believe that classroom management represents a paramount aspect of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. Research conducted by Jackson (1968, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) revealed that increased attention on complex classroom settings and pedagogical knowledge combined with teaching goals, procedures, and strategies contributed to classroom management effectiveness. In his research, Jackson purports that management is a tenet of various classroom dynamics including (a) multidimensional events and people, (b) numerous tasks occurring simultaneously, (c) immediate, fast-paced events that limit reflections, (d) unpredictable outcomes and events, (e) awareness of behaviors witnessed by all students, and (f) past and future actions. Adding to Jackson’s research findings, Jones (1996, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) believes five basic views of comprehensive classroom management exist. He
  42. 42. 30 believes that in order to maintain learning environments and to control behaviors teachers must (a) understand current research in classroom management, (b) create positive relationships among and between students, (c) be familiar with instructional methods that facilitate learning for students on various levels, (d) have knowledge about organizational management to maintain on-task behavior, and (e) be familiar with counseling methods that assist students with chronic behavior problems. Both Jones’s (1996) and Jackson’s (1968, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) classroom management components are sensible and may be connected to student learning and increased student achievement. Kounin (1970, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) concurs with Jackson and Jones and believes that teacher content knowledge, well-planned lessons, teacher behaviors, and classroom settings preclude effective management. However, not all teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage classrooms. Bosch (1999) states: Contrary to popular belief, classroom management is not a gift bestowed upon some teachers. While it is true that some teachers adapt to classroom management techniques, making it look to their colleagues like they possess some innate talent, classroom management is a skill, a skill that can be taught like any other, and most importantly, a skill that like any other must be practiced to achieve proficiency (p. 3). Sergiovanni (2001) believes that Jones, Jackson, and Kounin correctly identify teachers’ roles in controlling student behavior, but he further narrows and identifies teachers’ roles as Manager, Executive, Mediator, and Leader. The Manager teacher executes highly structured learning environments that aim to manage student behaviors. The Executive role requires teachers to be aware of current research practices and make
  43. 43. 31 crucial decisions about instruction, assignments, and subject matter. The Mediator role requires teachers to perform interactive teaching that allows students to link prior knowledge to new constructs, and the Leader role requires teachers to enthusiastically model the importance of the subject matter and focus on key concepts that explain why and how content is being studied. Teachers who adopt these four roles are well structured, are aware of current research practices that promote learning, help students make sense of learning, and personally care about and appreciate learning (Sergiovanni, 2001). Sergiovanni also believes these four roles help define teacher effectiveness and good management in conjunction with appropriate discipline strategies. Traditional Discipline Strategies The word discipline has several definitions and can be interpreted differently. In many of today’s classrooms, discipline may be defined by the way classrooms are managed. Cotton (2001) believes that classroom management is inherent in effective instruction and discipline, which she believes has become synonymous with punishment. However, being instructionally effective might be difficult for many teachers because Cotton’s research revealed that one-half of instructional time is dedicated to activities not associated with instruction. Additionally, her research revealed that discipline consumes a majority of that time and that students affected by divorce, poverty, family depression, hunger, and mental illnesses are often instigators of disruptive behavior. Throughout history, teachers have used various techniques to minimize disruptive behavior. During the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries, classroom discipline could be measured by noise level (Pioneer, n.d.). Lower noise levels or the absence of noise
  44. 44. 32 usually implied that learning and effective discipline strategies were being implemented because students were working and not misbehaving. Furthermore, morning routines were highly structured (Spring, 2005). As school days began, students entered classrooms, were marched to their seats, received and completed assignments, followed strict rules and orders, maintained certain postures, gave attention on command, and followed stringent desk packing drills (Spring, 2005). Silence was enforced, order was maintained, and students were granted permission to speak when acknowledged for raising their hands. Additionally, correct English was expected to be spoken and titles of respect such as Mr. and Mrs. were used to address authority figures. If these expectations were defied, punishments were inevitable. During the 1800s and early 1900s traditional punishments emerged and were assigned in diverse forms (Pioneer, n.d.). Severe traditional punishments included corporal punishment, detention, spanking, suspension, and expulsion (Pioneer, n.d.). Less severe punishments included raps on the hands or knuckles with rulers, standing in corners, standing with arms stretched out holding books palm-side up until exhaustion, and isolation in cloakrooms (Pioneer, n.d.). In today’s schools, these discipline strategies would probably be considered cruel or inhumane and could justify litigation. As the twentieth-century progressed, more attention was centered on child development (Pioneer, n.d.). The increased attention on child development generated sympathetic views for children and their surroundings. As a result, authoritarian strategies and corporal punishments were softened and interest around self-discipline increased (Pioneer, n.d.). As a result of increased attention on child development, the mid to late 1900s materialized traditional discipline practices that included writing names on
  45. 45. 33 chalkboards, time-out, writing sentences, copying discipline policies, not participating in extra-curricular classes, calling or conferencing with parents, and timed placement in other classrooms (Pioneer, n.d.). Many of these strategies have been practiced for decades and are still used today in numerous American classrooms (Kohn, 1999). However, Kohn (1999) believes that not all traditional punishments included writing, hitting, standing, or displacement. In fact, he believes the incorporation of rewards late in the twentieth- century began paradigm shifts that steered twenty-first century classroom management trends in new directions. Kohn (1999) believes that teachers using rewards as forms of bribery to minimize disruptions fail to recognize their similarities to coercive traditional discipline techniques. Furthermore, he posits that good behavior festers intrinsically; thus, students receiving rewards for appropriate actions or behaviors will only exhibit good behaviors when rewards are offered. In essence, good behaviors disappear when rewards disappear. Ultimately, Kohn (1999) believes that in many of today’s classrooms students are controlled by extrinsic rewards rather than driven by appropriate intrinsic behaviors. Overall, discipline strategies used to embarrass students or inflict pain to control disruptive behaviors have been shown in research to increase disruptive behaviors and student aggression (Kohn, 1999). Using rewards may not elicit intrinsic or moral student behaviors, but they may be good alternatives to humiliating traditional discipline practices used in earlier centuries. In the end, Kohn (1999) refutes using rewards because he believes that students may purposefully act inappropriately to receive rewards. He concludes that students are manipulating teachers to conquer a need, which could be power, attention, or reverse manipulation.
  46. 46. 34 Assertive Discipline Assertive discipline can be defined as a take-charge approach to classroom discipline (Canter & Canter, 2001). The term assertive discipline was coined by Lee and Marlene Canter as a result of their participation in assertion training techniques. The premise of assertion training is communication, so they believed using assertive discipline techniques in classrooms would allow teachers and students to openly and clearly communicate their needs and wants without violating the rights of other students (Canter & Canter, 2001). Although assertion training was mostly used in business sectors, it has been used outside of business sectors by mothers, counselors, and psychologists to help eliminate inappropriate behaviors in small children (Canter & Canter, 2001). The success of assertion training techniques outside of business sectors led Canter and Canter to believe its concepts could be applied in educational realms to achieve similar results. In educational realms, Canter and Canter (2001) believe assertive discipline’s premise is to focus mainly on communicating about current behaviors and the motivations or influences behind the behaviors. This directly contrasts traditional discipline strategies because they only addressed and punished the acts without further investigating the reasons behind the acts. Both Canter and Canter (2001) and Glasser (1998) agree that focusing on current behaviors and the motivations behind the behaviors are crucial to understanding and changing negative behavior into positive behavior while holding students accountable for their actions. Furthermore, the researchers support Kohn’s (1999) beliefs that (a) students can control their behaviors and (b) they consciously choose to misbehave or follow rules in attempts to attain personal wants and
  47. 47. 35 needs. On the other hand, Wolfgang (2001) believes that assertive discipline is only another method of enforcing “teacher-established rules,” asserting power, and creating punishments or rewards to enforce authority (p. 100). Interestingly, he supports Canter and Canter’s (2001) communication concept and Glasser’s behavior theories. Plus, he believes that high expectations and clear directions are assertive discipline’s strengths. However, he stresses that teachers promoting democratic classroom methods will find themselves frustrated with assertive discipline’s techniques because they eliminate student participation in decision making processes and mainly focus on the teacher’s wants. As noted earlier, assertive discipline involves communication and it is believed to be an important element in defining behaviors portrayed for purposes of achieving wants and expressing feelings. To support this element, Glasser’s (1998) theory, grounded in reality therapy, purports that behaviors stem from survival and psychological needs. His theory complements assertive discipline because its procedures include therapists, counselors, parents, teachers, and administrators working in tandem to solve or eliminate disruptive behaviors. Furthermore, Glasser (1998) believes that providing choices and not excusing past inappropriate behaviors allows appropriate behaviors to surface. Glasser’s belief mirrors Canter and Canter’s (2001) beliefs about assertive discipline strategies because both theories promote effective learning environments that provide students with choices that propel appropriate behaviors through self-reflected social communication with teachers. Siding with Glasser (1998), Dreikurs (as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) purports that humans are motivated by feelings, the need to belong, and acceptance from others. All behavior, he adds, is purposeful and aims to achieve social recognition. In other
  48. 48. 36 words, the “inner goal results in the outward behavior” (p. 115). Dreikurs believes there is always an established cause for behavior and that it is the teacher’s responsibility to actively teach students how to get along with others in order to promote socialization and learning. Ultimately, assertive discipline requires teachers to teach and focus on appropriate behaviors. Canter and Canter (2001) believe when teachers focus on and communicate positive behaviors they elicit positive reactions from students. They believe that students will eventually learn that positive teacher comments meet their needs or wants and are more likely to continue exhibiting good behaviors as a direct result of the positive comments. Focusing on appropriate student behavior is a good idea, but what about habitual violators or violent students? Many of today’s classroom teachers may not be properly trained to control habitually disruptive or violent students. Canter and Canter (2001) believe that by using assertive discipline strategies teachers can learn to manage repeat offenders by promising, not threatening, punishment and consistently implementing consequences for unwanted behaviors. Also, they believe offering choices and being persistent in discipline strategies will help minimize inappropriate behaviors. However, Canter and Canter (2001) caution teachers to be mindful of using assertive discipline strategies with students because they may not be effective with all students. More important than knowing the students, they believe, is knowing that consequences should be meaningful, age-appropriate, and suitable to offenses. Contrasting Canter and Canter (2001), Emmer and Stough (2001) refute assertive discipline practices because they feel students’ choices are limited in “classroom government” decisions (p. 104). Additionally, Kohn (1999) believes assertive discipline
  49. 49. 37 is an ineffective coercive discipline model that stifles teacher wit and student communication. Plus, he believes assertive discipline views students as the root of behavior problems and does not require authority figures to evaluate their methods. He argues that assertive discipline does not require teachers to change their behaviors since its premise is to blame students for classroom problems. Also, Kohn (1999) strongly opposes assertive discipline methods because he feels they encourage teachers “to remove anyone who misbehaves” to regain control and for “its overriding goal to get students to do whatever they are told without question” (p. 57). To support Kohn, Malm and Lofgren (2006) believe that teachers who practice assertive discipline strategies will fail to meet the needs of the whole child and continue to inadvertently use traditional discipline strategies that may delay student achievement. One final component of assertive discipline is teacher communication with parents (Canter & Canter, 2001). Canter and Canter believe that many teachers fail to ask for parental support and often make five critical errors when speaking with parents regarding students’ behavior. First, many teachers apologize for bothering guardians when they call to discuss problems, (b) they minimize the severity of the behavior, (c) they belittle themselves, (d) they do not clearly indicate what they need parents to do, and (e) they reduce the behavior’s consequences. Canter and Canter (2001) believe teachers make these mistakes because they fear parents will be offended by their comments and that administrators will not support their discipline strategies. Overall, the researchers believe that assertive discipline will only be effective if teachers are honest with parents and ask for assistance in resolving inappropriate behaviors.
  50. 50. 38 All classrooms have rules. Class rules are formulated with the hopes of maintaining order. Even when the best management strategies are implemented they may not be effective with all students; therefore, consistent and persistent teaching practices are crucial elements in classroom discipline (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Boynton and Boynton believe teacher relationships with and among students can determine and define classroom environments. Furthermore, they believe that most teachers employ some type of management strategies that help maintain control. However, too many teachers still use traditional discipline strategies and rewards to manipulate actions (Kohn, 1999). Some teachers may use discipline strategies that communicates feelings and analyzes motivations driving misbehavior, but these strategies may not work with students in diverse settings. Many of today’s classrooms are composed of culturally diverse students with various needs and teachers need to be familiar with multiple discipline strategies that maintain order and meets students’ needs in these settings (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). No matter what management strategies teachers are using in their classrooms, they may only be effective if they are implemented consistently (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Ultimately, traditional and assertive discipline strategies aim to prevent discipline problems and offers methods for dealing with problem students. Their various elements may be conducive to minimizing disruptive behavior, but may not eliminate all classroom discipline problems. Knowing which strategies to implement with students and which ones are counterproductive with students can save valuable classroom time. Generally, effective teachers know their students and which strategies work best with them. They also know that students will learn what is taught and not announced (Boynton &
  51. 51. 39 Boynton, 2005). Like curriculum, appropriate behavior must be taught to students from all ethnic groups, cultures, and diverse populations. Similarly, possessing good attitudes about curriculum and having skills to teach diverse students may be pertinent to achieving goals and increasing student achievement scores. Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs About Teaching According to Ross and Bruce (2007) individual teacher efficacy can predict a myriad of “enabling teacher beliefs, functional teacher behaviors, and valued student outcomes” (p. 50). Ross and Bruce define teacher efficacy as a teacher’s expectation and belief that she can foster student learning. More specifically, they state, teachers believe they have the capability to organize and implement methodologies needed to sustain student growth and increase student achievement scores. Ross and Bruce (2007) concur with Bandura (1997, as presented in Ross & Bruce) that teachers with high levels of self- efficacy have higher student expectations, set higher goals for their students, aggressively pursue those goals, have positive attitudes, higher student achievement scores, and endure obstacles that teachers with lower self-efficacy refute. Additionally, Ross and Bruce (2007) and Leroy, Bressoux, Sarrazin, and Trouilland (2007) purport that teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs promote classroom management tactics that inspire student autonomy. Leroy et al. (2007) add that when teachers institute and support autonomous learning environments that students exhibit higher levels of “self-determination and are intrinsically motivated” (p. 529). Moreover, they believe that higher test scores are eminent among these teachers’ students because they remain focused, are self-directed, and highly motivated.
  52. 52. 40 To further promote their findings on teachers with high levels of self-efficacy, Ross and Bruce (2007) revealed in their recent elementary school research that teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs focused closely on the needs of students with lower abilities, whereas teachers with low self-efficacy beliefs focused their attention on students with higher abilities. Expectedly, teachers with higher efficacy beliefs had positive attitudes with low-achieving students, built relationships with them, and had higher academic expectations for them than teachers who had lower self-efficacy beliefs. Efficacy and Teacher Behavior Ross and Bruce (2007) purport that teacher efficacy can effect teacher behavior and impact student perceptions about their academic abilities. They believe that if student efficacy is enhanced, then they will become increasingly more enthusiastic and intrinsically motivated about learning and would be more likely to approach teachers for additional help. But surprisingly, Midgley, Feldlaufer, and Eccles (1989, as presented in Ross & Bruce, 2007) found in their research that teaching behaviors have delayed impacts on achievement. They found that teacher behaviors were directly “correlated with achievement in the spring, but not in the fall” (Ross & Bruce, 2007, p. 51). The research conducted for this study included data collected from fall achievement tests instead of spring achievement tests. Overall, teacher efficacy and behavior can influence student achievement (Ross & Bruce, 2007). Ross and Bruce believe teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs view declining student achievement scores as a challenge and inspiration to exude greater effort to increase those scores instead of accepting failure as a paradigm beyond their control. Unfortunately, teacher efficacy, beliefs, and behaviors can materialize in early
  53. 53. 41 teaching experiences and remain stagnant through out careers to become either autonomous or controlling (Ross & Bruce, 2007). Autonomy vs. Controlling Teaching Behaviors Reeve and Jang (2006) have shown that teaching behaviors can be presented in two types of climates: autonomous or controlled. In educational settings, “autonomy support revolves around finding ways to nurture, support, and increase students’ inner endorsement of their classroom activity” (p. 210). Teachers promoting autonomous learning environments seek to identify resources that meet students’ needs and sustain intrinsic motivation. These environments allow teachers to pay more attention to what students are saying, designate more time for students to problem solve, provide effective and timely feedback about tasks, and can better identify with students’ educational or personal difficulties. Contrasting autonomous climates are controlled classroom climates in which undue teacher pressures are mistakenly assigned to students to elicit specific actions (Deci & Ryan, 1987, as presented in Leroy et al., 2007). Teachers who exhibit controlling climate behaviors pay little or no attention to students’ motivational needs and try to manage student behaviors with incentives, rewards, punitive statements, or one-sided communication tactics (Reeve & Jang, 2006; Kohn, 1999). In this climate, teachers do most of the talking and students have minimal time to complete tasks. Unsurprisingly, teachers exhibiting controlling behaviors are more critical of student abilities and are more likely to verbally express student disapproval (Reeve & Jang, 2006). Leroy, Bressoux, Sarrazin, and Trouilland (2007) found in their research of 336 fifth grade teachers from 269 schools that teachers’ personal attitudes and beliefs about
  54. 54. 42 themselves played a significant role in teaching behaviors. They also found that factors contributing to teacher behaviors extended to social contexts beyond classrooms. For example, educational settings that enhanced teacher efficacy and reduced teacher stress helped promote autonomous class climates. In contrast, educational settings that weakened teacher efficacy and increasingly pressured teachers to achieve results caused teachers to promote controlling class environments (Leroy et al., 2007). The researchers believe that high pressure educational settings are not conducive to sustaining teachers’ intrinsic motivation, positive attitudes, or promoting student achievement. Teacher Beliefs and Behaviors in Culturally Diverse Settings Hollins and Guzman (2005, as presented in Mahon, 2006) reviewed research conducted for the American Educational Research Association and found that many teachers had negative attitudes or beliefs about various cultures, had little experience teaching diverse students, and were not interested in teaching in urban sectors. Duff and Uchida (1997) have established links between teachers’ thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in diverse classrooms. In their research, they examined teaching behaviors and attitudes in language teachers and found incongruence. This means that teachers proclaimed to have certain understandings or beliefs about diverse cultures, but these beliefs were in constant negotiation or blatantly ignored. One of their research participants believed he was a feminist with feminist attitudes and behaviors, but his actions towards female students in his class differed significantly from his belief. Information exists about teacher attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards cultural diversity, but there is nominal information available that explains “how this understanding is constructed” (Mahon, 2006). Hollins and Guzman (2005, as presented in
  55. 55. 43 Mahon, 2006) have expressed a need for “longitudinal outcome-focused research” that seeks to understand how teachers transfer their cultural diversity educations to actual classroom behaviors and practices. Teaching is a profession that is becoming increasingly more complex. Many of today’s teachers cling to personal beliefs about diverse cultures while they possess attitudes and beliefs that all students have the same needs or desires. Students are more than hearts and minds; therefore, teachers must understand and recognize the need for various pedagogies among diverse populations in their quests to sustain student achievement. Educating Diverse Populations American public schools display the “dramatic demographic shift” better than any other entity (Brown, 2007, p. 57). Changes in cultural, racial, and linguistic demographics have diversified American schools more today than ever before. However, Brown (2007) argues that it is not only these demographic changes affecting student achievement, but that it also includes the way teachers have responded to these changes that is challenging today’s classroom dynamics and effecting academic achievement. Historically, American education has not been culturally welcoming to diverse populations, but NCLB provisions challenge teachers to find creative ways to effectively teach students from diverse backgrounds and promote safe learning environments for all students (Wilde, 2004). Gay (2002) believes that academic achievement in diverse settings would increase if teachers made an effort to implement classroom instruction that is relative to students’ home cultures. However, this is where the problem may begin. Many teachers in today’s
  56. 56. 44 classrooms are not trained to teach or discipline culturally diverse students. In fact, many of today’s teacher “pre-service programs” fail to include culturally diverse teaching strategies, effective classroom management training for diverse students, and real learning environments that equate to the “reality of full time teaching” that promotes student achievement for all students (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006, p. 97). How, then, can administrators produce culturally conscious teachers with skills that increase student achievement scores in culturally diverse settings? School administrators are responsible for complex instructional improvement, following national mandates, and hiring highly qualified teachers, but they are also responsible for teacher preparation that improves student achievement, acknowledges diversity, and helps prepare students “to find connections among themselves and the subject matter” (Brown, 2007, p. 60). This can be done by implementing professional development (PD) that provides a curriculum instructional framework with guidance through activities that develop culturally diverse knowledge, applies diverse curricula, builds appreciation for diverse cultures, and explains cultural codes used to process thinking and learning (Brown, 2007). Additional support for PD derives from Ross and Bruce’s (2007) research that established positive PD effects on teacher attitudes. Their study revealed that PD participants in treatment groups had higher self-efficacy and frequently incorporated curriculum materials in their classrooms that were distributed during PD courses. High self-efficacy remained constant as long as PD courses were revisited, administrators provided follow-up meetings, and instilled collaboration models. Finally, the researchers found that when PD programs provided “participant interaction” and increased
  57. 57. 45 opportunities for “vicarious experiences” (i.e., observing successful teachers) teachers were more apt to create settings that warranted positive attitudes and to implement new teaching techniques that augmented student achievement. In general, PD refers to continuous learning opportunities made available to teachers through schools or districts (Brown, 2007). Traditionally, PD has been made available to teachers through school workshops as in-services (Professional, 2007). The in-service model usually includes hiring outside consultants or curriculum experts to provide one-time training courses on a plethora of subject topics or one specific content area. According to Professional (2007), one-shot workshops are not the most effective way to implement teacher training in to professional development. Plus, these workshops offer very little coherence and continuity to teacher growth and development. In fact, a survey conducted in 2000 by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that teachers spent one day or less in PD training for content areas (Professional, 2007). Additionally, the survey revealed that teachers felt uninspired, belittled, and embarrassed by many PD topics their administrators offered for teacher or school improvement. Twenty-first century PD is moving away from one-shot workshops and towards more active and coherent school environments (Professional, 2007; Cotton, 2003). PD proponents believe that active environments provide specific connections to school improvement’s bigger picture. Cotton (2003) and Connors (2000) purport that the most successful schools offer their staffs quality professional development training that exposes teachers to relevant and practical site-based needs such as data-based instruction, collaborative learning, reflection, research and inquiry, subject matter exploration, engagement in practical instructional and assessment tasks, constructive feedback, and
  58. 58. 46 follow-up activities. Also, Brown (2007) states that many schools promote effective teaching through diversity PD training. In American public schools, it is important for administrators and teachers to believe that students from “culturally and linguistically diverse” (CLD) backgrounds can learn (Brown, 2007, p. 57). Brown also believes teachers should develop instructional strategies that prevent failure and engages all students in the learning process. Additionally, Brown (2007) purports that teachers who graduated from traditional teacher education programs would benefit the most from professional diversity training since most university programs fail to incorporate diversity courses. On the whole, diversity training could improve school culture. Succinctly, to increase personal growth and further promote cultural awareness, Brown (2007) believes teachers should be involved in developing potential PD that meets their needs, incorporates school improvement objectives that maximize all students’ potential, increases student achievement scores, and closes achievement gaps. One final facet of PD effects on teacher attitudes was noted by Usher and Pajares (2005, as noted in Ross & Bruce, 2007). They found more evidence through interviewing children that efficacy attitudes and beliefs vary among certain subgroups and that “invitations” are important sources of information (p. 59). “Invitations” are messages that teachers send to themselves and others that indicate how comfortable they feel about their teaching abilities and personal values. The researchers found that these “invitations” and “disinvitations” (i.e., negative messages about their teaching abilities) may be useful when exploring how PD influences classroom teaching behaviors (p. 59). Finally, they believe more research needs to be conducted to identify links between PD, teacher attitudes and beliefs, and self-efficacy.
  59. 59. 47 Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement Recent research conducted on teacher effectiveness revealed that relationships exist between teaching behaviors, attitudes, and academic achievement (Ross & Bruce, 2007; Darling-Hammond, 2003; Cotton, 2001; Emmer & Stough, 2001; Boynton & Boynton, 2005). To support these findings, research conducted by McCormack, Gore, and Thomas (2006) and Emmer and Stough (2001) revealed that classroom management and quality teaching were underlying foundations of student achievement. But, what constitutes quality teaching? Previous research suggests that instructional methods and classroom management strategies are important qualities of teacher effectiveness and are two of the main factors that make a difference in quality classroom teaching (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). Additionally, Emmer and Stough (2001) purport that quality teachers possess three major qualities: positive expectations for students, superior classroom management skills, and well-prepared lessons. As a result of their research, Emmer and Stough believe that effective teachers tandemly manage their classrooms in ways that foster learning and promotes teacher mobility so they may accomplish instructional goals with all students through “group management” (p. 104). To further support instructional goals, Marzano, Marzano, and Pickering (2003) and DiPerna (2006) believe that classroom teachers tremendously effect student achievement through social skills and study skills closely connected to academics. However, teaching dynamics that produce top results are not simple. Marzano et al. (2003) believe that quality teachers perform numerous functions in their classrooms that improve student achievement scores. These functions include (a) wisely choosing the most effective pedagogies for all students, (b) designing lessons that foster student
  60. 60. 48 learning and social interaction, and (c) effectively using classroom management strategies. They further state that a “strong case” for quality instruction and good curriculum designs underlie the foundation of successful classroom management (p. 3). To further analyze classroom management strategies and curriculum designs, DiPerna (2006) adds that students’ social skills can be significant predictors of academic competence and possibly foretell performance on nationally-normed standardized tests. Good and Grouws (1977, as cited in Emmer and Stough, 2001) concluded in their research that teachers who incorporated better classroom management techniques spent less time transitioning between subjects, were cognizant of potential disruptions, and had higher achievement scores. Additionally, Emmer and Stough (2001), Boynton and Boynton (2005), and Marzano (2007) add that effective teachers establish classroom rules at the beginning of the school year, implement them consistently, take time to explain reasons for the rules, and ensure students understand them. Moreover, these researchers concur that quality teachers are fair in their judgments when enforcing rules, provide immediate feedback, and pace classroom activities to enrich learning. Finally, Pollock (2007) adds three dynamics she believes are prevalent among quality teachers: congruency between management styles and instructional goals, use of various activities to reach benchmark goals, and using differentiated instruction to match students’ learning strengths. She believes effective teachers intersect these dynamics and incorporate methodologies that complement ability levels. Ideas for Improving Student Achievement In 1902, the New York Sun editors wrote that when they attended school, students completed minimal work (Rothstein, 1998). Spelling, writing, and mathematics were
  61. 61. 49 required subjects, not electives. Today, educational changes have current New York Sun editors claiming that students must be kept entertained and can learn what they please (Rothstein, 1998). Was it meant for educational institutions to be entertaining and allow personal course selections? Maybe, but in the early 1900s The Committee of Ten questioned the purpose of education in the United States. By 1950, after much contemplation, the general consensus about education’s purpose was “to create cultural literacy and patriotism” and to “catapult the U.S. economy into its place as a world leader in trade” (Pollock, 2007, p. 10). With the vast amount of courses being offered in many American high schools to today’s students and the inception of the internet, it could be argued that entertaining students and allowing personal course selections meets these two objectives. After World War II, the baby boom significantly contributed to the growth in school-age students, which created new concerns about existing curriculum and learning targets. New curriculum, strategies, and ideas soon emerged to improve learning, student achievement, and teacher accountability. One of the first ideas to emerge was Bloom’s Taxonomy, which was formulated by 34 committee members from various colleges and universities into six progressive learning levels: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation (Pollock, 2007). As the levels progressed from Knowledge to Evaluation, students had to think more critically. The committee designed a progressive level classification system that allowed teachers to logically teach concepts on each level that built on previous levels, as well as, from underlying knowledge required for higher thinking levels. Their intention was not to classify teaching methods or to regulate materials, but to classify intended student
  62. 62. 50 behaviors, such as the way they think, act, or feel about instructional participation (Pollock, 2007). Unintentionally, the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy may have led curriculum writers to question its quality and to ask for teacher input in curriculum development. After the 1950s, the second postulated idea was curriculum development (Pollock, 2007). Its goal was for teachers to learn how to write curriculum, but Pollock states that many teachers were unsure of how to write or create quality curriculum for all students. As a result, the majority of teachers relied on textbooks and teacher’s editions as curriculum guides (Pollock, 2007). During this time, many teachers believed that using textbooks as guides would help students achieve curriculum targets and advance through Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, but this was not the case (Pollock, 2007). Once lessons were taught, tests were given to assess knowledge, and grades indicated how well they retained or knew basic information. There was rarely, if ever, a product or performance measure for critical thinking, application, or higher level learning (Pollock, 2007). Furthermore, curriculum development processes failed to include opportunities for teachers to design lessons that promoted critical or creative thinking (Pollock, 2007). Teaching higher order thinking skills, it seemed, would require extra effort and additional lessons. During the 1990s, curriculum development became overshadowed by the third new idea: content-specific or performance standards which state what students should know and be able to do (Armstrong, 2006). In efforts to strengthen cognitive domains and parallel Bloom’s Taxonomy to improve learning, hundreds of standards were written to improve student achievement in math, reading, language arts, science, social studies, fine arts, and technology (Pollock, 2007). However, Armstrong (2006) believes that increased attention on standards and academic skills decreased attention on human development
  63. 63. 51 and ultimately sabotaged student social maturity, as well as, individual growth by continuing to only measure growth and achievement through standardized testing. Are New Teachers Old School? Are today’s teachers modernized? What does effective teaching entail? Pollock (2007) believes that many teachers learned how to teach by observing their former elementary and secondary teachers throughout their school experiences. If this is true and they learned or adopted teaching methodologies from previous teachers and professors, then it could be argued that many of today’s teachers are implementing teaching habits that were prevalent during the 1950s. Pollock (2007) believes that effective teaching involves modernized thinking and creativity about teaching and learning. This belief is important for teachers who believe teaching’s foundation is “to become master teachers” instead of creating “master learners” (p. 9). Furthermore, she states that improving instruction does not necessarily mean student learning will improve. Historically, improving instruction by becoming a master teacher has been a dominant teaching approach in US educational trends that include achieving National Teacher Certification or completing advanced degrees, but the majority of these trends fail to focus on learning improvement (Pollock, 2007). To improve learning with instruction and to overshadow grade-focused classrooms, Pollock believes there are four approaches that effective teachers use to improve student achievement. They (a) implement a well designed curriculum, (b) plan for meaningful content delivery, (c) vary assessments, and (d) provide feedback that reflects objectives and not behaviors. Too often, many teachers provide feedback that aims to modify behavior and not learning objectives. Frequently, feedback is untimely and not applicable at the time it is received. Therefore, in order to