A recent study examined the effects of coaching on developing preservice teachers’ classroom management skills .
Subjects were student teachers learning the Responsive Classroom framework in their program and discussing its techniques in a classroom management course during the Spring, 2018 semester. While interacting with a computer-simulated classroom containing misbehaving avatar students, 105 teaching majors were randomly assigned to receive either “bug-in-the-ear plus coaching” (BIC+C), which was word-for-word coaching via earpiece, 5 minutes of feedback, and a chance to re-do the simulation (n=38); “coaching only,” (CO) which was the same but without earpiece coaching (n=34); or “self-reflection,” spending 5 minutes reflecting after the interaction in lieu of coaching (n=33). During the simulations, which occurred at baseline and then 3 times during the semester, subjects were instructed to apply Responsive Classroom’s “effective redirections” techniques to re-direct disruptive avatars, with their responses recorded using a rubric based on Responsive Classroom strategies. At baseline, subjects also completed The IOWA Conners Rating Scale (a measure of impulsive-inattentive-overactive or oppositional defiant behaviors) for the avatars, and ranked their likelihood of special education referrals for them.
Results at the semester’s end showed that
- The teaching majors in the coaching groups outperformed the self-reflection group in applying classroom management strategies effectively (ES=+0.40 for BIC+C, +0.45 for CO).
- The type of coaching, however, did not make a statistically significant difference, suggesting that while coaching is clearly beneficial, more coaching is not necessarily better.
- Students in the coached groups were also less likely to rate the avatars as impulsive-inattentive-overactive or oppositional/defiant than the students in the self-reflection group. This is of note because the avatars were simply off-task, and suggests that newer teachers without support are more likely to label minor misbehavior as problematic. The same pattern was observed for likelihood of special education referrals.