MU Researchers Receive Grant Funding Aimed At Improving Classroom Behavior

Researchers at the University of Missouri are taking on the task of improving classroom behavior with the help of $4.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The improved classroom behavior is hoped to retain new teachers.

Nearly half of all new teachers leave the profession within their first five years, and sometimes their departures have less to do with teaching and more to do with managing disruptive student behavior. Research suggests that traditional disciplinary actions, including in-school or out-of-school suspensions, fail to improve student behavior. The grants were awarded to the Missouri Prevention Science Institute, a multidisciplinary center housed in the MU Office of Research and Economic Development.

Wendy Reinke, co-director of the Missouri Prevention Science Institute, received a $3.2 million grant to implement the Classroom Check-Up, an online resource she developed with videos and strategies to help early-career teachers implement effective classroom management practices. Some of the topics include establishing clear expectations early, teaching students what appropriate behaviors look like and encouraging positive reinforcement. The intervention will support teachers in rural, suburban and urban Missouri school districts.

Aaron Thompson, an associate professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences and associate director of the Missouri Prevention Science Institute, received a $1.3 million grant to implement an intervention aimed at helping students with challenging classroom behaviors learn how to set goals and monitor their own progress toward those goals.

Funding for both grants was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to the Missouri Prevention Science Institute, a research center at MU aimed at increasing interdisciplinary research productivity, meaningful community engagement, diversity and inclusivity excellence, and addressing the contextual factors that contribute to and drive poor mental health outcomes in youth.