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ClassMaps and Resilient Classrooms: Making Classrooms Great Places to Learn. Beth Doll, Chieh Li, & Katherine Brehm Legacy of Longitudinal Studies of Developmental Risk. Kauai Longitudinal Study Newcastle Thousand Family Study

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Classmaps and resilient classrooms making classrooms great places to learn l.jpg

ClassMaps and Resilient Classrooms: Making Classrooms Great Places to Learn

Beth Doll, Chieh Li, & Katherine Brehm

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Legacy of Longitudinal Studies of Developmental Risk Places to Learn

  • Kauai Longitudinal Study

  • Newcastle Thousand Family Study

  • Boston Underclass Study

  • Oakland Growth Study

  • Rochester Longitudinal Study

  • Isle of Wight study

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Risk Places to Learn


Low parent education

Marital/family dysfunction

Poor parenting

Child maltreatment

Poor health

Parental illness

Large family


Mental illness

Physical illness

Educational disability

Delinquency/ criminality

Teen parenthood

Financial dependence


Low social competence

Low adult intelligence

Doll & Lyon, 1998

Risk = Children Are More Likely To Be Unsuccessful Adults

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Individual Places to Learn

Positive social orientation


Internal locus of control

Positive self-concept

Achievement orientation

Community engagement

Family & community

Close bond with one caretaker

Effective parenting

Nurturing from other adults

Access to positive adult models

Connections with pro-social organizations

Effective schools

Resilience = Vulnerable Children Who Become Successful Adults

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What we learned Places to Learn

  • Community and caretaker characteristics are powerful predictors of children’s ultimate success or failure.

  • Conditions of risk are imposed upon children by an adult world that fails to protect them from harm.

  • The same risk factors can result in multiple poor outcomes, and the same outcomes can be due to multiple risk factors.

  • The rate and intensity of poor outcomes increases geometrically with each additional risk factor.

  • Constellations of risk are interconnected and many children grow up within a “systemic niche” of multiple life hazards.

  • Risk and resilience can be collective characteristics of communities.

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Contexts for Development Places to LearnPianta & Walsh, 1996

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The 15,000 Hours Study Places to Learn

In a high-risk community, only 20% of the variance in children’s school success was attributable to school characteristics.


School factors were the most mutable characteristics that predicted child success.

Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore & Ouston, 1979

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Resilient classrooms Places to Learn

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Teacher Student Relationships Places to Learn

Provide warm and caring adult support

  • Employ adults who care deeply about students

  • Allow time for adults and children to interact authentically and regularly

  • Set high expectations for students and don’t waver when students struggle a bit to meet them

  • Provide the structure, assistance and instruction that makes it possible for students to be successful

  • Set standards for conduct, model those standards, monitor student behavior, and enforce limits with firm and consistent but mild consequences.

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Important things to know about Places to LearnTeacher Student Relationships

  • The relationships are defined by both positive (warmth & caring) and negative (conflict, criticism) characteristics

  • The presence of negativity has more impact on students’ learning than the lack of warmth

  • These relationships are reciprocal

  • And relationships with every student in a class are interdependent

  • Teacher-Student relationships are almost always the strongest characteristic of the learning environment

  • And, Teacher-Student relationships have powerful impact on student engagement

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Academic Efficacy Places to Learn

Sustain high academic and personal efficacy.

  • Provide mastery experiences

  • Provide models who exemplify coping models

  • Minimize competitive goals and substitute mastery goals in the classroom

  • Constantly comment on children’s successes

  • Celebrate and document children’s successes.

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Important things to know about Places to LearnAcademic Efficacy

  • Efficacy = expectations of success

  • If you know you can or you know you can’t, you’re right

  • Efficacy is only partly determined by prior learning history – it is also determined by relationships with and expectations of others

  • Hi-efficacy and lo-efficacy are contagious within a community

  • Efficacy is modeled

  • Like Teacher-Student relationships, efficacy has a powerful impact on learning and engagement

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Peer Relationships Places to Learn

Promote satisfying peer relationships

  • Minimize the large & impersonal groups that foster anonymity

  • Minimize the boredom of unstructured times – fighting is fun

  • Help students talk through the misunderstandings that occur

  • Embed activities that build perspective taking into curriculum

  • Create rules and boundaries that prevent some malicious behaviors from happening

  • Teach students to play “Anyone can join” games

  • Establish “You can’t say you can’t play” rules

  • Hold class meetings to debrief problems

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Important things to know about Places to LearnPeer Relationships

  • Two aspects: Inclusion and Conflict

  • Inclusion is almost always stronger in classrooms

  • Conflict is frequently a problematic feature of the learning environment

  • It is not the occurrence of conflict but failure to resolve it that’s problematic

  • Most conflict occurs among friends

  • And occurs when kids can’t tell the difference between actual aggression and ‘rough and tumble play.’

  • Problems with inclusion are less frequent but more painful

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More important things to know about Peer Relationships Places to Learn

  • Classrooms develop a peer ‘climate’ that helps or harms peer relationship

  • The peer climate improves under conditions of cooperative learning

  • Friends improve learning by: informal tutoring, modeling good learning behaviors, supporting shared values for academic success, or simply strengthening students’ bond to school

  • Peer relationships have a moderate impact on learning but a powerful impact on school bonding and school completion

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Behavioral Self-Control Places to Learn

Promote student’s self-control

  • Keep students actively engaged in productive tasks

  • Teach and practice conduct routines explicitly and early in the year

  • Integrate expectations into the routine of the classroom and building

  • Identify and use natural consequences for good conduct

  • Teach students strategies for solving difficult problems that arise

  • Adults model the conduct they want students to imitate

  • Consequences for behavior problems, when necessary, are automatic, consistent, firm and fair.

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Important things to know about Places to LearnBehavioral Self Control

  • The ultimate goal is for behavior to be appropriate even if the teacher is outside the door

  • It is strongly related to Teacher-Student relationships [two-stranded tether]

  • It is a shared responsibility of students and teachers

  • And it emerges out of routines and practices that students have learned

  • It is not entirely teacher-controlled: a few very tough kids can disrupt a class

  • It is contagious

  • Students value it

  • It is frequently a weak feature of classroom learning environments

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Academic Determination Places to Learn

Promote goal setting and decision-making

  • Provide frequent opportunities for students to make authentic and relevant decisions

  • Help students set goals so specific that they know immediately whether or not they have been met

  • And so manageable that they are likely to succeed

  • Help students set goals that are somewhat more challenging than you expect them to achieve.

  • And allow them to make some mistakes

  • Help students monitor their goals and adjust their activities to meet them.

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Important things to know about Academic Self Determination Places to Learn

  • Also called “goal setting and decision-making”

  • Mastery Goals are more effective than Competitive Goals

  • Ultimately, self-determined learners have internalized goals for learning

  • It is strengthened by frequent opportunities for students to make authentic choices about their learning

  • And by discussions and prompts that point out the relevance of learning to students’ daily lives

  • And by encouraging independent thinking from students

  • It is weakened by forcing meaningless, rote, uninteresting learning activities

  • And by suppressing independent opinions

  • And by disrupting students’ natural rhythm of learning

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Home-School Involvement Places to Learn

  • Families and classrooms hold high and shared expectations

  • Families talk with students about their support for learning

  • There is a regular system of communication between the classroom and family

  • Home school contacts provide parents with specific hints about what they can do to help

  • There are clear indications that parents are welcome in the classroom

  • When parents visit the classroom, they are engaged in tasks central to the students’ learning

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Important things to know about Home-School Involvement Places to Learn

  • Educators and researchers have not clearly decided how families ought to be involved

  • And research has not clearly established that more parental involvement is better

  • But we all believe that schools and families ought to be communicating better so that they ---

    • Hold high and shared expectations;

    • Help students learn

    • Give consistent messages to students about schooling

  • There need to be clear indications that parents are welcome in the classroom

  • And when parents visit the classroom, they should be engaged in tasks central to the students’ learning

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The central premise: Places to Learn

Developmental competence of children will be more evident and the impact of emotional distress lessened when their classrooms support strong interpersonal relationships and foster self-regulated learning

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Cross-cultural studies Places to Learn

  • Relationship between risk status, reading achievement, and self-efficacy beliefs (the Believing in Me survey)

  • 266 5th grade students in El Paso, TX

  • In monolingual classrooms, but Spanish spoken in the homes

  • Sample:44% male, 56% female

  • 45% classified as At Risk (41% of female sample; 50% of male sample)

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Results Places to Learn

  • At-risk students’ reading achievement scores were significantly lower than not at-risk students’ scores (t (264) = 6.485, p = .001).

  • At-risk students reported significantly lower self-efficacy than not at-risk students (t (261) = 2.376, p = .018)

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Results Places to Learn

  • Logistic regression analysis revealed that higher efficacy scores (83%), or a combination of higher efficacy and higher reading achievement (74%) scores, are better predictors of students who are not at risk than at risk students

  • All of the surveys together predicted reading achievement for both At Risk (F 2.180, df6, p< .051) and Not at Risk students (F 2.280, df6, p< .040)

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Kids’ Report Card Places to Learn

  • 83 classrooms

  • 1,623 kids

  • 2nd through 6th grades

  • Town and rural schools

  • Middle class to working poor families

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Top twelve Places to Learn

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Top twelve Places to Learn

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Dirty dozen Places to Learn

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Dirty Dozen Places to Learn

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ClassMaps consultation Places to Learn

  • Plan for ClassMaps with teacher

  • Collect brief anonymous student surveys of 6 characteristics

  • Analyze and graph survey data

  • Set a ClassMap goal

  • Hold a class meeting about survey results and the goal

  • Make a plan for change

  • Implement the plan

  • Monitor and revise the plan as needed

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Pragmatic Assessment Requirements Places to Learn

  • Brief, so as not to intrude on class time

  • With good face validity, so that teachers and students understand the importance of results

  • Easy and quick to analyze

  • Graph-able

  • Reliable

  • Linked to academic and social success

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ClassMaps Surveys Places to Learn

  • Anonymous student surveys

  • Collected in 15 (4th 5th grades) to 25 (2nd grade) minutes

  • 6-8 item surveys of each of the six characteristics

  • Uniform response format

  • Content derived from related individual measures and classroom research on each characteristic

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Analyzing and graphing Places to Learnsurvey data

  • Count number of ‘yes’, ‘sometimes’ and ‘no’ responses for each item

  • Represent in simple bar graphs with a separate graph for each characteristic

  • Use ‘number of students’ along the Y axis

  • 1 bar per item

  • Label each bar with a brief phrase describing the item

  • Don’t label the graph with class identity

  • Weaknesses are identified if (1) Yes < 50%; or (2) Yes + Sometimes < 75%

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Exercises in Class Data Places to Learn

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Believing in Me; N =20 Places to Learn

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Taking Charge Places to Learn

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Following Class Rules Places to Learn

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My Teacher Places to Learn

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My Classmates Places to Learn

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Talking With My Parents Places to Learn

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Setting a class goal Places to Learn

  • Review the classroom data and identify weaknesses and strengths

  • Select one weakness as a target for change

  • Further analyze the weakness

  • Set the goal for the class and state it in clear, precise terms

  • Plan to collect classroom data on progress towards the goal

  • To have an adequate baseline, begin collecting the data immediately

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Meeting with the Class Places to Learn

  • Pre-plan questions with the teacher

  • Limit discussion to 1-2 graphs

  • Ask about the accuracy of information

  • Ask what causes the problem

  • Ask what the teacher could do differently to fix it

  • Ask what the students can do differently to fix it

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Making a plan for change Places to Learn

  • Pull interventions out of the hypothesized reasons for the problem

  • Draw from research recommendations, teacher experience, or evidence-based interventions

  • Assign specific tasks, timelines and responsible persons

  • Write it down

  • Go for power over convenience

  • Continue to collect classroom data to track progress towards the goal

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Informal interventions for behavioral self control Places to Learn

  • Involve students in a classroom meeting to set classroom rules

  • Practice routines for following the rules

  • Set classroom goals and monitor progress towards the goals

  • Involve families in setting standards for behavior

  • Use pictures, gestures or other cues to prompt behavior

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Implementing and Tracking the Plan Places to Learn

  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

  • Collect continuous data towards goal

    • Re-collect the 6-8 item survey that’s most relevant to the intervention

  • Make sure the intervention is being implemented as planned

  • Strengthen the plan if changes aren’t occurring within 2-3 weeks

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Off Task Behavior Places to Learn

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Doll, B., Zucker, S., & Brehm, K. (2004). Places to LearnResilient classrooms: Creating healthy environments for learning. New York: Guilford Press.

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Ban the bootstrap myth Places to Learn

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Many students are situationally handicapped by a poor teacher-student match rather than chronically disabled by an enduring disability.Deno, S. L. (2002). Problem solving as “best practice”. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 37-55). Bethesda, MD: NASP.

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Behavior and socialization problems frequently reflect normal responses to irritating factors in the environment rather than emotional conflicts within the child. Dwyer, K.P. (2002). Mental health in the schools. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 11, 101-111.

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It’s like goldfish. You can’t fix the fish until you clean the watermiddle school principal

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Beth Doll, PhD. , University of Nebraska Lincoln,

Chieh Li, PhD., Northeastern University

Katherine Brehm, PhD., Ysleta Independent School District,