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FHU Teacher Prep Program Lauded For Strong Training in Classroom Management

Henderson, Tennessee - Nov 02, 2020

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization, has named Freed-Hardeman University’s graduate elementary teacher preparation program among the top in the country for strong training in classroom management strategies.

This month NCTQ released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, which finds encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught. For the first time since NCTQ began publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30% from seven years ago. Freed-Hardeman University’s graduate program is among only 14% of elementary programs to earn an A. The program serves as a model of excellence for others, according to NCTQ.

Top-performing programs are recognized for requiring their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate during student teaching, residency, or equivalent clinical practice their ability to implement five classroom strategies. These include:

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 specific, 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.

“We are proud of Freed-Hardeman University’s teacher education program,” FHU President David R. Shannon said. “This is one of our most popular majors. We are well aware of the contributions our graduates make to the lives of their students and to the betterment of their communities.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has, at least for this year, reshaped much of what happens in schools, including classroom management training for aspiring teachers. Several essential classroom management strategies can’t simply be converted to a remote teaching environment, and many states and teacher preparation programs have moved their clinical practice experiences online or abbreviated them, limiting opportunities to practice. However, the basic principles of quality classroom management still stand in spite of COVID and are still critical to the success of aspiring teachers in their future careers. “In previous editions of the Teacher Prep Review, the predominant approach to classroom management instruction by most programs was that establishing classroom rules and planning great lessons will prevent student misbehavior,” observed NCTQ President Kate Walsh. “As any teacher can attest, engaging classes alone are seldom enough. We are heartened by the growing acknowledgment of the many benefits of building new teachers’ skills in these key strategies.”

While the NCTQ data reports a clear uptick in the number of programs whose elementary teacher candidates learn research-supported classroom management strategies, NCTQ also noted a trend that prevents large numbers of teacher candidates from gaining the classroom management skills they need to help their students. A review of the observation and evaluation instruments commonly used by programs to evaluate teacher candidates showed that the most commonly used instruments, such as Danielson’s Framework, do not look for competency in all five research-based classroom management strategies. Only one, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) TAP rubric, addresses the full range of strategies. This is a significant opportunity for teacher prep programs to strengthen instruction in classroom management.

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies. Programs that earn an A on this standard require their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate their ability on all five strategies. The full NCTQ summary of findings, all top-performing programs, and information about the methodology may be seen at www.nctq.org/2020TPRPractice.

FHU’s teacher education program has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1981 and was granted accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in May 2020. In addition to CAEP accreditation, all programs in the Department of Education are approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education.