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Variation in Teachers’ Reported Use of Classroom Management and Behavioral Health Strategies by Grade Level

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Teachers’ use of evidence-informed classroom management and behavioral health strategies may improve student behavior and classroom function. However, little is known about the extent to which teachers employ various strategies and whether strategy use varies across grades. This study aimed to determine the frequency distribution of reported use of a range of strategies in a large representative sample of teachers in Ontario, Canada, and their variation across grades (junior kindergarten to grade twelve). The teacher survey contained strategies derived from a positive behavior support questionnaire (PBSQ) and a behavioral health questionnaire (EIBHQ), eight items each. Among the PBSQ items, completed by 3004 teachers, “Expected student behaviors and routines are taught directly” was the most frequently endorsed at the “always” level (60.5%), while “Rewards are varied to maintain student interest” was the least at this same level (30.6%). Among the EIBHQ items, completed by 2801 teachers, “Provided social rewards, such as praise, encouragement, and affection, to promote desired behaviors” was the most frequently endorsed at the “daily” level (71.1%), while “Taught the student to solve problems by outlining steps, such as identifying the problem, generating multiple solutions, and selecting the best alternative” was the least frequently endorsed (24.8%). For all items, frequency of endorsement significantly decreased with increasing grade level suggesting that students in higher grades are less likely to be exposed to this particular group of strategies. Additional studies are required that incorporate a wider range of teacher strategies and verify patterns with observational data.

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The School Mental Health Surveys (SMHS) study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Funding Reference No. MOP-136939). Dr. Georgiades holds the David R. (Dan) Offord Chair in Child studies. Dr. McLennan was supported by a Research Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario—Research Institute.

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Correspondence to John D. McLennan.

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All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethics review board and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

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McLennan, J.D., Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., Georgiades, K. et al. Variation in Teachers’ Reported Use of Classroom Management and Behavioral Health Strategies by Grade Level. School Mental Health 12, 67–76 (2020).

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