Classroom management can be defined as providing an effective learning environment. This definition, however, suggests that the learning environment needs to be effective for all students within a particular class. How can this difficult task be achieved? This edition of Better presents a wide range of views and evidence about classroom management from international experts, providing both practical insights and evidence to ultimately enhance our children’s learning experience, their contribution to their own learning, and their own long-term outcomes.
As this issue of Better explains, physical and mental health can make a difference to student test scores. Physical exercise gets us fit, produces endorphins, encourages mastery, and helps us to work in teams. Yoga may help students to be more mindful, getting them to reflect on immediate choices about what they eat, hear, and do. School curricula such as LifeSkills Training can boost young people’s ability to resist doing what they should not do, like taking drugs. A tired and satisfied child will sleep through the night and wake up ready for school.
The best argument for emphasizing evidence in educational policy and practice is what happens when evidence plays no role: practice and policy swing like a pendulum from one enthusiasm to the opposite, and then back again, but no progress is made.The solution is to have a wide array of research going on at all times to create and evaluate promising solutions to longstanding problems. In this issue we have a wide array of articles looking at how to get the most from evidence in both policy and practice.
If teachers can identify struggling readers early, they can provide a broad array of effective interventions, from one-to-one and small-group tutoring to cooperative learning to comprehensive school reform. This issue presents articles on proven solutions to reading failure in both elementary and secondary schools. These solutions vary in many ways, but collectively they tell us something very important: ultimately, virtually all children can succeed in reading.
This issue looks at the various assessment practices that can help to improve student achievement. It includes articles on the importance of how feedback is given, how you can get the most from self-assessment, and the value of formative assessment to both teachers and students. There is also a look at whether all the assessment tools that are currently used are necessary, and some suggestions as to how high-stakes assessments can be improved.
In this issue of Better, some of the world’s leading researchers review the evidence of what works in teaching Language Arts. The articles cover a range of issues, including the importance of vocabulary, the best ways of teaching writing, and the importance of grammar. There are also features on the use of multimedia to support the teaching of writing and the additional help that is needed for English Language Learners.
The articles in this issue give a range of perspectives on the various uses of technology and their effectiveness. Among the issues considered are safety on the internet, the use of interactive whiteboards and embedding multimedia, or old-fashioned video, into lessons. There are also thought-provoking pieces on the use of technology to improve testing, and the importance of professional development to help teachers use technology effectively.
The fourth issue of Better looks at science. It includes articles from researchers around the world, including a report on a professional development program in Germany, and the story of how one Canadian province designed an evidence-based program. There are also articles on how to keep middle school science students engaged, and the value of textbooks.
The third issue focuses on social and emotional learning. Students who can work productively with others, solve interpersonal problems in peaceful ways, and maintain motivation in the face of challenge and disappointment, are likely to be successful in whatever they do and to contribute to society. This issue provides well-founded suggestions for ways teachers and other educators can create classrooms in which pro-social behaviours and emotional regulation are likely to be developed.
The second issue focuses on math. Everyone agrees that math is a critical subject for all school students. But how can teachers best ensure that all students reach their full potential? Although there is a good deal of evidence on what works (and what doesn’t) in elementary, middle and high schools, it is not always easy to find this information. We are very pleased to have contributions from some of the world’s leading researchers on the subject, and we hope that their articles prove interesting, and help you make informed decisions.
This first issue focuses on literacy in elementary, middle, and high schools. It has articles from some of the top reading researchers in the world. The articles do not always agree with each other, because research continues to evolve. But they are all rooted in rigorous research on what works in the teaching of reading.
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The next issue, published in May 2012, will be on healthy bodies and healthy minds.