Given the fact that the concept of “classroom management” and its connotations as well as its relation to effective teaching, despite decades of world-wide research, remain rather undefined, or, at least, not fully described, different educational systems and teachers around the world try hard to develop a wide variety of classroom management theories and strategies, since they obviously consider it as being significantly related to effective teaching. Effective classroom management reflects teachers’ multifaceted high-ranked ability to, inter alia, establish and maintain within their classrooms acceptable rules of productive teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication, to motivate students to work cooperatively, and to fruitfully implement best teaching strategies according to their students’ individualized learning needs. Moreover, it presupposes teachers’ ability to create a learning context where students’ disruptive attitudes are prevented or addressed and misbehavior is reduced while positive expected learning outcomes are achieved, and the students’ cognitive, social and affective development is continuously facilitated and sustained. Finally, it is based on teachers’ ability to set clearly defined and agreed—between teacher and students—codes of communication, to produce measurable learning outcomes that fulfill students’ and their parents’ expectations, and to take full advantage of their students’ features, classroom features, and local space features in order to develop their own professional features. It is, thus, evident why successful classroom management is considered by teachers, parents, students, and researchers to be tightly linked to teachers’ professional competence and effectiveness. Moreover, teachers who successfully implement classroom management are reported to create in time a regulatory framework for communication within the classroom through the establishment and adoption of rules and consequences. They also tend to safeguard the quality of communication with their students, and to develop their professional authority profile. They succeed in that by strengthening their willingness to meet students’ learning requirements, needs, and interests, by using effectively verbal and non-verbal communication to encourage learning and, above all, by controlling and managing their institutionalized power. International research over the past years has shown that the implementation of learner-centered innovative teaching strategies on the basis of flexible differentiated teaching focused on students’ personal values, abilities and potential, the establishment of student-to-student shared responsibility and of a student-to-teacher commitment contract, the development of a dynamic interplay between students during group work, the respect for diversity, and the reinforcing of students’ self-regulation all highly contribute to the creation of a fruitful in-class learning environment. In such an environment students feel secure and accepted, teachers manage the classroom successfully and are considered to be competent and effective professionals.
Diane Mayer, Wayne Cotton, and Alyson Simpson
The past decade has seen increasing federal intervention in teacher education in Australia, and like many other countries, more attention on teacher education as a policy problem. The current policy context calls for graduates from initial teacher education programs to be classroom ready and for teacher education programs to provide evidence of their effectiveness and their impact on student learning. It is suggested that teacher educators currently lack sufficient evidence and response to criticisms of effectiveness and impact. However, examination of the relevant literature and analysis of the discourses informing current policy demonstrate that it is the issue of how effectiveness is understood and framed, and what constitutes evidence of effectiveness, that needs closer examination by both teacher educators and policymakers before evidence of impact can be usefully claimed—or not.
Keith J. Topping
Both peer tutoring and cooperative learning are types of peer assisted learning; they involve people from similar social groupings who are not professional teachers helping each other to learn and learning themselves by teaching. Peer tutoring usually involves pairs of students, one in the role of tutor and the other as tutee, with the more able or experienced member helping the other to learn material which is new to the tutor but not to the tutee. By contrast, cooperative learning is usually done in small groups of perhaps four students, often of mixed ability. The group works toward a consensus on a problem. Because it is easier to dominate or hide in a group, roles are often assigned to each group member. Earlier perspectives tended to use the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, perhaps with some consideration of Bandura and Dewey. Chi, King, and Graesser have been prominent in more recent work. However, a theoretical perspective is offered that integrates these elements with more practical issues. In general, both peer tutoring and cooperative learning “work”— in a wide range of curricular subjects and with a wide range of ages. Given the appropriate form of organization, cognitive gains ensue for both helpers and those who are helped. This is not the main research issue, which is exploring how and why these practices work, in order to improve effectiveness. There are several meta-analyses (a statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies) which are relevant, and beyond this, key individual papers of specific importance are highlighted. Over the years, we have become wiser about some of the key issues. In peer tutoring, same-ability tutoring has appeared in recent years, sometimes reciprocal, and we need to know under what conditions it works. Cooperative learning has issues regarding the most effective roles for group members and how these integrate with student ability and personality. There has also been much recent work in online peer tutoring which raises different issues. The existing literature is well-developed since these are not new methods. Future research should include more tightly defined studies focusing on more minor variables of context and organization. Many teachers will say they use both peer tutoring and cooperative learning, but very often they overestimate how often anything like good practice takes place. Simply putting students together and hoping for the best will not do, although it might have mild effects. Teachers using these methods need to be clear about what organizational parameters are vital in their context with their type of peer assisted learning. These features then need to be maximized in practice and an eye must be kept on implementation fidelity throughout. Education administrators need to organize professional development for teachers which is thorough, including initial instruction and practice followed up by support and monitoring in the classroom.
Evageloula A. Papadatou
The effective operation of a school unit relies on various factors, the most critical of which is leadership, as it this which shapes the working environment through which the school succeeds or fails. Indeed, an effective leader can inspire vision and promote educational policy in the interests of the school and other stakeholders. This leadership role in schools is undertaken by head teachers, who are called to act as supervisors of the school’s human resources in parallel with their purely administrative work. In order for school leaders to achieve these outcomes, however, they must be adequately trained so as to be competent in undertaking the arduous task of leading a school unit. Consequently, in order for school leaders to carry out their daunting tasks successfully—in other words, achieve the best possible results with the fewest sacrifices and least effort—they must possess certain knowledge and aptitudes. For this reason, the staffing of the school units in any country (and hence in Greece) with capable school leaders should be the top priority of the State, while measures should be taken to ensure that the processes for selecting school leaders and for their professional development remain objective and systematic, if the country intends to implement an educational policy efficiently and effectively. Taking into account that the school leader is not born but becomes, and that school leaders are central to the administration of a country’s educational system, it is vital that a system of selection and development of schools’ head teachers be institutionalized.