bibliography included 15 current research publications centered on the concept of classroom management in elementary schools. Most of the publications were journal articles, with a few reports and dissertations.
The literature review paralleled the theories in many ways. The strategies and methods being used are widely varied and inconsistent. There are many wonderful ideas and similar approaches, but overall, there is still not a single method that has been thoroughly tested and implemented across the elementary school environment.
Many of the studies indicated positive results but the methods still required further testing and validation. Some of the research articles offered specific guidelines on how to improve classroom management while others were in the beginning phases of testing. The downside is that classroom management is a concern to many teachers, and it is considered to be the main cause of teacher stress and low retention. There is a need for concrete methods and training, but at this point, the methods being offered are fairly new and inconsistent.
Above them all, however, one strategy stood out. What was interesting is that it was not highly proven or rooted in theory. Yet, the overall themes it touched on were very much in alignment with systems theory as well as common sense classroom management techniques. An article by Kerri Ullucci focused on her direct observations of six teachers in urban elementary schools. The teachers were well-recognized and respected and therefore Ullucci participated in their classrooms to understand what they were doing right. What she discovered were six different approaches that all reflected many of the same core components.
First, beyond the other research findings, this was the only article that used the word "family" in the title and expressed a sense of warmth. Just by reading the article, the reader could remember back to his/her childhood and favorite teacher. The other publications focused on handling "disruptive behavior" and the stress related to classroom management. These are still very real issues, however, Ullucci's article was less about classroom management and control and more about what it takes to be an amazing teacher. Through her observations, she saw that students who were treated with respect and honored as individuals were more likely to perform, and to feel good about themselves. Ullucci witnessed multi-cultural classrooms that celebrated the cultural diversity of the class through pictures, books, artifacts, and art. These classrooms were also open to freedom of expression, talking about feelings and open communication. Students were also encouraged to speak different languages, which is not typically the norm in standard classrooms. In many ways, these teachers broke the rules. And yet, they also had specific classroom management techniques.