When Dr. Jones began his research in classroom management
in 1969, the term "classroom management" had
not yet been coined. "Classroom discipline"
as a field of study did not exist. Teachers were told
in their methods courses that, "You will figure it
out once you are in the classroom." A decade and
a half later when Dr. Jones published his first book Positive
Classroom Discipline with McGraw Hill, it was
published as a professional book rather than as a textbook.
As the senior editor explained, "There is no point
in publishing a textbook for a course that no one is offering."
The beginning of Dr. Jones' research in classroom management
is described in
the first chapter of Tools for Teaching.
Two teachers at a special school for "emotionally
and educationally handicapped" adolescents had orderly
and productive classrooms, whereas their colleagues had
highly disruptive classrooms. These two highly effective
teachers, dubbed "naturals," were able to achieve
this result without raising their voices or working themselves
to death. How did they do it?
Answering that question marked the beginning of a decade
and a half of classroom research and collaboration with
teachers. Dr. Jones was in the classroom 3-5 days a week
during that period, and, as Yogi Bera said, "You
can see a lot by looking." Mini-experiments were
carried out constantly based on observations and after
school brain-storming sessions with teachers. Formal research
was used to validate basic procedures, but the independent
variables of these studies only hint at the richness of
classroom practice that was being explored. This richness
is more accurately conveyed in Tools
Throughout this period one criterion guided the research
in addition to, "Does it work?" That criterion
was, "Is it affordable?" If a procedure worked
but was judged to be troublesome and time consuming by
the teachers, it was dumped. Consequently, there was constant
pressure to perfect procedures that would reduce a teacher's
work load rather than increase it. Many procedures that
"worked" were dumped along the way.
It was apparent during our first study that the "natural"
teachers achieved their results with skills rather than
with complex management programs that required record
keeping, contracts, and tangible reinforcers. In studying
these skills, we began to understand how effective teachers
"mean business." Our research further showed
that less successful teachers could be trained to use
these skills. Since skill training is relatively labor
intensive as opposed to the typical "in-service seminar,"
the question arose, "Can teachers in the field successfully
train their colleagues?" The first research in peer
training was published in the early 1970's, a half-decade
before the term "trainer of trainers" began
to appear in the literature.
The bibliography below lists formal research that was
published in major peer reviewed journals in the field.
All naturally have controls, although single-subject research
designs were used in which teachers are their own controls
as opposed to having control groups. These research designs
are far more responsive to changes in student behavior
and allow the precise documentation of teacher responses
to student behavior.
Finally, a note about the dates of publication. While
done in the 1970's, the research is not "old."
Research findings do not spoil on the shelf like ripe
fruit. Rather, formal research on the efficacy of procedures
constituted the first phase of program development. After
validating key classroom management procedures with research,
efforts during the 1980's and 90's turned to perfecting
methods of teacher training and dissemination in the field.
This work is reflected in the Study
Group Activity Guide.
- Jones, F. H. and Miller,
W. G.; The effective use of negative attention for
reducing group disruption in special elementary school
classrooms. Psychological Record, 1974,
- Jones, F. H. and Eimers,
R.; Role-playing to train elementary teachers to
use a classroom management "skill package."
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1975,
- Jones, F. H., Fremouw,
W., and Carples, S.; Pyramid training of elementary
school teachers to use a classroom management "skill
package." Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,
1977, 10, 239-253.
- Burka, A. A. and Jones F.
H.; Procedures for increasing appropriate verbal
participation in special elementary classrooms. Behavior
Modification, 1979, 3, 27-48.
- Cowen, R. J., Jones,
F. H., and Bellack, A. S.; Grandma's rule with group
contingencies, cost-efficient means of classroom management.
Behavior Modification, 1979, 3, 397-418.
- Burka, Aden A.; Procedures for increasing appropriate
verbal participation in special elementary classrooms,
dissertation, University of Rochester, March 25, 1977.
- Cowen, Richard J.; Grandma's rule with group contingencies:
a cost-effective means of classroom management during
reading circle, dissertation, University of Pittsburgh,
October 28, 1977.
- Weis, Herbert M. ; Skill training for teachers of
problem classrooms at the secondary level, dissertation,
University of Rochester, January 20, 1978.
- Docteur, Kenneth E.; The effects of increasing verbal
and non-verbal contingent teacher reinforcement on the
level of attentive student behavior, dissertation, University
of Rochester, May 20, 1978.
1) Jones, F. H.
and Miller, W. G.; The effective use of negative attention
for reducing group disruption in special elementary school
classrooms. Psychological Record, 1974, 24,
Our first research project shaped our understanding of
two things: 1) successful discipline management in the
classroom and 2) successful staff development. By chance,
we found two teachers in a school for "emotionally
and educationally handicapped" adolescents who had
the kids eating out of the palms of their hands while
their colleagues were dying. These highly effective teachers,
which we referred to as "naturals," were not
working very hard, were not getting upset, and were not
using time consuming behavior modification programs. They
were simply using themselves as the primary instrument
of classroom management - skills that took neither planning
nor record keeping. It was cheap! It looked easy! What
Appropriate and disruptive student behavior was measured
during class discussions as was the teachers' response
to disruptive behavior. Our data showed that the "naturals"
and the ineffective teachers had the same amount of appropriate
student behavior, but in the classrooms of the ineffective
teachers, appropriate behavior was buried in disruptions.
Time sampling data showed that the ineffective teachers
had four times as many disruptions as the "naturals,"
but tallies showed the rate to be 10 times as much. The
"naturals" had some disruptions, of course,
but they responded quickly and effectively so that one
disruption rarely followed another. The ineffective teachers,
in contrast, turned a "blind eye" to disruptions
so that disruptive students could feed off of each other.
Only when these classrooms reached a high level of disruptiveness
did the teachers intervene, and at such times negative
attention was delivered at such high intensity that the
classes came to a complete halt.
Figuring out what the "natural" teachers were
doing proved to be rather difficult. Their responses were
quick and subtle. Often it was just a look or a gesture.
Eventually, however, patterns emerged so that we could
begin to describe what the teachers were doing. In the
literature we referred to this "skill package"
collectively as Limit Setting, but the teachers often
referred to it as "meaning business." The skills
of Limit Setting included:
- correct identification of potentially disruptive
- mobility which increased physical proximity to students.
- development of a repertoire of gestures and brief
verbalizations signifying that a student was out of
- facial expression and tone of voice consistent with
- quick response to disruptions, often interrupting
the disruption before it can elicit peer attention or
- reinforcement of appropriate behavior in another student
- reinforcement of appropriate behavior in the disruptive
student as soon as possible (i.e. DRO, differential
reinforcement of other behavior).
A seminar was given to the entire faculty in which effective
practices were described and modeled. No improvement occurred
in anybody's classroom. Naturally, we blamed the ineffective
teachers. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Then,
in a blinding flash of insight, we realized that we were
asking these teachers to implement complex new management
skills in front of the entire class without ever having
practiced them. We went back to the drawing board to develop
training procedures that allowed the teachers to master
the new skills and feel comfortable with them before "laying
it on the line" in front of their students. With
training we got results - our first big lesson in successful
As a result of skill training,
disruptions decreased by 56% and the ignoring of
disruptions dropped by 73.5%. A three month follow-up
showed that teachers were still using the skills.
With training, the ineffective teachers improved quickly
and dramatically so that their data soon matched the "naturals."
Disruptions dropped by 56%, and the ignoring of disruptions
dropped by 73.5%. During reversal, the rate of disruptions
for the ineffective teachers shot up to baseline levels,
and when the Limit Setting skills were reinstituted, disruptions
once again dropped. A three month follow-up showed that
the previously ineffective teachers were still using the
skills, and the level of disruption was still low. Follow-up
data also showed that, by the end of the school year,
both "naturals" and trainees only had to respond
to disruptions one-third as often as they had during baseline
in order to keep disruptions at a low level. This means
that their jobs were getting easier as time passed. Apparently,
"meaning business" over time trained the students
in habits of rule following.
This first study proved to be seminal. We learned that;
1) teachers could manage classrooms without complex management
programs by using social skills, 2) social skills were
cheap since they eliminated the planning and record keeping
of formal programs, 3) these skills could be described,
4) ineffective teachers could be trained to use these
skills successfully, and 5) these skills would maintain
over time, probably because doing it the old way increased
pain and doing it the new way reduced pain.
2) Jones, F. H. and Eimers,
R.; Role-playing to train elementary teachers to use a
classroom management "skill package." Journal
of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1975, 8, 421-433.
Our second study sought to replicate and extend the findings
of the first study (Jones and
Miller). The opening remarks of the article reveal
a growing sense of having found something important that
needed to be shared with teachers.
The authors have reduced cost in three ways: by focusing
on the management of group behavior, by relying primarily
upon social contingencies to control disruptive and
on-task behavior, and by developing performance-oriented
To achieve these objectives, two separate technologies
have been developed in parallel. The first
involves pinpointing social skills critical to classroom
behavior management and integrating them into a "skill
package." The second involves developing
an efficient method for imparting these skills to teachers.
Disruptive student behavior was measured in two 3rd
grade classrooms in a white, middle class school during
both group discussions and seat work (math). During group
discussions both "talking to neighbors" and
"interrupting" were scored as disruptions. During
seat work "talking to neighbors" and "out
of seat" were scored separately as disruptions. In
addition, student productivity was measured during seat
work using a permanent products measure (math problems
completed correctly per day, per student). Measuring both
disruptions and productivity during seat work and documenting
the correlation between the two was pivotal since, in
our first study, it was obvious that disruptions killed
Teachers were trained in the skill package described
in the first study (Jones and
Miller). The description of the training procedures,
however, reveals a highly developed methodology in which
teachers play the roles of teacher, good student, and
bad student in simulated classroom interactions as they
are coached by a trainer. This training methodology is
similar to that described in the Study
Group Activity Guide (addendum H, Goof Off).
training, “talking to neighbors“ decreased
by an average of 73% while “out of seat”
decreased by an average of 72%. During the same
period, academic productivity during seat work increased
29% for the middle third of the class and 76% for
the bottom third of the class.
Results showed that during group discussions teacher
training reduced disruptions by 73%. During seat work
teacher training reduced "talking to neighbors"
by 73% and "out of seat" by 72%. During seat
work productivity was stable for the top third of the
class, increased 29% for the middle third of the class,
and increased 76% for the bottom third of the class. As
the authors stated, "The ones who needed help the
most showed the greatest improvement."
In addition to replicating original findings, the study
confirmed that the skill package could be readily taught
and was flexible enough to accommodate the daily variability
among classroom instructional formats. Findings also confirmed
that, as suspected, classroom disruptions kill time-on-task.
This implies that one of the most effective means of increasing
time-on-task would be to increase teachers' effectiveness
in classroom management. Finally, it should be noted that
our understanding of how teachers mean business increased
daily as we worked with the trainees.
3) Jones, F. H.,
Fremouw, W., and Carples, S.; Pyramid training of elementary
school teachers to use a classroom management "skill
package." Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,
1977, 10, 239-253.
Previous research (Jones and
Miller; Jones and Eimers)
demonstrated the effectiveness of training teachers to
use a classroom management "skill package" through
performance practice with coaching and immediate feedback.
Once research demonstrated the importance of teachers'
skills which require careful training, the question arose,
"Can this training be multiplied in the field so
that the findings have broad implications for professional
development, or is it so complex that the training can
only be carried out by a core group of skilled specialists?"
The present study extended previous work by developing
and testing procedures for training teachers to train
their colleagues (referred to as pyramid training, in
later years referred to as "trainer of trainers").
The purpose of pyramid training was to multiply the efforts
of an outside trainer or "expert." Pyramid training,
therefore, had two primary objectives: a) to reduce the
cost per teacher trained to a level that is realistic
given the normal budgetary constraints of school districts,
and b) to build an in-house expertise hierarchy to insure
quality control and maintenance of change as the role
of the outside expert diminishes. An additional issue
related to pyramid training was the possible contribution
of the "helper principal" to the performance
of teachers serving as coaches. Would coaching help them
to further improve since, "one of the best ways to
learn something is by teaching it." Finally, two
secondary issues were addressed: a) Did room arrangement
have any affect on student behavior apart from the "skill
package?", and b) Would the "skill package"
work in low income, inner-city schools as well as it had
worked in middle class, suburban schools?
Three teachers were trained in the use of a classroom
management "skill package" (Jones
and Miller, Jones and Eimers).
After follow-up data were taken, these three teachers
were trained to use the coaching skills that had been
employed by the authors to train them. Then, each of these
three teachers trained three colleagues. The first group
of teachers who served as trainers was referred to as
"Tier 1." The second group of teachers who was
trained by them were referred to as "Tier 2."
Disruptive student behaviors scored in the classrooms
were similar to previous studies;"talking to neighbors"
and "out of seat." Student productivity was
measured during seat work math as in the previous study
(Jones and Eimers), but
due to differences in curriculum, measurement was in terms
of units completed per week, per student, rather than
problems completed per day, per student.
A multiple baseline assessed the contribution of room
arrangement apart from the classroom management "skill
package." Teachers worried that the new room arrangements
which placed students closer to each other would increase
"talking to neighbors." Data showed that room
arrangement neither increased nor reduced disruptions.
Consequently, room arrangement cannot be viewed as a significant
management tool in its own right. Rather, it should be
viewed as setting the stage for the teachers' use of mobility
and proximity in the management of disruptive behavior
(i.e. working the crowd).
Following initial training,
"talking to neighbors" was reduced by
69% for two teachers and by 34% for the third teacher.
After these teachers trained their colleagues, "talking
to neighbors" was further reduced by 87% overall
for the first two teachers and by 44% overall for
the third teacher.
"Out of seat" followed
a similar pattern. Two teachers reduced "out
of seat" by 67% while a third teacher reduced
it by 29%. After these teachers trained their colleagues,
"out of seat" was further reduced by 74%
overall for the first two teachers and by 50% overall
for the third teacher.
For Tier 1 teachers "talking to neighbors"
was reduced significantly by their initial training. Two
of the teachers reduced "talking to neighbors"
by 69%, whereas the third reduced it by 34%. For the Tier
1 teachers, peer training produced additional gains. By
the end of peer training the first two teachers had reduced
"talking to neighbors" by 87% overall, whereas
the third teacher reduced it by 44%.
For Tier 1 teachers "out of seat" was reduced
significantly by their initial training.Two of the teachers
reduced "out of seat" by 67%, whereas the third
teacher reduced it by only 29%. By the end of peer training
the first two teachers had reduced "out of seat"
by 74% overall, whereas the third teacher reduced it by
It seemed as though the "helper effect" was
playing a significant role in helping the Tier 1 trainees
consolidate and extend their learning as they trained
colleagues. Tier 1 teachers improved in all measures across
conditions, but on each of the measures, one of the teachers
improved only moderately during the first follow-up but
substantially after they trained colleagues. The teacher
that lagged behind during initial training was different
for each of the measures thereby eliminating the notion
that there was simply one weak teacher in the group. Rather,
it would seem that, the more training teachers received,
the more idiosyncrasies in their performance were eliminated
or "ironed out." In summarizing the findings,
the authors stated:
"... Serving as a coach tended to benefit most
those who profited least from the initial training.
This benefit derived from coaching might be attributed
either to the experience of coaching itself, or to the
concentrated review and additional skill practice that
occurred in the prep sessions conducted by the investigators
before each peer coaching session."
Peer training produced
results for the Tier 2 teachers comparable to results
obtained for the Tier 1 teachers who were trained
by the authors. For Tier 2 teachers "talking
to neighbors" was reduced as a result of peer
training by 58%. "Out of seat" was reduced
as a result of peer training by 69%.
Peer training produced results for the Tier 2 teachers
comparable to results obtained for the Tier 1 teachers
who were trained by the authors. For Tier 2 teachers "talking
to neighbors" was reduced as a result of peer training
by 58%. "Out of seat" was reduced as a result
of peer training by 69%. As a footnote, follow-up data
for Tier 2 classrooms was taken in the final two weeks
of the school year with the final data point being taken
on the day report cards were handed out. While both students
and staff were eager for vacation to begin, "meaning
business" nevertheless produced an orderly classroom.
Assessments of student productivity showed the "helper
effect" for the Tier 1 teachers in a matter analogous
to measures of student disruptions. Following their initial
training, two of the teachers recorded increases in student
productivity of 62% and 67% respectively, whereas the
third teacher recorded an increase of only 8%. By the
end of peer training, however, the teacher who had increased
62% had increased further to 80%, whereas the teacher
who had improved only 8% had improved to 56%. Furthermore,
assessment of the top and bottom halves of the classes
showed that, in both classrooms, 100% of the students
in the bottom half had improved, whereas 77% of the students
in the top half had improved. The third teacher showed
a 78% gain for the bottom half of the class and a 56%
gain for the top half of the class. Due to a change in
curriculum, no follow-up assessment was possible in this
All Tier 1 teachers showed
increases in student productivity following their
initial training. Two of the teachers recorded increases
in student productivity of 62% and 67% respectively,
whereas the third teacher recorded an increase of
only 8%. In the first two classrooms, 100% of students
in the bottom half of the class improved, whereas
the third teacher showed similar improvement for
78% of students.
Not surprisingly, in all classrooms there was a negative
correlation between classroom disruptions and student
productivity. These findings once again confirmed the
general observation that student disruptions kill time-on-task
and, along with it, student learning. This would imply
that training teachers in skills of effective classroom
management would be one of the most straightforward ways
of increasing learning time in the classroom.
This study demonstrated the feasibility of having teachers
train their peers in the use of sophisticated classroom
management skills. As the authors stated in their summary:
"A basic implication of the above findings is
that the cost of teacher training can be significantly
reduced through the use of pyramid training while at
the same time improving the skills of the Tier 1 teachers
and establishing them as master teachers... The cost
per teacher trained in terms of outside consultant time...
was reduced from Tier 1 to Tier 2 by a factor of 4:1."
However, the authors added a cautionary note:
"An additional source of help for the coaches...
was the availability of the investigators during prep
sessions to give support and to trouble-shoot interpersonal
difficulties that arose during Tier 2 training. This
'personnel management' function of the investigators
was particularly important for (one of the trainers)
who became extremely discouraged during Tier 2 training
due to the disruptiveness and unwillingness to role-play
of one of the Tier 2 trainees. This experience underscores
the risk factor inherent in peer training and the crucial
role of (an expert trainer) in preventing the training
process from 'going sour.'"
In closing, the authors stated:
"While the success of the pyramid training model...
has important cost implications for training teachers
in complex classroom management skills, it has equally
important implications for maintaining effects after
training. Pyramid training, in addition to producing
skillful teachers, produces an 'in-house expertise hierarchy'
comprised of trained teachers and their coaches. This
expertise hierarchy provides the structural basis for
periodic feedback and refresher training within a continuing
4) Burka, A. A. and Jones
F. H.; Procedures for increasing appropriate verbal participation
in special elementary classrooms. Behavior Modification,
1979, 3, 27-48.
The study of appropriate verbal participation by students
during group discussions was prompted by the observation
during previous research that classroom discussions were
typically of poor quality. Discussions rarely engaged
in idea building or critical thinking. Rather, teachers
tended to ask closed ended questions which yielded brief
factual answers, and student participation was dominated
by five or six bright students while the rest of the class
tried to disappear. In addition, classroom discussions
tended to be rowdy as student participation was interrupted
by off-topic remarks, yelling across the room, profanity,
At this time very little research had been done on students'
verbal participation in class. The tendency of teachers
to call for rote memory answers had been noted in the
literature as had students' tendency to respond in a few
words rather than complete sentences. None of these studies,
however, dealt explicitly with building elaborated self-expression
in a group discussion format.
The present study focused on increasing appropriate
verbal participation (AVP) during group discussions.
AVP was defined as any student verbalization which was
generally relevant to the discussion topic (i.e., not
silly or tangential) and addressed to the class as a whole.
Furthermore, interventions (teacher training) sought to
distribute AVP more evenly throughout the class so that
students who had been silent would begin to participate.
However, to lay the groundwork for increased AVP, we first
sought to reduce student disruptions, particularly verbal
disruptions, since they competed with AVP.
Subjects consisted of the teachers and students in three
special classrooms in which most students were referred
for unmanageable behavior in regular classrooms. Students
were lower to middle-class, racially mixed, of average
intelligence and ranging in age from 10-13 years. Thus,
the study was conducted in a setting in which classroom
discussions which engage students in idea building were
hardly thought possible.
Disruptive student behavior included "inappropriate
talk" and "out of seat" and was scored
in a manner similar to previous studies (Jones
and Miller; Jones and Eimers;
Jones, Fremouw and Carples).
"Inappropriate talk," however, included not
only "talking to neighbors," but also disruptive
behaviors commonly observed in discussions such as yelling
across the room, interrupting someone who is speaking
AVP was scored both for the group as a whole and for
individually targeted students. For the group as a whole,
cumulative duration of AVP was scored during each observation
interval using a stopwatch. In addition, a quiet student
was targeted in each classroom to see whether gains in
AVP were achieved through a more even distribution of
participation or through simply focusing on the more talkative
students. As a further control, a "nonquiet"
student (randomly selected each day) was targeted along
with the quiet student in each classroom. Participation
of the targeted students was scored as present or absent
during each scoring interval.
The research design was a multiple baseline single subject
design employing three classrooms. As in previous studies,
teacher training consisted of modeling, performance practice,
role-playing, and immediate feedback to help teachers
achieve comfort and fluency with new skills prior to their
use in the classroom. Multiple baselines consisted of
the following conditions:
- Baseline: Pre-intervention
- Instructions: Teachers were given
the goals of the study (to decrease disruptions and
to increase appropriate verbal participation) and were
asked to achieve these goals insofar as possible during
the following few weeks. No instructions were given
as to how to achieve these goals. This condition was
a control to partial out that portion of improvement
which could be attributed to simply focusing one's efforts
in lieu of formal training.
- Skill Training 1: This training replicated
the "skill training package" described in
previous studies (Jones and
Miller, Jones and Eimers).
This training included not only classroom structure
and "meaning business," but also the differential
reinforcement of on-task behavior (DRO).
- Skill Training 2: The second phase
of training, discussion leader training, focused
on specific skills of facilitating a group discussion.
As a discussion leader, the teachers' goal was to "draw
students out" while creating a safe environment
for student participation. Discussions were clearly
separated from the didactic portion of the lesson so
that teacher input would not intrude upon student self-expression
(i.e. the more teachers talked, the less students talked).
Discussion leader training included the following
- Selective Reinforcement: Focus on the
useful part of students' verbalizations rather than
error ("Take the best and leave the rest.").
When teachers pointed out flaws in student participation
(errors of fact, mediocre or tangential content),
particularly in students who rarely participated,
these students would go silent for the remainder
of the discussion.
- Targeting Key Issues: Teachers learned
that they could direct a discussion without taking
it over by simply choosing where to go with the
student's remark. What issue has been raised? Where
does that lead?
- Open-ended Prompting: After focusing
on a key issue (which is optional, of course), stimulate
further student discussion with open-ended rather
than closed-ended prompts. Return to the student
who made the previous remark if you want that student
to engage in idea building. (We found that students
tended to be more serious with what they said if
they knew that they might be asked to explain or
build upon their idea.)
- Distributing Participation: Teachers
were instructed to distribute participation more
evenly among students rather than repeatedly calling
on the five or six most likely to have quality responses.
- Wait Time: After prompting a student,
allow time "for the wheels to turn." During
training it became apparent that the teachers had
a very low tolerance for silence. After only a few
seconds they would insert a personal comment or
call on another student before allowing sufficient
time for thought.
teachers in basic classroom management skills (Skill
Training 1) reduced classroom disruptions during
group discussions by 83% and increased appropriate
verbal participation (AVP) by 244%. Training teachers
in skills of discussion facilitation (Skill Training
2) reduced classroom disruptions by 95% overall
while further increasing AVP to 604% overall.
Data for targeted
quiet students also showed improvement ranging from
36% to 89%. Thus, the teachers were able to distribute
participation more evenly among students including
even those who would normally have nothing to say.
Skill Training 1 produced a reduction in disruptions
and an increase in AVP as predicted. Disruptions were
reduced from baseline by 83% across the three classrooms,
and AVP increased from baseline by 244%.
Skill Training 2 produced a further reduction in disruptions
and a further increase in AVP. Disruptions were reduced
from baseline by 95%, and AVP increased from baseline
Data for individually targeted quiet students
showed no change from baseline to Skill Training 1. Skill
Training 2, however, produced increases in the three classrooms
of 36%, 89%, and 42%. Data for individually targeted random
students showed no change from baseline to Skill Training
1. Skill Training 2 produced no change in 2 of the 3 classrooms,
but an increase of 69% in the third classroom.
This study confirmed the effectiveness of the skill training
package used in previous research (Skill Training 1) in
reducing disruptions and increasing time-on-task. Increases
in AVP as a result of Skill Training 1 confirmed not only
that inappropriate talk competed with and suppressed AVP,
but also that setting limits on disruptions enhanced students'
willingness and ability to participate in discussions.
Furthermore, the study confirmed the value of Skill Training
2 in enhancing the teacher's ability to effectively facilitate
student participation in discussions. Finally, the study
confirmed the effectiveness of Skill Training 2 in distributing
participation more evenly among students so that students
who rarely participated in group discussions began to
Increases in the duration of AVP for the class as a whole
can most reasonably be attributed to a fundamental change
in group process rather than to a change in the behavior
of a few isolated students. Teachers were able to shape
self-expression without relinquishing the enforcement
of basic classroom rules such as taking turns and not
interrupting. Furthermore, teachers were able to create
an atmosphere of safety so that students who had been
reticent to participate became regular participants. Much
of this safety can be attributed to; a) replacing negative
remarks by the teacher toward student verbalizations of
mediocre quality with selective reinforcement, b) targeting
key issues, and c) open-ended prompting. Used together,
these skills give all students a sense of having contributed
something of value.
The study also sheds light on the relationship between
basic skills of classroom management (Skill Training 1)
and more advanced and specialized skills of discussion
facilitation (Skill Training 2). While limit setting suppressed
disruption thus freeing class time for AVP, it also served
the correlate function of training students in readiness
skills of participating in group discussions such as paying
attention, taking turns, and refraining from disruptions.
In addition, informal observations indicated that the
quality as well as the quantity of group discussions improved
markedly as a result of Skill Training 1. Teachers now
in control and at ease reported having time to focus on
the topic and compose their thoughts during group discussions
rather than constantly having their attention fragmented.
Finally data from individual classrooms as well as from
informal observations indicated that those who profited
the most from discussion leader training (Skill Training
2) were those who had fewer of its component skills in
their preexisting skill repertoires. The ability of a
teacher to facilitate lively discussions which involve
all students in idea building and critical thinking, rather
than being a talent that some people are simply "born
with," might best be regarded as a series of skills
which, once isolated and described, can be taught in a
straightforward manner. Thus, if educators wish to have
idea building and critical thinking in their classrooms,
systematic training in discussion facilitation might be
a good place to start.
The findings of this study stand in contrast to preconceptions
of many educators that discipline and structure tend to
run counter to such "humanistic" educational
objectives as self-expression. Rather, the study confirms
that, as usual with children, clear structure, consistent
limits and safety serve as the foundation for exploration.
5) Cowen, R. J.,
Jones, F. H., and Bellack, A. S.; Grandma's rule with
group contingencies, cost-efficient means of classroom
management. Behavior Modification, 1979, 3,
The present study was prompted by the observation during
previous research that classrooms became rowdy during
small group instruction (reading groups and math groups).
As long as teachers were mobile they could "work
the crowd" and set limits as described in previous
studies (Jones and Miller,
Jones and Eimers). As soon
as teachers sat down, however, mobility and proximity
disappeared, and limit setting became extremely difficult
and expensive. Teachers had to first stop instruction
before even attempting to deal with disruptions which
were usually on the far side of the classroom, and students,
who obviously understood the teacher's dilemma, took full
advantage of the situation. As soon as the teacher sat
down, disruptions tripled as the noise level rose, and
time-on-task plummeted to 30%.
How can a teacher conduct small group instruction without
losing the rest of the class? Our teachers were all aware
of the dilemma and, in fact, sighted it as one of their
greatest frustrations. However, they had no way of resolving
the dilemma. As a result, their main management strategy
consisted of nagging and yelling.
Our attempt to deal with the teachers' dilemma during
small group instruction led us to explore advanced forms
of incentive management. In lieu of "working the
crowd" and limit setting by the teacher, we would
have to give the students a good reason to manage themselves
- to forego fooling around and to remain on task even
though the teacher was seated on the far side of the room.
Furthermore, our incentive management would have to be
group management, and it would have to be inexpensive
for the teacher. Traditional behavior modification with
individual programs for targeted behaviors was out of
the question since most of the class was disruptive at
any given time.
Unfortunately, the literature on group management was
very discouraging. Incentives for a group follow the Three
Musketeers' Rule, "All for one, and one for all."
In most classrooms, and especially in classrooms for emotionally
and behaviorally handicapped students, there existed at
least one student who would ruin it for the group just
to prove that they could.
To solve the teachers' dilemma with reading groups, therefore,
we would have to break new ground in the technology of
incentive management. Our efforts focused on the use of
time as a convenient way of simultaneously measuring both
time-on-task and the presence or absence of disruptiveness.
In the study teachers structured 15 minutes of story
time to follow a half-hour block of small group instruction
(reading circle). The time frame for the study was, therefore,
45 minutes. The incentive system was a simple application
of Grandma's Rule, "You have to finish your dinner
before you get your desert." As soon as the students
completed 30 minutes of time-on-task, they could have
the remainder of the 45 minute block for story time.
Students were told that story time would begin as soon
as the teacher had a half-hour of good work from everyone.
The students were told that, if someone was disrupting
(talking to neighbors, out of seat, yelling across the
room, etc.), they might lose time for the group. First,
however, the teacher would say the student's name and
make a simple hand gesture to prompt returning to task.
If the student did so immediately, no time would be lost.
If, however, the student failed to get back to work, time
would be recorded by the teacher until the student return
to work. That time would be added to the work period and,
consequently, subtracted from story time.
Two experimental conditions were tested; one in which
the teacher used a stopwatch to record time, and another
in which the teacher used a large Graylab darkroom stopclock
that was easily visible to the class. The question being
addressed by these two conditions was, "Would continual
visual feedback to the class concerning time loss be more
effective than the cheaper and more convenient stopwatch?"
The research employed a multiple baseline design to assess
the effect of the time loss condition. In addition, it
utilized a reversal procedure to assess the relative effectiveness
of the stopwatch and the stopclock. Experimental conditions
in order were (A) Baseline, (B) Stopwatch, (C) Stopclock,
Subjects were the teachers and students of five regular
elementary classrooms ranging from the first through third
grades. All classes were racially mixed with students
of average intelligence from lower to lower-middle class
homes. These classrooms were selected on the basis of
a reported high level of disruptions during small group
produced a significant decrease in both "talking
to neighbors" and "out of seat."
"Talking to neighbors" was reduced by
52% during the first stopwatch condition (B), 61%
during the stopclock condition (C), and 80% during
the second stopwatch condition (B).
seat" was reduced by 72% during the first stopwatch
condition (B), 85% during the stopclock condition
(C), and 85% during the second stopwatch condition
behavior was reduced by 41% in the first stopwatch
condition (B), 46% in the stopclock condition (C),
and 60% in the second stopwatch condition (B).
Results of the interventions showed a reduction in "talking
to neighbors" of 52% for the first stopwatch condition
(B), 61% for the stopclock condition (C), and 80% for
the second stopwatch condition (B). "Out of seat"
was reduced by 72% during the first stopwatch condition
(B), by 85% during the stopclock condition (C), and by
85% during the second stopwatch condition (B). "Off
task" behavior was reduced by 41% in the first stopwatch
condition (B), by 46% in the stopclock condition (C),
and by 60% in the second stopwatch condition (B).
Analysis of the data would indicate that both the stopwatch
and the stopclock conditions were highly effective in
reducing disruptions and increasing time-on-task. The
simplest interpretation of the data is that the two conditions
were comparable with continuing improvement attributable
to the cumulative effect of training students to behave
themselves in order to maximize story time. The cost and
inconvenience of the stopclock, therefore, would not
Regardless of whether they were using the stopwatch or
the stopclock, teachers reported feeling "more in
control" of their classes and more comfortable in
letting the incentive system take the place of nagging
and yelling at the class. Teachers also reported feeling
more relaxed. According to one teacher, "I have learned
more patience because the clock does the yelling for me."
Another teacher reported that the procedures made her
more time conscious and saved enough time so that she
could have three reading circles per day instead of two.
Teachers reported that the children liked both techniques
and looked forward to reading circle and the opportunity
to work for more story time. Several teachers used a variety
of preferred activities rather than just story time, and
they noted that their students became excited as they
voted for that day's preferred activity.
During baseline, disruptions tended to go unnoticed by
the teachers. As a result of implementing the incentive
system, however, teachers learned to be better observers
of student behavior and, therefore, became consistent
in responding to it. Conversely, the students became more
aware of the level of disruption that their teacher would
tolerate. This finding would suggest that, when proper
incentive procedures are used, students learn to govern
their own actions rather than relying on the teacher to
set boundaries through nagging and yelling.
While the present study utilized a time loss penalty,
students tended to view it in a positive light. According
to student verbalizations, they saw the locus of control
for time loss in themselves rather than in the teacher.
Consequently, they viewed the loss of story time as their
fault. In addition, several students commented that they
liked the class better now that the teacher wasn't yelling
This study, while simple in design, proved to be seminal
for future program development. In a regional special
education facility, delinquent teenagers who were at war
with adult authority made limit setting problematical.
However, a variant of the time incentive proved highly
effective. Trial and error over subsequent years taught
us how to use bonuses to increase the effectiveness of
the program and how to use failsafe mechanisms to prevent
one student from ruining the program for the rest of the
class. Eventually a highly sophisticated technology of
group management was perfected in which students cooperated
in order to earn preferred activity time (PAT).
This methodology is referred to as "Responsibility
Training" in Tools