Tamsin Ford and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IYTCM) program. The IYTCM program aims to improve teachers’ classroom management skills and build strong relationships with students and their parents. Teachers are trained to ignore low-level bad behavior that often disrupts classrooms and instead develop effective behavior plans that encourage and promote emotional regulation skills.
The study, published in Psychological Medicine, used a cluster randomized controlled trial, in which children ages four to nine from schools across the southwest of England were randomly allocated to undertake the TCM program or continue their usual practice over a 30-month period (with outcomes assessed at 9, 18, and 30 months). One class in each of 80 schools (40 TCM, 40 usual practice; 2,075 children in total) participated. Effects of the intervention on students’ mental health were assessed via the Total Difficulties score from the teacher-report version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Data on a range of secondary outcomes (e.g., children’s disruptive behavior, service use), was also collected in addition to detailing the costs of TCM compared to usual practice.
The results of the trial showed that:
- There was a small reduction in the SDQ Total Difficulties score at 9 months for the intervention group, but not at 18 or 30 months.
- The reduction in SDQ Total Difficulties score at 9 months was greater for children who were classified by their teacher as struggling with their mental health at baseline.
The report concludes that TCM may provide a small short-term improvement to children’s mental health, particularly for children who are already struggling.
Source: Ford, T., Hayes, R., Byford, S., Edwards, V., Fletcher, M., Logan, S., … Ukoumunne, O. C. (2018). The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years ® Teacher Classroom Management programme in primary school children: results of the STARS cluster randomised controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 1–15.