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February 2017


What research has been conducted on classroom management in terms of student emotional responses?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on teacher professional development. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed the effects of professional development on teacher performance and student outcomes in K-12 education. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Bondy, E., Ross, D. D., Gallingane, C. and Hambacher, E. 2007. Creating environments of success and resilience: Culturally responsive classroom management and more. Urban Education, 42: 326-348.
    From the abstract: "Creating safe and productive environments with a diverse student population requires more than the strategies recommended in the original classroom-management literature. Drawing from the literature on culturally responsive classroom management, psychologically supportive classroom environments, and building resilience, the authors describe the practices used by three effective novice teachers in urban elementary classrooms during the first 2 hours of the first day of school. The study was based on videotape and interview data that were qualitatively analyzed using an inductive approach. The novice teachers focused on developing relationships and establishing expectations through the use of "insistence" and a culturally responsive communication style. The study provides clear pictures of the ways in which teachers teach and insist on respectful behavior and establish a caring, task-focused community. As such, it demonstrates how teachers create environments of success and resilience for students who have historically floundered in school. (Contains 1 table.)"
  2. Korpershoek, H., Harms, T., de Boer, H., van Kuijk, M., & Doolaard, S. (2016). A meta-analysis of the effects of classroom management strategies and classroom management programs on students' academic, behavioral, emotional, and motivational outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 86(3), 643-680.
    From the abstract: "This meta-analysis examined which classroom management strategies and programs enhanced students' academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and motivational outcomes in primary education. The analysis included 54 random and nonrandom controlled intervention studies published in the past decade (2003-2013). Results showed small but significant effects (average g = 0.22) on all outcomes, except for motivational outcomes. Programs were coded for the presence/absence of four categories of strategies: focusing on the teacher, on student behavior, on students' social-emotional development, and on teacher-student relationships. Focusing on the students' social-emotional development appeared to have the largest contribution to the interventions' effectiveness, in particular on the social-emotional outcomes. Moreover, we found a tentative result that students' academic outcomes benefitted from teacher-focused programs."
  3. Marlow, R., Hansford, L., Edwards, V., Ukoumunne, O. C., Norman, S., Ingarfield, S., Sharkey, S., Logan, S., & Ford, T. (2015). Teaching classroom management-A potential public health intervention? Health Education, 115(3-4), 230-248.
    From the abstract: "Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the feasibility of a classroom management course as a public health intervention. Improved socio-emotional skills may boost children's developmental and academic trajectory, while the costs of behaviour problems are enormous for schools with considerable impact on others' well-being. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 40 teachers attended the Incredible Years (IY) Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) intervention in groups of ten. Afterwards teachers attended focus groups and semi-structured interviews were completed with headteachers to explore whether TCM was feasible, relevant and useful, research processes were acceptable and if it influenced teachers' practice and pupils. Teachers completed standardised questionnaires about their professional self-efficacy, burnout and well-being before and after attendance. Findings: In all, 37/40 teachers completed the course. Teachers valued sharing experiences, the support of colleagues in the group and time out to reflect on practice and rehearse new techniques. Most teachers reported that they applied the strategies with good effect in their classrooms. Teachers' questionnaires suggested an improvement in their self-efficacy in relation to classroom management (p = 0.03); other scales changed in the predicted direction but did not reach statistical significance. Research limitations/implications: Although preliminary and small, these feasibility study findings suggest that it was worthwhile proceeding to a definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT). Practical implications: Should the RCT demonstrate effectiveness, then the intervention is an obvious candidate for implementation as a whole school approach. Originality/value: Successful intervention with one teacher potentially benefits every child that they subsequently teach and may increase the inclusion of socio-economically deprived children living in challenging circumstances in mainstream education."
  4. Spivak, A. L., & Farran, D. C. (2012). First-grade teacher behaviors and children's prosocial actions in classrooms. Early Education and Development, 23(5), 623-639.
    From the abstract: "Research Findings: This study examines whether specific teacher instructional practices in early education are associated with children's engagement in prosocial behavior. Teachers' verbal encouragement of prosocial behavior and empathy, emotional warmth, positive behavior management, vocabulary instruction, and encouragement of expressive language were explored in relation to children's classroom prosocial behavior. We also examined whether increased prosociability was evident in the classrooms of teachers who both encouraged prosocial behavior and empathy "and" demonstrated emotional warmth. We observed 124 first-grade classrooms that included 2,098 children. Results indicated that teachers' verbal encouragement of prosocial behavior and empathy was most strongly associated with classroom prosocial behavior. There was also a significant association between encouragement of expressive language and prosocial behavior. Emotional warmth, positive behavior management, vocabulary instruction, and the joint effect of teacher emotional warmth and encouragement of prosocial behavior and empathy was not associated with prosocial behavior. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest that teachers' more deliberate encouragement of prosocial and empathic behavior and their creation of a positive, interactive social environment may support students' prosocial behavior. The implications of these findings are particularly important for young children learning to engage with others. (Contains 4 tables.)"
  5. Walker, J. M. T. (2009). Authoritative classroom management: How control and nurturance work together. Theory into Practice, 48(2), 122-129.
    From the abstract: "Despite broad recognition that teaching excellence requires meeting students' intellectual and social needs, teachers struggle to manage--and learning theory struggles to explain--the interplay between the academic and social dimensions of classroom life. Drawing from research on parenting and child development, the author offers parenting style theory as an explanatory framework. The author begins by describing the two primary dimensions of parenting style (control and nurturance) and the influence of various styles on children's learning and development. The author then discusses the two primary channels whereby style functions, using case studies of three classrooms to illustrate how control and nurturance interact to influence student engagement and learning. Finally, the author argues that because this theory is intuitive, robust, and comprehensive, it is an important vehicle for advancing understanding of teacher influence on student outcomes and school improvement efforts."
  6. Yan, E. M., Evans, I, M., & Harvey, S. T. (2011). Observing emotional interactions between teachers and students in elementary school classrooms. Journal of Research in Childhood education, 25(1), 82-97.
    From the abstract: "Fostering emotional skills in the elementary (primary) school classroom can lead to improved learning outcomes, more prosocial behavior, and positive emotional development. Incorporating emotional skill development into the naturalistic and implicit teaching environment is a key feature of what is meant by the emotional climate of the classroom. The emotional content of spontaneous teacher-student interactions was of interest in the current study. The investigation focused on how teachers manage emotional events and, in particular, what positive strategies they use while doing so. A total of 60 hours of observation took place in the classrooms of six teachers who had been nominated for having exceptional positive classroom environments. These observations were reduced to prominent themes: (1) fostering classroom relationships, (2) setting and managing emotional guidelines, (3) being emotionally aware, and (4) managing emotional situations. The study provided support for Harvey and Evans' (2003) model of the classroom emotional climate. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)"

Additional Organizations to Consult

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research -
From the website: "The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students. The GTL Center continues the work of the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (TQ Center) and expands its focus to provide technical assistance and online resources designed to build systems that:

  • Support the implementation of college and career standards.
  • Ensure the equitable access of effective teachers and leaders.
  • Recruit, retain, reward, and support effective educators.
  • Develop coherent human capital management systems.
  • Create safe academic environments that increase student learning through positive behavior management and appropriate discipline.
  • Use data to guide professional development and improve instruction."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Classroom management, student emotional response
  • How classroom management styles affect students' well being
  • Classroom management, impact on students' well being

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2001 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.