Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Performance Feedback and Teachers' Use of Praise and Opportunities to Respond: A Review of the Literature

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Performance Feedback and Teachers' Use of Praise and Opportunities to Respond: A Review of the Literature

Article excerpt

Abstract

The current era of education reform is characterized by increased standards and higher expectations for teacher performance. Teachers should be given timely, effective access to tools designed to improve their instructional and classroom management practice. One technique that has been used to improve teacher's use of effective classroom management strategies is performance feedback. This review of the literature examines the impact of performance feedback on two evidence-based classroom management strategies: praise and opportunities to respond (OTRs). Findings from the review suggest that performance feedback may be an effective technique for improving teachers' use of praise in the classroom. Performance feedback's impact on teachers' use of OTRs is less clear. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

KEYWORDS: Classroom Management, Performance Feedback, Praise, Opportunities To Respond

In the current era of education reform characterized by increased standards and higher expectations for teacher performance, teachers are being asked to improve their educational practices including methods, pedagogy, and content knowledge. Indeed, current policy initiatives at state and federal levels propose to tie teacher evaluation systems to student performance on standardized tests (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2010). Thus, there is an urgent need for educators to improve their teaching performance. Furthermore, educators are expected to implement evidence-based practices (Homer et al., 2005). At the same time, teachers are being asked to educate an ever more diverse group of children, many of whom do not enter school with "readiness" skills necessary for adequate school achievement (Pianta, Cox, & Snow, 2007). One area of school readiness that has received significant attention in recent years is student social behavior (Mashburn & Pianta, 2006). Students who exhibit high rates of prosocial behavior are more likely to experience later academic achievement (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, Bandura, & Zimbardo, 2000). Conversely, children who exhibit disruptive, antisocial, and noncompliant behavior are at greater risk for poor academic performance and school failure (Walker, Ramsey, & Gresham, 2004). Given the current policy climate related to teacher performance and the need to employ evidence-based practices to improve the aforementioned social and academic difficulties, it is critical that teachers utilize classroom management strategies that effectively prevent problem behavior, improve prosocial behavior, and increase students' engagement with learning tasks. Given that initial training by itself does not appear to improve teacher practices (Joyce & Showers, 2002), one method used to increase teachers' use of praise and OTRs is performance feedback.

Performance feedback has been defined as "actions taken by (an) external agent(s) to provide information regarding some aspect(s) of one's task performance" (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996, p. 255). Performance feedback is used to improve performance in many fields including business and education (Greve, 2003; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Sprick, Knight, Reinke, Skyles, & Barnes, 2010). Within the education literature, it has been effectively utilized to support a variety of teacher behaviors and teaching strategies such as literacy instruction (L'Allier, Elish-Piper, & Bean, 2010), mathematics instruction (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2009), and behavior support plan implementation (Codding, Feinberg, Dunn, & Pace, 2005). Performance feedback has been suggested within the context of coaching to improve classroom management (Scott & Martinek, 2006; Sprick et al., 2010) within systems of Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS; Sugai et al., 2010). Thousands of schools across the nation are adopting systems of SWPBLS (National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, 2011). …

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