The first phase of The Supporting Teachers And childRen in Schools (STARS) programme, a randomised trial to look at the effectiveness of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IY – TCM) project, has come to a close with the publication of the final report. Now researchers at PenCLAHRC are looking for 140 schools across Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton to take part in the second phase.
Begun in 2012 and involving over 80 schools across Devon, the STARS project looked at how teaching methods can impact youngsters’ behaviour and help to create a positive learning environment through the implementation of the IY – TCM course. With an emphasis on reinforcing positive behaviour, the course uses collaborative learning that draws on teachers’ own experiences and group work to find solutions to problems encountered in the classroom. Research indicates that 10% of children and young people aged between five and 16 years have a clinically impairing psychiatric disorder. This leads to poor social and emotional skills that can affect a child‘s academic attainment, as well as adversely impacting the life chances of all children in a classroom. Disruptive behaviour is also a common source of stress among teachers, and a common reason for many leaving the profession.
Louise Fitzpatrick, a recently qualified teacher who took part in the programme said, “As I spent more time on the training course I could feel my thought process changing. When I was back in the classroom I found it easier to spot all of the wonderful things the children were doing and praise them for that, rather than picking up on negative behaviour.” While Helen Morris, an experienced primary school teacher who also participated thinks her training is paying dividends, “As a result of the training I’ve realised that my stress levels were partly to blame for bad behaviour in the classroom. STARS has given me a number of skills to manage that stress and taught me how to praise and reinforce the behaviour I expect to see from my pupils – helping them to understand and even use that approach themselves.”
Now recruiting for the second phase, Dr Rachel Hayes, senior Research Fellow at Exeter College of Medicine and Health and STARS trial manager says, “Our previous study had some really promising results in terms of improving behaviour and mental health. However, this initial study didn’t have an accurate attainment measure, so we are really excited to be able to extend the study into more schools across the country and fully explore the potential impact on academic attainment.”
Participants will benefit from six days of free high quality training in classroom management and previous participants have commented on the relevance of the training to their teaching practice and the quickly realised, positive outcomes in a classroom setting.
The project was funded by a grant from the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme (project number 10/3006/07).