How effective is teacher prep program classroom management clinical practice for new teachers?

October 30, 2020

2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice & Classroom ManagementThis report is from the National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and organization that provides ongoing reviews of the effectiveness of the nation’s teacher preparation programs.  This particular report examines two critical components of teacher preparation—clinical practice (also known as student teaching) and classroom management—and the degree to which current teacher preparation programs have adopted and implemented best practices for each.

It is generally accepted that new teachers benefit from high quality student teaching.  The NCTQ report reviews specific evidence of just how beneficial quality clinical training can be, including research that: (1) identifies clinical practice as one of three “aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students, and (2) provides evidence that first-year teachers can be as effective as typical third-year teachers if they spent their student teaching experience in the classrooms of highly effective teachers.  

NCTQ has reviewed existing teacher preparation clinical programs in 2013, 2016, and 2020, assigning grades (A to F) based on their performance on three indicators (length, supervisory visits, and selection of the mentor teacher). Unfortunately only 9% earned an A or B, and 91% earned C’s or D’s.  The data also showed that there had been no improvement over the seven-year time period between first and most recent reports.

The second critical component reviewed—classroom management—showed great progress but still lags in one of the most critical strategies for effective management.  NCTQ identifies five critical components that should be taught in teacher preparation programs:  1) Establishing rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;, 2) Maximizing learning time by managing time, class materials and the physical setup of the classroom, and by promoting student engagement; 3) Reinforcing positive behavior by using speci c, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement; 4) Redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior, and; 5) Addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful and appropriate consequences.  The good news is that there has been a 26% increase in the number of programs looking to research-based approaches to classroom management.  The bad news is that one of the most effective and well documented classroom management strategies—praising good behavior—is the least likely to be taught. 

Citation(s): Pomerance, L. & Walsh, K. (2020). 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice
and Classroom Management. Washington, D.C.: National Council on Teacher Quality.