3 Teacher Effectiveness Training Model

Teacher Effectiveness Training is a third well established model of classroom management (Gordon 1977) Similar to the Logical Consequences model, Teacher Effectiveness Training, evolved from the field of psychology. The author of the model, Thomas Gordon, conceptualizes effective management of a classroom as facilitating the shift of management responsibilities from teacher to students.

Gordon emphasizes the importance of teaching students to regulate and manage their own behavior. In keeping with this, Gordon highlights the value of intrinsic motivators and encourages teachers to use “1-messages when talking to students about problematic classroom behavior. Imessages focus on the speaker’s feelings and perspectives (in this case, the teacher’s), as opposed to focusing on what the student has done wrong or what the student should do differently.Gordon’s model of classroom management contrasts with the Canters’ model in that the Canters conceptualize a well-run classroom as a reflection of the teacher’s explicit articulation of rules and his or her consistency in applying rewards and consequences.Gordon’s model emphasizes the teacher’s role in classroom behavior management and instead promotes ways that the teacher can empower the students to self- regulate their behavior through modeling, and teaching students how to conceptualize and solve problems for themselves.

Application In the Classroom

Because of its emphasis on self-regulation, the Teacher Effectiveness Training model is often considered most appropriate for use with secondary age students. For example, a high school math teacher faced with a student who frequent..y turns in assignments late could use I- messages to encourage student ownership of the problem that will hopefully result in a change in behavior. Instead of applying consequences for the infraction, the teacher could talk to the student privately about how it is difficult to accurately assess the student’s progress and give her a fair grade when assignments are not turned in on time. If the student responds by talking about all the other work she has to do and the competing demands on her time, the teacher should then shift the discussion to one about strategies for time management and finding resources to Support the student. According to Gordon’s model, this approach has a higher likelihood of success than simply delivering consequences because it represents an attempt to help the student change his or her own behavior.


The models of classroom management described here are just a few of the many documented approaches that teachers can adopt or adapt for their own use. The models detailed above represent three points along a continuum in terms of the amount of teacher versus student control advocated. The Canters emphasize the role of the teacher; Dreikurs underscores the importance of meeting students’ need for acceptance while also emphasizing the role of consequences in shaping behavior; Gordon highlights the importance of giving control of classroom behavior over to the students. Other theorists and researchers have advanced competing models that fall in various places along this continuum.

We believe that a teacher’s articulation of a philosophy of classroom management is just as important as the articulation of an overall teaching philosophy. One way to combat difficulties with classroom management is to have a framework in place that allows the teacher to address behavior problems in intentional ways. We also believe it is a common misconception that many classroom management models do not apply to or work well in secondary classroom settings.

Another erroneous belief understand what constitutes appropriate school behavior is that adolescents and can exhibit these behaviors at will. This attitude can actually undermine teachers because they may feel it is unnecessary to explicitly articulate a classroom management model to older students. These false assumptions lead to unnecessary problems in the classroom and present an additional burden to students who have disabilities or difficulties that affect their social behavior. Although many other traditional and modern models exist, we have briefly described only three specific approaches to classroom management.

The important point is for teachers to educate themselves about the various models and choose the one (or combination of ones) that mesh best with their teaching philosophies and personalities. Using a model as a foundation for classroom management decisions helps teachers make rational, informed decisions about behavior problems and decreases the possibility that they will make knee-jerk decisions that they may later regret. Hopefully, more attention to issues of classroom management in middle and secondary schools will provide some protection for schools and teachers against burnout and attrition related to student misbehavior.

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