I’ve been using the slow weeks around the holidays to catch up on the latest CLASS™ research findings. There’s a lot that I’d like to get to in another post (like this! And this!). However, I came across a study by a research group I read up on from time to time. Their work is so fascinating that I just had to share.
Elise Cappella and her colleagues dig into the intangible ways that classroom environments can influence learning and well-being. They focus on peer relationships, bullying, and how teachers influence the ecology of the classroom.
The bad news:
The good news:
Hooray for warm, supportive, sensitive teachers!
In a follow-up study, the researchers looked at how peer networks affect classroom engagement, an important predictor of achievement. Some classrooms are very hierarchical—a few children are popular and many others are left out. Others are more equal—many children are friendly with lots of other children in the classroom. The study found that children tend to be more engaged in learning in classrooms that are more equal.
This effect was especially strong in classrooms that had high Classroom Organization. So Classroom Organization can boost the benefits of a more equal social environment and contribute to better engagement along the way.
Hooray for productive, well-organized, engaging teachers!
I love studies that look at how teacher-child interactions support better peer relationships and social outcomes. It takes a lot of skill on the part of researchers to give these intangible things—social relationships, peer ecologies—the attention they deserve. What kinds of research findings would you like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments!
1. Cappella, E. & Neal, J. W. (2012). A classmate at your side: Teacher practices, peer victimization, and network connections in urban schools. School Mental Health, 4, 81-94.
2. Cappella, E., Kim, H. Y., Neal, J. W., & Jackson, D. R. (2013). Classroom peer relationships and behavioral engagement in elementary school: The role of social network equity. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52, 367-379.
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We often talk about the stressors educators face within the classroom - from tantrums to a lack of time for planning. But, what external factors are impacting educators, and what can we do to change them to create more meaningful learning experiences? We are excited to introduce our new podcast, Impacting the Classroom, to talk about these big topics in education.
Join our hosts, Darlene Estes-Del Re and Marnetta Larrimer as they bring together the researchers, policymakers, and educators who are making an impact in the field. Our first episode lays the groundwork for some of the larger themes that we'll dive into further over the next few weeks. Episodes are released biweekly and can be found on most major podcast platforms. Listen and subscribe today!
From coast to coast and around the globe, there’s a common thread that unites teachers: wanting to be better for their students.
Even when things are tough in education, educators are striving to be their best. Their dedication to equitable, ongoing development is what inspires Teachstone’s work. It will take a systematic, data-driven approach to reach the day when all children are afforded excellent education and care. And, we are enthusiastic partners in getting to that goal.
Hey there, Teachstone community! My name is Stephanie Lewandowski, and I am the Senior Product Manager for myTeachstone. Before joining Teachstone, I built digital products for education companies, financial institutions, and government agencies. I’m passionate about delivering impactful products, particularly the tools that make the everyday work of teaching and learning a little bit easier. As a parent, and as a product manager, I know how invaluable early childhood education is, and I’m inspired by the teachers in both my personal and professional life.
At Teachstone, our driving vision is to ensure every child experiences life-changing teaching. This mission is why we’re making a commitment to restabilize and improve education for every child, and every educator. And, we know that bringing this commitment to life requires providing education leaders with the support they need to not only face the current challenges, but that will propel towards the future of quality and equity.