How it works to help teachers create calm, productive classrooms
Program strategies include:
1) The Seven Gems of Non-Verbal Management,
2) Twenty-seven refinements of the Seven Gems (optional, for veteran teachers and ambitious new teachers),
3) Two methods for avoiding the unintentional escalation of simple management issues into disciplinary issues that require administrative action and injure the teacher-student relationship.
Teachers are coached in one or two strategies at a time in order to avoid overwhelming the teacher with too many new skills.
Strategies were chosen because they have been proven effective in increasing
student learning; the reason they work is that these strategies allow teachers
to preserve relationships with students while creating productive, caring
The methods represent the best wisdom of the profession, having been distilled from observational research in more than 6000 classrooms and refined during more than 25 years of use in public schools.
Program Activities and Process
Usually one or two brief meetings suffice; written explanations of the programs are provided before and after meetings to save time. The purpose of meetings is to determine specific needs and goals that Knowledge Arts trainer and coaches can assist with.
Before the faculty is introduced to ENVoY, KAF conducts a brief, non-intrusive assessment of current classroom practices from the standpoint of the students' learning environment using a one-page checklist. This "Classroom Scan" was developed by KAF in partnership with the University of Houston in 2006. A copy of the instrument is available along with a one-page summary of findings of the U. of Houston entitled "Effectiveness of ENVoY." Request summary and/or full report by sending email to Mary Yenik, firstname.lastname@example.org.
During assessment, classes are visited but not interrupted; each observation takes no more than 15 minutes.
3. Teacher workshops
KAF provides twelve hours of in-service training in ENVoY Non-Verbal Classroom Management to teachers, instructional specialists, paraprofessionals, and administrators; best results come from everyone being on the same page, so all school personnel are invited to attend. In addition to non-verbal management skills, tips on Learning Styles can be included if the administrators so desire.
The setting for workshops can be an individual school or other district meeting place; ideally, not only the faculty of an individual school will be trained, but also the faculties of one or more other schools plus potential teacher leaders from neighboring schools will be invited.
Because KAF trainers are highly skilled in presenting to large groups, KAF encourages the district to welcome all interested educators so they can evaluate the program in terms of their own schools' needs.
4. Follow-up coaching.
For teachers of the chosen school, the coach will offer support and assistance in getting the skills into daily, habitual use. This is an essential element of the program; without follow-up, it doesn't matter how interesting or useful a workshop may be--when faced with the challenges of their job, most participants use 5-15% of what they learned unless they have consistent, specific, and encouraging feedback and mentoring.
To offer workshops without implementation support is often a waste of time and energy. (Research supports this reality. For example, Joyce and Showers (1996).
5. Build capacity of local educators to continue progress.
KAF policy is to offer a supportive presence to teachers for up to three years; it takes that long to effect lasting improvements.
In addition to an emphasis on implementation support, KAF always works to "teach 'em to fish" by thoroughly preparing teacher leaders, instructional specialists, etc., to continue to serve as a resource for their colleagues, especially new teachers who enter the district. Therefore, KAF offers a Coaches Lab Week in which principal-chosen teacher leaders are given intense training in the strategies and how to coach colleagues without incurring resistance. The Lab Week takes place, usually in October or November, at two or three schools in which the principal and teachers are open to high quality coaching in classroom management for approximately 12 of their faculty. There is no substitute for on-the-job experience, and the Coaches Lab Week is well-accepted by participating schools and teachers.
6. Gather data on results.
After ENVoY training and six months of implementation support (coaching), and in cooperation with the principal(s) and district, objective data is gathered on before-and-after test scores, discipline referrals, and The Classroom Scan--especially time on task.
Subjective data is gathered as well: teacher surveys, interviews with administrators, teachers, students, custodians, parents, etc. Data is made available to funders of the program, the district superintendent, and other interested educators.
Informal History of ENVoY
ENVoY is a classroom management system developed by Michael Grinder after observational research in more than 6000 classrooms. Grinder wanted to find out the nitty-gritty reasons why students learn well and behave well with some teachers and yet those same students are unmanageable with other teachers. What were the successful teachers doing? Michael Grinder identified the seven non-verbal techniques used by all of the best teachers, techniques that worked no matter what subject or grade level they were teaching. That's how he came up with "The Seven Gems of Classroom Management," also known as ENVoY.
Any teacher who learns the Seven Gems and uses them consistently will have more learning going on in their classroom. And the students will know the teacher cares.
In other words, ENVoY helps teachers keep good relationships with students while at the same time holding them accountable for their behavior. It helps teachers do what they went to college to do - that is, teach. They don't have to be struggling with management problems, sending kids to the office, and going home in a bad mood every day.
How benefits of ENVoY can become part of the school culture
Training alone doesn't cut it. No matter how good a workshop may be, most teachers forget when they get back to class. Research shows that the single most important factor in getting new skills to actually be used is... coaching. Job-embedded coaching. Supportive, encouraging, non-threatening, skilled coaching.
None of it works, though, without the principal's leadership. The principal's support and high expectations are essential.
The U of H did a year-long assessment of student behavior in seven schools before, during and after ENVoY training and coaching. Dr. Robert Houston analyzed the data and made three main recommendations:
1) Offer ENVoY training to all teachers in a school
2) Provide school-wide implementation support (coaching)
3) Continue program support for three years at each school.
Long term Plan
The ENVoY Coaches Lab prepares outstanding faculty members to be ongoing resources for colleagues in their use of ENVoY. They especially mentor new teachers. Peer coaching is recommended as a proven, effective way to make sure ENVoY skills are used by teachers year after year.
Principals hire new teachers with the understanding that they will be expected to learn and use ENVoY.