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Introduction
A Frightening Conclusion
I have come to a frightening conclusion.
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make
a childs life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture
or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides
whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated,
and a child humanized or de-humanized.
-Haim Ginot, Between Teacher and Child
Classroom management has received a great amount of attention in recent years and is
currently the number one problem for educators in America. When one attempt to define the term
classroom management, one immediately assumes it is the need to discipline negative behavior
in the classroom. What do I have to do to get students to apply themselves to their work and stop
fooling around and being disruptive? According to Capizza (2009) establishing a well-organized
plan for classroom management at the outset of the year is essential for a peaceful and calm
classroom that is conducive to instruction and learning for students with a variety of academic,
social, and behavioral needs (p. 1). Although, students negative behavior and negative attitude
is a major component, classroom management is the concern of how things are done in the
classroom, rather than the concern of how students behave. Classroom management has no

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penalties or rewards, where as discipline has penalties and rewards. From the students
perspective, effective classroom management involves clear communication of behavioral and
academic expectations, as well as a cooperative learning environment (Allen, 2010).
Many teachers devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy disciplining their
class rather than managing their class. According to Lemov (2010) great teaching is an art that
relies on the mastery and application of foundational skills learned individually through diligent
study (p. 1). An effective teacher has mastered the art of managing their classroom. Let us
consider a store owner. Store owners do not discipline a store; they manage a store. Let us
consider a coach. Coaches do not discipline a team; they manage a team. Teachers do not
discipline a classroom; they manage a classroom.
Effectively managing a classroom is possibly the most difficult aspect of the art of
teaching. Once a teacher loses control of their classroom, it becomes increasingly more difficult
for them to regain that control. Research shows that the time a teacher has to take to correct
misbehavior caused by poor classroom management skills results in a lower rate of academic
engagement in the classroom. In order for teachers to successfully teach and students to
academically succeed; an orderly classroom environment with minimum disruption to bring
behavior under control is needed. There must be a carefully planned technique system of
procedures, rules, and routines that creates an atmosphere to learn. The teacher is the key
variable in the classroom. This action research project will examine the progressive ideology that
students should be able to govern themselves, the conservative ideology of a structured

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classroom environment, and a hybrid of the two approaches, and their effects on students
academic achievement.
Statement of Problem
Our public schools are failing our students, particularly, minority students from lowincome backgrounds. As prospective educators, in an urban environment, the educational
inequality our students are facing is our greatest challenge. We are prepared and dedicated to
working towards closing the achievement gap between low-income students and high-income
students and preparing all students to succeed in college.
There is a lack of classroom management being effectively enforced in elementary
schools, thus, making daily instruction more challenging for the teachers and learning more
challenging for the students. On a daily basis in-service and pre-service teachers are faced with
disruptive behavior in their classroom, which results in wasted instructional time. Public schools
do not spend a sufficient amount of time establishing routines, rules and practicing procedures.
Students should not be expected to learn and master classroom procedures within the first week
of school or be able to govern themselves. Well thought out and planned procedures must be
explicitly taught and practiced throughout the school year. Researchers believe, when there is a
clear set of classroom management techniques in line, teachers can establish an effective learning
environment. According to Freiberg, Huzinec, & Templeton (2009)
When teachers have a rich management and discipline repertoire, students become more
self-disciplined, minimizing the need to refer students to the office and maximizing
instructional time with greater opportunities to teach and learn (p. 77).

Educators need to consider whether they have eliminated all instructional impediments
and distractions in the classroom. It has been argued that establishing classroom
procedures/routines and utilizing actionable techniques, such as non-verbal cues and positive
framing, is extremely vital to an efficient and academically successfully classroom. Having
control of the two will lead to the ultimate instructional time in the classroom. The action
research project investigates whether making use of every second in the classroom to instruct our
students, will lead our students one step closer to closing the achievement gap and one step
closer to going to college. The action research project will also investigate whether establishing
procedures and utilizing actionable techniques ensure academic success in the classroom.

Review of Related Literature

I.

The need for Classroom Management

When discussing tools to effective teaching that leads to authentic learning, no longer can
the term classroom management go without significant acknowledgment. Classroom
management is defined as a multi-faceted concept that includes the organization of the physical
environment, the establishment of rules and routines, the development of effective relationships,
and prevention of and response to misbehavior (Garrett, 2008, p. 35). Managing behavioral
issues have been problematic in classrooms across America for decades, and although, this is a

prevalent issue in schools, there remains a lack of intervention. According to Capizza (2009), if
you ask a group of teachers what they are most concerned about in their classrooms or schools, it
is likely that student behavior will come up as one of the greatestif not the greatestissue.
Urban schools are increasingly seeing more egregious student behavior, which, suggests the
urgent need for effective classroom management, specifically in urban schools in high-poverty
areas. It is believe that classroom management will be a greater challenge in for urban schools in
high-poverty neighborhoods because, the schools themselves are under greater pressure to
maintain a safe and orderly academic environment, and teachers may not be supported by the
schools administration in building this environment (Weiner, 2010, p. 307). It is almost
impossible for cooperating and pre-service teachers to successfully complete a lesson because
too much time is spent on addressing disruptive behaviors. A study conducted by Weiner (2010)
to understand why classroom management is such a problem in the urban schools, found that so
much in the school environment undercuts the social norm required for high academics
functioning in urban classrooms, successful urban teachers must deeply embed classroom
management in every aspect of classroom life, making the teaching of social skills a reflexive
part of instruction (p. 309). The ideal classroom environment will have fewer disruptions
during instructional time, better teacher planning, classroom organization, and student
engagement, (this will) allow for more learning time (Weiner, 2010, p. 76).
Studies have also shown that in a quest to understand many classroom behaviors one
must consider classroom settings and qualities. Downer, La Paro, Pianta, and Rimm-Kaufman

(2005) argue that, teachers in these higher-quality classrooms use proactive approaches to
discipline: they establish stable routines, monitor their students carefully to keep them engaged,
and manage behavior problems proactively (p. 380). In their study on classroom settings and
qualities to childrens behavior; three pertinent findings were discovered;
First, classroom setting appears to be related to childrens engagement and behavior
toward peers. Second, as classroom quality is graded higher, the occurrence of the
problem behaviors (non compliance with teacher requests, off task behavior) is reduced
in structured teacher-directed classroom and whole class settings. Third, as classroom
quality is rated higher, the rate of childrens social conversation and cooperation with
peers is greater in small-group settings. These findings taken together, contribute to an
understanding of the ways in which teachers decisions regulate childrens classroom
behavior (Downer, La Paro, Pianta & Rimm-Kaufman, 2005, p.389).
Freiberg, Huzinec, and Templetons (2009) discuss a study of a program, by the name of
Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline, that emphasizes preventing discipline
problems before they begin and improving classroom climate. The researchers concluded that
students who were in the classroom that implemented the instructional management program
performed better in reading and mathematics than the control group of students who were not in
classrooms that implemented the instructional management program (Freiberg, Huzinec, &
Templeton, 2009). In a comparative study, discussed by Higgins and Moule (2009), that
compared an educational programs views on classroom management and views of pre-service
teachers in urban schools showed that the educational program believes that strong emotions,
strict guidelines, and consistency (strategies, boundaries, routines, etc.) led to students feeling
both safe and comfortable in the classroom (p. 135). The pre-service teachers acknowledge the

teachers to be assertive, aggressive, and harsh, and yet those strategies yielded high academic
expectations (Higgins and Moule, 2009, p. 135). In another study conducted in an effort to gain
an understanding of the pre-service teachers perspective on classroom control, found that one of
the student teachers thought
Providing them with fun lessons and unlimited choices, will allow for student growth
and a well-run classroom (Johnson, 2001, p. 111).

II.

The Three Approaches to Classroom Management


The following three approaches in classroom management, non-interventionist,

interventionist, and interactionist that are currently in use in classrooms around the United States
were closely examined in a study that compared beginning and experienced teachers perceptions
of the three classroom management approaches (Unal & Unal, 2009). The study revealed that
the non-interventionist approach is used in a student centered environment. The noninterventionist approach encourages the teacher to demonstrate empathy toward students, to
devise compromises in an effort to provide opportunities for students to self correct inappropriate
behaviors and learn to manage their own behaviors (Unal & Unal, 2009, p. 257). According
to Johnson (2001) the non-interventionist approach is also described as the nurturance
conception of classroom control where fun lessons and letting students decide, at the expense of
classroom order. The interventionist approach is the exact opposite and typically is used in a
more traditional teacher-centered classroom environment. According to Unal & Unal (2009),

The interventionist tends to take control of the situation by implementing immediately a


disciplinary tactic to control behavior (p. 257).
Unal & Unal (2009) continues to discuss that disciplinary tactics used by interventionist teachers
to control the environment may include isolation, physical restraints, modeling, and
reinforcement. Johnson (2001) describes this as a
Dominance conception of classroom control where, the personal power and authority of
teachers is displayed by demanding students to listen, starting out strict and the use of
punishment to keep students behaving well (p. 111).
The interactionist approach to classroom management strives to find solutions that are
satisfactory to both the teacher and student, employing some of the same techniques as noninterventionists and interventionists (Unal and Unal, 2009, p. 258). Johnson (2001) refers to
this approach as the rule based conception to classroom control where,
Emphasis is placed on the importance of establishing and consistently enforcing class
rules; well-planned, well-paced lessons; and monitor students to prevent misbehavior
from occurring (p. 111).
The interactionist approach still allowed teachers to be nurturing while applying forms of
discipline. Unal and Unal (2009) found
That neither beginner nor experienced teachers were found to be non-interventionist on
any of the subscales of classroom management (p. 264).

The beginner teacher favored the interactionist approach, while the experienced teacher favored
the interventionist,
None of the groups were in favor of allowing students to have full control or to have the
primary responsibility of developing their own rules (Unal & Unal, 2009 p. 264).

III.

Supporters of Teacher-Centered Classroom Management

The need for classroom management skills has not diminished during a time when school
reform has put the spotlight on academic testing and student achievement. There are many
theorists and practitioners who are in favor of implementing strong classroom management
practices. It is argued that an educator cannot be considered a highly-qualified teacher without a
mastery of sound best-practice strategies for managing classroom time, space, and student
behavior (Allen, 2010; Clement, 2010; Lemov, 2010). Classroom management is essential for
academic success, therefore creating the best learning environment possible is the primary focus
of the classroom teachers responsibility (Martin, Mayall, & Yin, 2006). According to LewisPalmer, Merrell, Reinke (2008), classroom management is directly tied to levels of student
involvement and academic achievement, making it an important component of teaching. When
Clement (2010) was immersed in her undergraduate teacher program 30 years ago professors
told their students that if you write a good enough lesson plan, you wont have discipline
problems. Today, 30 years later, Clement (2010) tells teacher education candidates that,

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You will not even get to teach your perfectly written lesson plan if you dont have a
classroom management plan in place.
A lack of effective classroom management practices leaves a breeding ground for
negative adverse behaviors in the classroom such as bullying, which results in less instructional
time, poor student performance. Classrooms that are managed in ways other than with an
authoritative style, a bullying culture can develop. There is a connection between how teachers
treat their students, which is expressed through their classroom management approaches, and the
presence or absence of bullying in a classroom. Classroom management practices contribute to a
context or culture that either promotes or discourages bullying (Allen, 2010). Not only are
teachers accountable for students academic achievement, but, they are also expected to provide a
safe and orderly learning environment; given these facts classroom management is an
understandable concern for novice teachers as well as experienced teachers (Rosas & West,
2009). Studies that investigated the impact of classroom management and bullying discovered
that not only did classroom management correlate with whether bullying took place among
students, but they also discovered that there was a mediating variable related to whether bullying
occurred at all. The mediating variable was the social structure of the class. The social structure
included the informal relationships that developed in the class. When teachers care about
students, when they organize classrooms such that positive student relationships develop, and
when they manage learning and behavioral issues in positive, educative ways, students are far
less likely to engage or experience bullying (Allen, 2010).

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Having strong authoritative classroom management practices will allow teachers to
achieve teaching excellence along both academic and social dimensions and may be the antidote
to two pressing educational problems (Walker, 2009). According to Walker (2009) the number
of students who consistently experienced a classroom with high-quality instruction and a healthy
emotional climate was astonishingly low: 7%. Effective classroom management may be able to
reduce the nations depressing student dropout rates. It has been proven that academics are not
the only reason students drop out. Feelings of isolation and frustration also contribute to
disengagement (Roeser, Midgley, & Urfan, 1996). Effective classroom management, according
to Walker (2009), may also stem the alarming rates of teacher attrition and burnout as well.
Student misbehavior is a factor in teacher burnout and the decision of novice teachers to leave
the profession (Allen, 2010). As many as 50% of new teachers leave the field within five years,
and 20% of those who stay say they would choose another profession if they could (NEA,
2003).
IV.

Supporters of Student-Centered Classroom Management

Although, there are many supporters of an authoritative, teacher-centered, approach to


classroom management, there are also those who favor a more progressive, student-centered
approach to classroom management. The argument against the traditional classroom management
practices is that teachers are not effectively managing their class or teaching their students
discipline. Dewey, Kilpatrick, and Montessori are amongst the theorists who believe children

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learn discipline by taking responsibility of their own learning. Maria Montessori (1912) is a firm
believer that discipline must come through liberty (p. 53). We call an individual disciplined
when he is a master of himself, and can, therefore, regulate his own conduct when it shall be
necessary to follow some rule of life (Montessori, 1912, p. 45). She states this is something
difficult for followers of common-school methods to understand (p. 45). Montessori (1912)
worked to alter the hierarchy in a traditional classroom and move away from the traditional
authoritarian role of the instructor. Her method requires educators to be passive observers who
simply guide the students to knowledge as to not suffocate the activity of (their) pupils (p. 45).
Montessoris pedagogy, as those of Dewey (1937) and Kilpatrick (1918), follows a belief
of constructivism rather than behaviorism. Montessori (1912) strongly encourages educators to
be observers of students activities and not restrict the students mobility with unnecessary
discipline. A student will learn when that student is actively engaged in an assignment, problemsolving and constructing their own understanding. Learning does not take place as a form of
animal training or in hopes of receiving meaningless rewards. Choi and Lee (2009) mentions that
the techniques-oriented discourse and approach to classroom management oversimplifies the
issue by assuming that everything about classroom management is a well-structured problem (p.
103). The traditional, behaviorist, classroom management techniques have not caused significant
changes in student behavior. Rather, it has limited the ability of the learner to become selfdirected and self-disciplined, a necessary condition for the use of more complex instruction in
teaching and learning (Freiberg & Lamb, 2009). Kilpatrick (1918) argues that if students are

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involved in social aims and their own purposeful learning, they will naturally develop moral
responsibility and character education, (p. 47). According to Dewey (1916), much work in
school consist of setting up rules by which pupils are to act of such a sort that even after the
pupils have acted, they are not led to see the connection between the result. (Dewey, 1 916, p.
41)
According to Freiberg & Lamb (2009), a person-centered classroom creates a balance
between the wants of the teacher (the W) and the efforts and needs of the students (the E),
forming a collective classroom WE, including all persons in a classroom. A teacher-centered
approach to classroom management fails to create that balance. Teachers and students are urged
to jointly construct a context that is, an ongoing dynamic accomplishment of people acting
together with shared tools (Doyle, 2009; Russell, 1997). To achieve the goal of order (i.e.,
student cooperation), a teacher must organize classroom life and recruit, invite, persuade, or
convince the students to join forces with her or him in participating in events for specific periods
(Doyle, 2009, p. 158). A person-centered classroom management approach is argued to
facilitate higher achievement, have more positive learning environments with stronger teacherstudent relationships than teacher-centered or traditional classrooms (Doyle, 2009; Freiberg &
Lamb, 2009). According to Doyle (2009) the classroom is not simply a background or a
container for teaching and learning, a neutral and synthetic space in which teachers and students
happen to be. Classrooms, rather, are systems of interrelated activity segments that are tangible

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and powerful partners in construction of what happens in these environments (Doyle, 2009, p.
157).
It is also argued that there is a need to establish culturally responsive classroom
management practices. Literature on classroom management has paid very little attention to the
issue of cultural diversity. Researchers, such as Milner & Tenore (2010), have argued that
classroom management and diversity are inseparable.
Consequently, teacher concerns about classroom management are sometimes
exacerbated in urban settings, where students languages, experiences, ethnicities,
religions, and abilities may be highly diverse and may or may not be shared by the
teacher (p. 561).
According to Milner & Tenore (2010), Teachers are sometimes pressured and closely monitored
by their administrators to follow a set frame of referral, discipline, and management, which can
make it difficult for teachers to employ culturally responsive classroom management. Teachers
can experience less than ideal support from administrator; consequently, their students may
believe that the teachers forget to care about them. In a highly structured classroom
environment we run the risk of teachers giving information and students having little (if any)
voice and perspective in the learning environment. A study conducted by Poulou (2009)
revealed that skills which facilitate interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships such as ones
related to mutual respect, inclusion, influence or attentive listening are more frequently exercised
than skills that promote a sense of community, according to teachers and students perceptions.
This approach can result in a vicious cycle that is tantamount to Freires (1998) notion that

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students are often passive participants in their own learning, with teachers constantly attempting
to pour knowledge or information into empty vessels.
The systemic and institutionalized nature of teachers work in urban and diverse schools
seems to follow several layers. The administration taking their cues from the
superintendent who is interpreting national and state guidelines, for instance, has set of
policies and expectations about how teachers classes out to run (e.g., quietly, orderly),
which creates a dilemma for teachers. Optimal learning can occur without student seated
in silence. Teachers, in turn, in their attempts to meet institutional expectations develop
and implement management strategies that reify systems of oppression and voicelessness
among students. Students, in turn, resist these systemic parameters, and chaos,
disconnections, and (mis)management result. The desire for order and control (Noguera,
2003) on the classroom level can be connected to teachers goal to improve test scores.
Teachers prepare students to follow directions and to obey orders for the world of work
(Anyon, 1980), and these decisions can be motivated and shaped by institutional and
systemic pressures far beyond teachers control, (Milner & Tenore, 2010, p. 569-570).
V.

Supporters of a hybrid of Teacher-centered and Student-centered classroom management

There are theorists and practitioners who seek to marry the two schools of thought.
Effective classroom management according to Trussell (2008), is implementing positive behavior
support (PBS). Positive behavior support is a general term that refers to the application of
positive behavioral interventions and systems to achieve socially important behavior changes in
our classroom (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). Lemov (2010), provides educators with
49 techniques that will assist a teacher in setting his/her classroom for success. According to
Lemov (2010), theres one suitable percentage of students following a direction given in your
classroom: 100 percent. If you dont achieve this, you make your authority subject to
interpretation, situation, and motivation. A teachers goal is to get 100 percent compliance so

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that you can teach. This is one of the popular techniques in Lemovs book that takes into
consideration the teachers authority as well as the students emotions. Lemov provides teachers
with six levels of the least invasive forms of intervention to achieve 100% compliance without
out the constant, time-consuming disruptions. The first least invasive form of intervention is the
nonverbal intervention, which can be a gesture or eye contact with off-task students while doing
something else. Positive group correction is the second least invasive intervention. This is a
quick verbal reminder to the group about what students should be doing and not what they
shouldnt be doing (e.g., Were following along in our books rather than You shouldnt be writing
now). Anonymous individual correction is a quick verbal reminder to the group that makes it
explicit that not everyone is where they need to be: We need two people to track the speaker.
Private individual correction is when and if you have to name names seek to correct privately
and quietly. Lightning-quick public correction when you are forced to make individual student
corrections during public moments limit the amount of time a student is onstage: Jennifer I need
your eyes, is quick, confident and effective. The ideal situation in a class, according to Lemov,
is to solve a case of noncompliance quickly successfully and with the least possible disruption to
the whole class. The sixth and final form of intervention is the most invasive form,
consequences. If a situation cannot be addressed quickly and successfully without a
consequence, the consequence must be given so that instruction is not interrupted (Lemov, 2010,
p. 174).
Although, endless studies have been done on all three approaches to classroom
management it is still our responsibility as action researchers to evaluate if our proposed

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approach is the most effective approach to classroom management and if it will lead to the
academic success of our students.
Statement of Hypothesis
HR1: The intervention will take place over a period of 6 weeks. The action researchers
will plan and deliver a series of guided reading lessons to a first grade class in two different
settings (Charter School X and Public School X). The teachers will implement a hybrid of
teacher-centered and student-centered classroom management; where the students have
procedures to follow and the teachers utilize actionable techniques to manage the students
behavior. Using a hybrid of classroom management procedures and techniques during 30-45
minute daily reading lessons, for a 6 week period, will increase 1st grade students reading level
in class X at Charter School X in Brooklyn, and in class X at PS X in Manhattan. The two
teachers will assess their students in the form of running records to ascertain whether the
intervention yielded an increase in reading levels. The two teachers will also do a comparative
study to determine if their findings were similar.

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Method
Participants
The intervention will take place in two first grade classrooms, in schools located in New
York City. The demographics for classroom X located in Charter School X in Brooklyn are 12
boys and 13 girls, 9 of which are Hispanics and 16 are African American. The students age rang
from 6-years-old to 7-years-old. The demographics for classroom X located in Public School X
in Manhattan is 11 boys and 11 girls; 13 Hispanics, 4 African-Americans, 3 Middle-Easterners, 1
Asian and 1 White. The students age rang from 5-years-old to 7-years-old.
Class X1

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Class X2

Instruments
The first instruments to be distributed were the principal and teacher consent forms,
(Appendix A). The consent forms were distributed at both schools in December of 2010. A
survey, (Appendix B), was administered in the beginning of January 2011, to get students
feedback on their attitudes towards different classroom management styles and reading. The
researchers used Fountas and Pinnell running records and Accelerated Reader, to conduct the
pre-test and post-test, to analyze and get students reading levels. Due to confidential nature of the
pre-test and post-test it was unable to be duplicated. Both classrooms received identical consent
forms, surveys, pre-test, post-test, classroom management approach, reading lessons, and guided
reading instruction.

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Experimental Design
The research design that was used for the action research is the pre-experimental design
using the static group comparison model. Two experimental groups (X and X) are pre-tested
(O), exposed to a treatment (X) and post-tested (O). The groups were not randomly selected. The
symbolic design for the action research will be: OXO and OXO.
The threats to the internal validity were history, maturation, instrumentation, mortality
and selection-maturation interaction. History was definitely a threat to the internal validity for
reasons beyond the control of the researchers. Since reading is usually the first block in
classrooms, some participants were occasionally late and there were participants who were often
absent from school.
Maturation was also a threat since participants maturity levels developed during the
course of the research. Instrumentation was a threat since researchers noticed that although they
tried to make the survey as kid friendly as possible, some of the participants had difficulties
completing the survey.
Mortality was a threat to the internal validity in class X, as one participant was in and
out of class X due to behavioral issues. This participant was not consistently receiving treatment
during the intervention, which could have an effect on the data. Selection Maturation

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Interaction was a threat to the internal validity because of the range in age in both classrooms. In
class X, the age range is from 6-years-old to 7-years-old, some participants responded better to
the survey and treatment than others. Although the majority of the students in class X were
within the same age range as students in class X, there were a number of 5-years-old students
who could have caused major threats to the validity of class Xs data. Class X does not have
5-years-old students, who usually mature at a slower rate than the 6-years old and 7-years-old
year old students, that could be and indicator as to why class X saw a greater increase on their
post-test reading scores.
The potential threats to the external validity are ecological validity, generalizable
conditions and specificity of variables. The participants are in two considerably different
environments; this can be a major threat. Although there are some Charter Schools and Public
Schools who share the same building location, their classroom environments can be drastically
different which can affect the way participants responded to treatment. The conditions of one
class and school environment may have an affect on the students performance.
Generalizable conditions may or may not affect the results if this research is replicated.
This will depend on whether the teaching and classroom management method of the researchers
are being done effectively replicated. Teachers, however, do have differing pedagogies. It is
unrealistic to believe that every single minute detail, in terms of classroom management
techniques, can be replicated. The subtly of the inflection in a teachers voice can be a threat to
external validity.

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Specificity of variables can also be a threat if techniques and procedures are not properly
thought out during the course of intervention.

Procedure
The action researcher project investigated whether there is a correlation between
classroom management approaches and academic achievement by measuring the reading levels
of the participants. The intervention took place in two first grade classes in two different settings.
Class X was familiar with a hybrid approach to classroom management, while Class X had no
set approach to classroom management. Using the pre-experimental design the researchers were
able to do a static - group comparison study between the two classes.
In December 2010 the researchers handed consents at both locations to principal and
teacher to ensure it was okay to do the action research. In early January 2011, the same surveys
(Appendix B) were administered at both locations to get participants attitude on classroom
management approaches and reading. Pre-test data was also collected in January prior to starting
the intervention. The pre-test was the Fountas and Pinnell running record which determines the
current reading level of all the participants.
The intervention took place in both classes from the end of January-March 2011 for a
period of 6 weeks covering a series of reading and guided reading lessons four to five times a
week for 30-45 minutes. During the 6 week period teachers implemented a hybrid approach

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using the Lemov techniques. Running records were analyzed from both schools to determine the
results. After each approach the teachers will assess the students academic achievement.
Finally at the end of March and early April the post-test data were analyzed and
compared amongst the researchers.

Results
The intervention, which took place over a period of six weeks, was significantly
successful in terms of increasing students reading level by at least one reading level, some
students saw gains of two to three reading levels.
The pre-test mean, as indicated in figure 1., for X class in Charter School X was 163 on
the Lexile grading scale, which is an equivalent of an F reading level according to Fountas &
Pinnell (2001), which is a 1.4 grade level. The post-test mean for X class in Charter School X
was 222 on the Lexile grading scale, which is an equivalent of an H reading level, which is a 1.6
grade level. The average reading score of students in X class in Charter School X increased by
59 points on the Lexile grading scale. This is an increase of two reading levels on the Fountas &
Pinnell scale, which is an equivalent of 2 months in the 1st grade level.
The pre-test mean, as indicated in figure 1., for X class in P.S. X was 142.05 on the
Lexile grading scale, which is an equivalent of an E reading level according to Fountas & Pinnell
(2001), which is a 1.3 grade level. The post-test mean for X class in P.S. X was 185.23 on the
Lexile grading scale, which is an equivalent of a G reading level, which is a 1.5 grade level. The

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average reading score of students in X class in Charter School X increased by 43.18 points on
the Lexile grading scale. This is also an increase of two reading levels on the Fountas & Pinnell
scale, which is an equivalent of 2 months in the 1st grade level.
In terms of a comparative study of the test scores in the two classes, the finding indicates
that the students in Charter School X performed slightly better than the students in P.S. X. The
students average reading scores in Charter School X saw an increase of 59 points, while the
students average reading scores in P.S. X saw an increase of 43.18 points on the Lexile grading
scale. Both classes reading levels jumped two reading levels, which is the equivalent of 2
months work in the 1st grade.
Figure 1.

Pre-test

X Class in Charter School X

X Class in P.S. X

Lexile Scores/Fountas & Pinnell/Grade level

Lexile Scores/Fountas & Pinnell/Grade level

163 / F / 1.4

142.05 / E / 1.3

222 / H / 1.6

185.23 / G / 1.5

59 points / 2 reading levels

43.18 points / 2 reading levels

Mean
Post-test
Mean
Increase

The following attachments are graphs, scatter plots and measures of dispersions that
further analyze the action research projects findings. There is a numerical spreadsheet of each
class pre-test and post-test scores and a mathematical congruent graph of a comparison of the

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scores. A statistical analysis of the data, which discusses the mean, median, mode, minimum
maximum and range if also provided for each class.
The action researchers utilized a scatter plots to find whether there is a correlation
between students reading scores and a survey question that asked each student whether they
enjoy reading. The findings indicate that for X class in Charter School X there is a positive
correlation between reading scores and students reading enjoyment. The scatter plot showed a .
74 rxy. The scatter plot suggests that students who enjoy reading also scores well on their reading
assessment. For X class in P.S. X, the findings indicate that there is also a positive correlation
between reading scores and students reading enjoyment. The scatter plot showed a .64 rxy
coefficient. The scatter plot suggests that students who enjoy reading also scores well on their
reading assessment. The action researchers utilized a second scatter plots to find whether there is
a correlation between whether students believe that their teacher cares about them a lot, a survey
question and whether the student enjoyed reading, also a survey question. The findings indicate
that for X class in Charter School X there is a positive correlation between reading scores and
students reading enjoyment. The scatter plot showed a .74 rxy. The scatter plot suggests that
students who enjoy reading also scores well on their reading assessment. For X class in P.S. X,
the findings indicate that there is a .54 rxy coefficient. There is no correlation. This suggests that
students who believe their teacher cares about them a lot do not necessarily enjoy reading. For
X class in P.S. X, the findings indicate that there is a .64 rxy coefficient. This is a positive

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correlation. This suggests that students who believe their teacher cares about them a lot also
enjoy reading.
To get a more significant understanding of the dispersion of post-test scores and how they
are spread out, the action researchers used the standard deviation formula and the variance
formula to measure the dispersion and variability of post-test scores. The action researcher then
plotted the post-test scores on a bell curve. The bell curve measures the dispersion of post-test
scores for class X in Charter School X. The curve shows that 60% (15/25) of the scores are
dispersed with in 1 standard deviation of the mean. 100% of the post test scores are dispersed
with in 1 to 2 standard deviations from the mean. The bell curve measures the dispersion of
post-test scores for class X in Public School X. The curve shows that 68% (15/22) of the scores
are dispersed with in 1 standard deviation of the mean. 100% of the post test scores are also
dispersed with in 1 to 2 standard deviations from the mean

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Discussion
The Action Research Project set out to investigate the affects of utilizing a hybrid of
student-centered and teacher-centered classroom management approaches in the classroom on 1st
grade students reading levels. The researchers established classroom procedures/routines and
utilized actionable techniques, such as non-verbal cues and positive framing from Lemov (2010)
Teach Like a Champion. The intervention, which took place over a period of six-weeks was
significantly successful in terms of increasing students reading level by at least one reading
level, some students saw gains of two to three reading levels. The average reading score of
students in X class in Charter School X increased by 59 points on the Lexile grading scale. This
is an increase of two reading levels on the Fountas & Pinnell scale, which is an equivalent of 2
months in the 1st grade level. The average reading score of students in X class in Charter
School X increased by 43.18 points on the Lexile grading scale. This is also an increase of two
reading levels on the Fountas & Pinnell scale, which is an equivalent of 2 months in the 1st grade
level.
In terms of a comparative study of the test scores in the two classes, the finding indicates
that the students in Charter School X performed slightly better than the students in P.S. X. The
students average reading scores in Charter School X saw an increase of 59 points, while the
students average reading scores in P.S. X saw an increase of 43.18 points on the Lexile grading
scale. Both classes reading levels jumped two reading levels, which is the equivalent of 2
months work in the 1st grade.

36
The action researchers found there is a positive correlation between the use of a hybrid
classroom management style and students reading levels. The findings in the action research
project indicates that when teachers utilize classroom management techniques that take into
consideration the teachers authority as well as the students emotions, a hybrid, there is an
increase in the academic success of the students. The action researchers argument that the use of
Lemovs six least invasive forms of intervention, discussed in Teach Like a Champion (2010),
are effective in ensuring an efficiently run class room that leads to the least possible disruptions,
and eliminates instructional impediments which results in academic success in the classroom.
Implications

Although the findings of the action research project were significantly successful and
showed an increase in students reading level, there remains more to be done to classify the
research as a complete success. The action researchers found a need for more research to be
conducted utilizing the same intervention, with more participants in the similar demographics
and for a longer period of time. It is necessary for public schools, especially in urban areas, to
devote a sufficient amount of time in establishing routines, rules and practicing procedures.
Students should not be expected to learn and master classroom procedures within the first week
of school or be able to govern themselves without significant guidance from the teacher. Well
thought out and planned procedures must be explicitly taught and practiced in the classroom
throughout the school year to ensure the maximum use of classroom time is spent on instruction
and not on correcting behavior. There is a dire need for educators to establish procedures and

37

utilize actionable techniques, to not only increase students reading levels but to also ensure
academic success in the classroom throughout all subjects. Educators need to make use of every
second in the classroom as instructional time in order to lead our students one step closer to
closing the achievement gap and one step closer to going to college.

38

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