Australian teachers have been given access to a range of free, evidence-based resources to help them manage their classrooms.
The ‘Engaged Classrooms’ resources, developed by the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) in consultation with teachers and classroom management expert Dr Tim McDonald, form part of a $3.5m initiative unveiled by the Federal Government on Tuesday.
Research shows one in three Australian teachers lose teaching time due to disruptive behaviour, significantly impacting students’ ability to learn.
A report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows the disciplinary climate in Australian schools is one of the “least favourable” compared to other OECD countries.
On Monday, a separate report, handed down following a Senate Inquiry, found school staff across Australia are dealing with verbal abuse and physical aggression from students on a frequent basis.
The issue is particularly pronounced in schools with high levels of economic and educational disadvantage, where teachers struggle with stress, potentially leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from extreme incidents.
The free resources released this week will help teachers starting out, those working in new environments, and experienced teachers who want to refine or refresh their classroom management practice. A further two sets of classroom management resources for teachers will be released next year.
The first suite of professional learning resources includes easily accessible evidence explainers and adaptable best practice guides. Future resources will include video demonstrations, mentoring guides and support for school leaders.
“A lot of teachers tell me that when they leave university and jump into the classroom for the first time they don’t feel as prepared as they should to manage a classroom full of students,” Federal Education Minister, Jason Clare said.
“By providing these resources to teachers we can help them to manage the classroom which is good for them and good for their students. When students are fully engaged in the classroom, they learn at their best and teachers have more time to teach.”
AERO CEO Dr Jenny Donovan said students thrive in classrooms where they are engaged in learning without distractions; where they feel safe; and where they know what is expected of them.
“These resources offer evidence-based guidance to teachers about explicitly teaching students the expected behaviours so that all classrooms are conducive to learning,” Dr Donovan said.
“By refining their classroom management, teachers will see increased student focus on learning and fewer disruptions, which will subsequently enable teachers to focus more on teaching, leading to improved outcomes for all students.”