NSU teacher prep program earns A in classroom management


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the top in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a non-partisan not-for-profit research and policy organization, for strong training in classroom management strategies.

This month, NCTQ released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review:  Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, which find encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught. For the first time since publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago.

Northwestern State’s undergraduate program is among only 14 percent of elementary programs that earn an A and serves as a model of excellence for others. The top-performing programs are recognized for requiring their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate during student teaching, residency or equivalent clinical practice their ability to implement classroom strategies that include establishing rules and routines that set expectation for behavior, maximizing learning time by managing time, materials and the physical set of the classroom and promoting student engagement, reinforcing positive behavior by using specific, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement, redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior and addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful and appropriate consequences.

“Receiving an A grade from the NCTQ organization is an amazing accomplishment. Reviews by NCTQ are always very rigorous,” said Dr. Katrina Jordan, director of NSU’s School of Education.  “Being awarded an A in Classroom Management, which is arguably the most important element of pedagogy, is proof that the NSU School of Education continues to train quality teachers who are prepared to face the challenges of teaching in the 21st century.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped much of what happens in schools, including classroom management training for aspiring teachers. Many essential classroom management strategies can’t be converted to a remote teaching environment and many state and teacher preparation programs have moved their clinical practice experiences online or abbreviated them limiting opportunities to practice.  However, the basic principles of quality classroom management still stand in spite of COVID and are still critical to the success of aspiring teachers in their future careers.

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies.  Programs that earn an A on this standard require their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate their ability on all five strategies.