- California school districts are increasingly asking teachers to learn about and use alternative techniques for discipline as they attempt to both improve classroom management skills and reduce high levels of suspensions, pressured by parent and youth advocate groups and the state, according to EdSource.
- The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing recently revised its performance expectations, and the state guidance for administrators has been changed to include requirements for more positive behavior interventions.
- At the same time, officials say teachers are not provided enough initial training in effective classroom management techniques and restorative justice and trauma-informed approaches.
A 2012 report by the National Council on Teacher Quality showed that more than 40% of new teachers said they felt unprepared to handle a variety of classroom management and discipline issues. The report said it was the biggest problem identified by teachers.
Classroom issues affect retention, according to recent research, and can involve a cycle of student misbehavior, teacher stress and response that can create a “burnout cascade.” A professor at the University of British Columbia in a recent study suggests that stressed teachers in that cycle “use fewer responsive and more reactive and punitive classroom management strategies”.
The debate comes at a time, however, when California restorative justice programs have been criticized in some circles.
Restorative justice is being promoted along with trauma-informed strategies that have been successful in schools in San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, New York. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) says 25% of students have been exposed to a traumatic event that can diminish their learning and cause them to be disruptive or need extra attention.