Brief In-service Teacher Training in a Proactive Approach to Classroom Behaviour Management: Teacher and Student Outcomes
Classroom behaviour management is defined as teachers' management of student behaviour in the classroom in order to increase and maintain student on-task behaviour. The classroom behaviour management strategies employed by teachers can significantly influence students' rates of on-task behaviour and the teacher-student relationship and thus constitute an important avenue for improving and maintaining positive student outcomes. The goal of the present research was to evaluate the impact of a brief in-service teacher training program on the classroom behaviour management skills of teachers and the task-related behaviour of students. Using a multiple-baseline across groups design, nine elementary general education classroom teachers attended an in-service teacher training. The training program focussed on providing teachers with proactive classroom behaviour management strategies to aid them in the prevention of off-task student behaviour and to facilitate positive teacher-student interactions. Given existing constraints on teacher time and school board budgets, a primary focus was the delivery of training in a time- and resource-efficient manner. The training program consisted of one 3-hour group workshop. At the group and overall level, visual and statistical analyses of observational data revealed significant predicted increases in teacher praise and student on-task behaviour, and predicted decreases in teacher use of negative consequences, student off-task non-disruptive and off-task disruptive behaviour. Teacher use of one of the categories of proactive strategies (stimulus control) showed an unexpected and significant decrease following the training. The effects of the training on individual teachers and classrooms were more difficult to discern due to considerable intra- and inter-participant variability. Comparisons of pre- and post-training teacher questionnaires showed no statistically significant changes in teacher efficacy, teacher affect and attributions for student problem behaviour, and in teacher report of student behaviour and intervention strategies. The brevity of the teacher training program and individual differences in teachers are discussed as potential explanatory variables that may have precluded more easily interpretable and consistent improvements in teachers' classroom behaviour management skills. Although there were limitations, the results were encouraging and suggest that a brief and proactive approach to training has some potential to address teachers' classroom behaviour management needs.
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