In a sample of 132 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers’ trained in the RC approach, we examined the main and moderated effects of four RC practices (Morning Meeting, Rule Creation, Interactive Modeling, and Academic Choice) on the quality of emotional, organizational, and instructional interactions in the classroom (accounting for baseline interaction quality and teacher/classroom characteristics). Teachers’ use of RC practices was derived from a combination of direct observations (conducted throughout the school year) and teacher report (collected at the end of the school year). Observations of teacher-student interactions were conducted at two points prior to RC training (as baseline) and five points throughout the school year following RC training, using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (Pianta, LaParo, & Hamre, 2008).
Results indicated positive (α<.05) relations between teachers’ use of Academic Choice and improvements in emotional (β=.18), organizational (β=.17), and instructional (β=.14) interactions. In addition, teachers’ baseline interaction quality moderated multiple associations such that the strongest relations between practices and interaction quality were typically seen for teachers with the lowest levels of baseline interaction quality. In one case, the strongest association emerged for teachers with the highest baseline interaction quality.
These results suggest (a) teachers’ use of Academic Choice holds particular promise to enhance the quality of teacher-student interactions, and (b) in some cases, use of RC practices is especially beneficial for teachers with a history of lower interaction quality. Discussion will focus on implications for intervention evaluation, development, and effective teacher practice.