As promised, TNTP released their Core Teaching Rubric earlier this year, making it available for use under a Creative Commons license. They clearly achieve the “Must-Haves” previously outlined-- providing a slim and trim rubric which includes a prominent focus on the content being taught.
Having recently examined almost 1,200 programs’ observation and evaluation tools for analysis on our revised Classroom Management standard for the 2014 Teacher Prep Review, our focus was drawn to examining which classroom management elements the Core Teaching Rubric incorporates.
We were impressed to find almost all indicators from our Classroom Management standard represented in the Student Engagement performance area. The rubric has real potential to provide actionable feedback to teachers and we suggest two points to consider for further refinement:
- When reviewing the literature related to classroom management, we found significant support for the use of specific, behavioral praise and other forms of reinforcement. While TNTP indicates that the Core Teacher Skills are not exhaustive, this technique was absent from the Core Teaching Rubric. As an element with strong research supporting it, we’d recommend praise and positive reinforcement of behavior be incorporated explicitly.
- Many of the concrete classroom management techniques (such as addressing off-task behavior without interrupting instruction) are located in the Core Teacher Skills section, an area reserved for suggested areas to target for development.
- It is clearly essential to help teachers--new and experienced alike-- narrow in on key areas to focus on improving, however it is also important to ensure each teacher gets feedback on the efficacy of these techniques, regardless of whether it is the skill targeted for development. We recommend the rubric itself include at least one more descriptor on how students respond to least intrusive management means (such as eye contact and proximity) and consequences.
Based on TNTP’s reaction to our Classroom Management report, it seems likely they incorporate these techniques into the training they provide new teachers. Regardless, even some experienced teachers struggle to see the subtle management techniques skilled teachers use to create and maintain a productively engaged class.
As one of our Teacher Advisory Group members, Dina Rock, states, “Classroom management is made up of hundreds of variables every day in every lesson. […] It is key to any classroom; in fact it is the cornerstone of great teaching.” Providing explicit feedback on the efficacy of key classroom management techniques may help to demystify and thus improve this “cornerstone” of effective teaching.