Effective classroom management is a critical element of effective classroom instruction. Students placed in orderly classroom environments devote more time to academic tasks, complete curricula at a faster pace, and achieve higher academic gains than students placed in poorly managed classrooms (Betts and Shkolnik, 1999; Levine and Ornstein, 1989; Martens and Kelly, 1993; Pierce, 1994; Wang et al., 1994).
The linkage between effective classroom management and reduction of the number of students considered at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders is emerging in current research. Aber et al. (1998) evaluated the efficacy of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program violence prevention curriculum and the interaction effects of neighborhood and classroom contextual factors for 5,053 elementary students from predominantly black and Hispanic backgrounds. The results of this study suggest that students placed in disorderly classrooms had higher rates of aggression, were likely to associate hostile attributions in social interactions, used more aggressive strategies, and had lower levels of social competence than students placed in orderly classrooms.
In another study Kamps et al. (2000) examined the effectiveness of Head Start for 49 kindergarten and 1st grade students from predominantly minority backgrounds. The intervention consisted of social skills instruction, a classroom reinforcement (or feedback) system, peer tutoring, and parent support. Results at the 2-year follow-up were generally positive: students placed in classrooms with higher treatment fidelity showed higher gains in positive peer interactions and fewer problem behaviors in the classroom.
Classroom organization and behavior management systems that emphasize opportunities to teach and practice social and self-management skills are important prevention strategies for students who are academically at risk or who engage in chronic problem behaviors (Nelson et al., 1991; Hudley and Graham, 1993; Larson, 1989; Ruth, 1996; Todd et al., 1999). Examples of classroom behavioral interventions appear in Box 5-3.
Positive classroom management systems that promote social competence require positively stated rules and classroom routines (Colvin et al., 1993; Gottfredson, 1990; Mayer, 1995; Walker et al., 1995). Effective classroom teachers commit significant time to establishing: (a) behavior and academic expectations required in the classroom and school settings; (b) classroom routines, such as turning in completed work, lining up, getting teacher help, using the restroom, participating in class discussion, and completing independent seat work; and (c) a high percentage of teacher-student interactions (Brophy, 1983; Gettinger, 1988; Levine and Ornstein, 1989; Martens and Kelly, 1993; Montague et al., 1997; Waxman and Huang, 1997). Note how the effectiveness of explicitly teaching expecta-