Do students learn more with better teacher?

Researchers filmed 480 lessons in Norwegian schools in order to learn more about teacher’s knowledge in classroom management, and how it effects students in the class.

Teacher in a classroom.

The research project CIESL (Classroom Interaction for Enhanced Student Learning) explores teachers’ knowledge about classroom management, how teachers transfer it into practice. The purpose is to improve teachers’ skills in classroom management and increase student learning.

Researchers are also interested whether there is a correlation between teachers learning and students learning, and how teachers who have participated in the national intervention  "Ungdomstrinn i utvikling”  developed their own practice.

Three key areas
Classroom management is more than keeping order in the classroom. Robert Pianta identifies three key dimensions of classroom interactions. Classroom organisation is how a teacher creates good learning environment with trust and discipline.

The second is emotional support, teacher's efforts to develop good relations with each student and between students in the class. Instructional support enhances student learning through higher-order thinking skills.

Evaluating classroom management
Many teachers know a lot about classroom management, but the challenge is to use this knowledge in the classroom when situation goes out of control and often calls for unpredictable actions.

In the CIESL project, researchers from the University of Stavanger and Telemark University College collaborate with international colleagues to examine how teachers develop their interactions with students in the classroom, through participation in a governmental initiated intervention on classroom management.

120 secondary school teachers were filmed, four times in the ordinary settings of the classroom. The video footage was analysed, and teachers were evaluated by a special scoring system. Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary (CLASS-S) helps to identify areas with potential development areas in the interactions between teacher and students. CLASS-S is developed by Pianta and his colleagues, has a form covering 12 key areas in interactions. The form is one of the most widely used for classroom observations internationally.

Mixed methods research
In addition to video observations, researchers collected data via group interviews, teacher logs and questionnaires. By combining several research methods, we manage to highlight the same theme from several angles, and get a more complete picture on the subject.
“Mixed methods research provides a broad understanding about the teachers and their classroom management knowledge and abilities. It is exciting and challenging to combine research methods”, says project leader Sigrun K. Ertesvåg.