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In June, the USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center released results from its eighth biennial Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VIII) Study. The report is focused on providing senior communicators with “guidance as they manage their organizations, develop strategy, and prepare for the future.” Data was gathered from professionals in a variety of organizations including corporations, government agencies and non-profits.
1. Budgets have recovered post-recession and, similarly, organizations across a variety of industries expect increases in staff growth in 2014. In the introduction to our book, Strategic Public Relations, we cited data from a previous GAP study which showed that senior managers rated PR as one of the top three contributors to organizational success. We have seen this trend in practice as CEOs, CMOs and business owners now more often understand the value of having our team involved at a strategic level within their organizations and facilitating the sharing of information early in the decision-making process so PR and communication can be incorporated broadly.
Take a moment to brainstorm a little on the reasons you think some students in some classrooms might learn more than students in the same or another classroom.
In 1963, John Carroll wrote a seminal article that focused attention on direct observation of classroom behavior of teachers and students. The publication of A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) made it abundantly clear that despite the increased funding for research and subsequent enlargement of the knowledge base of effective classrooms and schools, there were still major concerns with the functioning of the nation’s school system. In my opinion, the most important of these categories is the Output category because the variables in the rest of the categories are used to predict or relate to the variables measured in this one. The second most important category, at least from the perspective of the educational institution and educational psychology, is the Classroom Processes category. The category of Teacher Behavior consists of all the actions a teacher would make in the classroom and incudes three additional subcategories: Planning, Management, and Instruction. Planning refers to all of those activities a teacher might do to get ready to interact with students in the classroom. However, Rosenshine (1995) showed that the approach to instruction labeled direct or explicit instruction was most likely to positively impact on learning as measured by scores on standardized tests of basic skills.
Given the moderate correlations between teacher behavior and student learning as measured outside the classroom, however, it seems prudent to focus on student behavior within the classroom and the impact that teacher behavior has on that set of variables. There are a variety of other classroom factors which have been related to student achievement such as the classroom climate and the opportunity for students to engage in leadership roles. One of the most important concepts that has been developed in educational psychology during the past 30 years is that classroom process variables are the most direct link to student achievement (Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986).
The third major category of variables, Input, refers to descriptions of teachers and students prior to their coming into the classroom. The most important teacher characteristic (in terms of predicting how well teachers will perform in the classroom as well as student achievement) seems to be the teacher's values and belief or more particularly Teacher Efficacy (Ashton, 1984).
In the state of Georgia, a teacher's knowledge is evaluated through the completion of college-level courses and passing the Teacher Certification Test (TCT). There are a wide variety of Student Characteristics that have been related to classroom behavior and student achievement. The category of context includes all of those variables outside of the classroom that have an impact on teacher and student characteristic, classroom processes, and output. School characteristics includes variables such as organizational structure and school size, School processes include factors related to activities such as leadership, supervisory practices, and school climate. Other important context subcategories include the community (Location, Emphasis on education). It is also having an impact on the practice of education in that alternative forms of schooling are increasingly being advocated. Agencies are recognized for “intellectual added value, rather than simple labor.” This was the first time in the study’s history that intellectual added value was the most commonly cited reason for working with agencies.
That is, what are the reasons, both within and across classrooms and schools, that you believe research has shown will influence what and how much students learn.



The systematic study of classroom processes thought to influence student achievement as measured on these tests led to an explosion of information about what exactly was going on within America’s classrooms. This was in spite of the fact that the American school system had made significant improvements during the 20th century. As we will see, there are a variety of outcomes that are important in today's world (such as cognitive development and character) that are not presently discussed when we talk about student learning. Management refers to controlling student behavior, while instruction refers to actually guiding student learning. Alternatively, changing the desired outcome measure puts the focus on different instructional methods. Student Behavior includes all of the actions a student would make in the classroom and includes one very important variable (at least in relationship to predicting student achievement on standardized tests) and that is Academic Learning Time (ALT). These three variables can be relatively easily measured and can be considered the vital signs of a classroom.
More specifically, the teacher's classroom behavior (incorporated in the categories of planning, management and instruction) has a direct influence on student behavior (most importantly, Academic Learning Time) which, in turn, is most directly linked to measures of student achievement.
There are again two important subcategories: Teacher Characteristics and Student Characteristics. At VSU, one requirement related to a teacher's thinking and communication skills is successful completion of a speech course at the undergraduate level. The most immediate subcategories of context variables include school characteristics and school processes.
Some of the subcategories of these variables include Home, Peer Groups, Community, Religious Institutions, Society, Culture, and International Conditions. Context variables such as the size and region of the community impact teacher and student characteristics while the context variables associated with the family impact student characteristics.
Parental beliefs and values related to family risk, educational intervention, and child academic competence. For example, more than 75% of its youth graduated from high school in the 1980s, up from less than 10% at the turn of the century (Greene, 2002). I believe the most important category is Output because once that has been defined it impacts the importance of the variables in the other categories.
There are a variety of specific teacher classroom variables that have been related to student learning. For example, if the desired outcome is creativity and independence, then open education may be a better alternative (Giaconia & Hedges, 1982).
If all of these are appropriate, there is a high probability that the classroom is functioning well. Some important subcategories of teacher characteristics includes the teacher's values and beliefs, knowledge, thinking and communication skills, performance skills, and personality. Performance skills are measured through a requirement of student teaching and an annual evaluation using the Georgia Teacher Observation Instrument (GTOI). Other researchers have shown that when time to learn is held constant, as it is in most learning envrionments in the United States, then a student's intelligence or academic ability is most important. A very important aspect of the latter is the movement to the information age which is in turn influencing all other aspects of living (Huitt, 1995). Of course, there are other important context variables that could also be considered as described above. There are a variety of other mental representations that have been developed to organize the variables of interest in educational psychology. In this regard, the public seems more knowledgeable than the researchers about indicators of adult success in that student achievement, level of education, or measures of academic intelligence account for at best one third of the variance related to adult success (Gardner, 1995; Goleman, 1995).


Alternately, if better relationships among diverse students is the goal, the cooperative learning would appear to be the better instructional method (Slavin, 1995). ALT is a combination of three separate variables: Content Overlap, Involvement, and Success. However, if any one of these variables is lower than expected, further inspection of classroom processes should be undertaken. Of course, there are many more possible subcategories, but these seem to be the most important. This is especially important because it is redefining the knowledge and skills that students need if they are to be successful in society. Additional context variables associated with school and state policies combine with teacher and student characteristics to impact teacher behavior. Background paper developed for workshop presentation at the Georgia Independent School Association, Atlanta, Georgia.
Paper presented at the School Counseling Summit, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA, April 20.
At the same time the number of college graduates rose from less than 10% in 1960 to over 25% in 2000. Recent attempts to hold schools, and especially teachers, totally responsible for student achievement presents a problem in that there are multiple factors not under the control of building-level educators that contribute to educational achievement (Huitt, 1999). Therefore, it is important to specify desired outcomes and their measures before decisions are made as to the implementation of specific instructional methods.
One measure of personality that has become popular in education circles is the Keirsey Temperament Scale (a version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). If we truly believe that everyone can learn and that it is important to learn, then it would seem we would make a greater effort to provide the appropriate time to learn. This may be because the mother is the first educator of the child and the level of language usage she uses with the child is an important predictor of the child's language usage and school achievement. As shown in the graph below, the number of people employed in the service and information sectors today is over 75% or approximately the same percentage as that accounted for by agriculture and industry in the 1870s. Teacher behavior along with student characteristics influence student behavior, especially those variables associated with Academic Learning Time. If you prefer another organizational structure, it is certainly appropriate to use it during any discussions we have about how knowledge related to educational psychology might be organized. However, if we believe that ability is more important and that only the most capable individuals can learn all we want them to learn, then the present system will continue to produce a result that verifies that expectation.
Student classroom behavior then influences teacher classroom behavior in an interactive pattern. This may be because technology is such an important factor in today's society and the more familiar the child is with technology, the more likely the child will feel comfortable in the modern classroom. If you have developed your own framework (which I encourage you to do), you might want to have it drawn out so we can view it during our discussions. In fact, the list of important student characteristics is so long entire books have been written on them. Additional outcome variables that are important for success in the information age can be considered in the same manner.



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