Research Meant for the Classroom

Improve civility, save on textbooks, and maximize your creativity with the McKay School.

A Civil Education:

Teachers can only do so much to keep students from missing class and acting out—or can they? McKay School professors’ recent research shows that school-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) initiatives reduce tardiness, absences, and of?ce discipline referrals. At PBS schools, teachers praise good behavior, post school rules, and teach social skills.

“There has been a lot of research on bullying–the negative side of behavior in schools,” says Paul Caldarella, the McKay School professor who leads the school’s Positive Behavior Support Initiative. “We want to take the positive things like civility and ?nd ways of researching that and teaching and reinforcing that good behavior in schools.”

Resources are available for administrators who want to initiate SWPBS. Take advantage of Positive Behavior Support in Schools: A Practical Guide. The book, authored by McKay School researchers, is an accessible approach to implementing PBS.

Slashing Textbook Costs

Students learn better when schools pay less for textbooks—at least according to MSE professor David Wiley. A champion of open education, Dr. Wiley has recently conducted research that shows that “open” textbooks are better than or just as effective as traditional textbooks.

The pricing of open textbooks (free online or a few dollars in print) is possible because they are published under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licensing also allows instructors to customize a textbook to suit the needs of a particular course. The low price of “open” materials allows students to write in and highlight their textbooks, strategies that may help them to succeed. Learn more about Dr. Wiley’s research along with accounts of how open textbooks are working for schools here.

Be Your Most Creative

Are you trying to encourage innovation and creativity at your school? McKay School Instructional Psychology and Technology alumnus Jason McDonald researches what he calls the “creative spirit of design”—principles that universally underlie successful instructional design. Administrators can help teachers enrich their lesson planning by building on these three fundamentals of creativity.

  • Imagination. Explore untested possibilities. Encourage staff to try new teaching strategies.
  • Be “creation-oriented.” Stress that good instructional designers tangibly explore and test out their ideas.
  • Interdisciplinary exchange. Encourage staff from different disciplines to interact and occasionally collaborate on a lesson plan.

Read McDonald’s full article here.