Dr. Amy Reed (@AmyReedEDU), Principal at Ramsey Elementary and MESPA North Suburban President-Elect
As a former classroom teacher, interventionist, and instructional/Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks (ENVoY) coach, I have seen the many benefits that ENVoY has provided our educational system over the years. ENVoY by Michael Grinder is a classroom management program that allows the teacher to systematically build relationships with students while increasing their independence through clear visuals and consistent verbal and non-verbal communication.
The most significant byproduct of deep levels of ENVoY implementation relates to teacher efficacy, which gives teachers the ability to perform at higher levels while having a positive mindset about their work as a professional.
As a principal, the benefits of continuing my journey with ENVoY and advanced coursework focused on group dynamics and coaching are essential to my focus as a leader. These opportunities have allowed me to continue to practice and refine my skills with students and staff in an even more meaningful way and enhances my capacity to lead with influence.
The article below is a summary of my dissertation, which is titled An Examination of Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks Implementation (ENVoY) and the Impact on Teacher Efficacy. It is my hope and dream that this research will reach the hands and hearts of educators, administrators, and system leaders as it demonstrates the statistically significant impact that ENVoY has on positively impacting individual and school-wide efficacy.
Relationships Precede Learning
Classroom management has long been recognized as a potential problem in our educational system and deserves serious attention, as the landscape of today’s classroom continues to evolve and change as the students who are served become more culturally, academically, physically, socially, and emotionally diverse. The analysis of peer-reviewed research clearly shows that creating a safe and nurturing classroom environment is critical to meeting the emotional, social and academic learning needs of students and that classroom management training is a key component to supporting both pre-service and in-service teachers (Emmer & Stough, 2001).
Classrooms are increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse and have a wide range of learning abilities in every class, and because most teachers are Caucasian and derive from middle-class backgrounds (Tileston & Darling, 2008), these educators may be unintentionally unaware of the needs that diverse learners require, which include the following: significant relationships, assistance with prioritizing and planning, problem solving, locus of control, ability to trust, and responding to criticism.
It is imperative that teachers are provided with an effective classroom and behavior management program that is centered on building relationships and trust with students to support high levels of student engagement while building educators’ ability to teach high-leverage instructional strategies. Marzano’s research (2003) showed that students in the classes of the most effective teachers demonstrated four times the gains of the students in the least effective teacher’s classroom. Over the course of one school year, highly effective teachers can expect to see a student achievement gain of 53 percentile points, while a least effective teacher is expected to see an increase of 14 percentile points (Marzano et al. 2003). This meta-analysis conducted by Marzano (2003) demonstrates that optimized learning occurs in the presence of a calm and safe classroom environment which values all students as member of the learning community while fostering risk taking and academic growth.
Shifting from Power to Influence with the Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks (ENVoY) Framework
Managing with influence involves the teacher using less eye contact, proximity and voice volume in order to preserve the teacher-student relationship while fostering increased productivity through getting the student on task in a more respectful, calm and indirect manner (Grinder, 1993).
Proactively supporting the learning environment through clear and consistent non-verbal communication, such as implementing consistent non-verbal messages and using visual supports increases student relationships, time-on-task and student memory (Mundschenk, et al., 2011; Grinder, 1993; Marzano et al., 2003). Effective non-verbal communication that focuses on using influence instead of power is the most successful in preserving relationships and fostering productivity (Zuckerman, 2007; Grinder, 1993). Teachers who are systematic with their non-verbal messages are able to communicate more effectively and efficiently with their students (Grinder, 1993). The non-verbal empowerment patterns that teachers employ include proximity, eye contact, silence, and explicit body language (Grubaugh, 1989; Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2003).
The ENVoY classroom management framework is centered on building relationships and trust, fostering independence and responsibility, and responding to students using influence instead of power (Grinder, 1993).
Developed by Michael Grinder in 1993, ENVoY was created after researching over 5,000 classrooms world-wide in order to establish effective patterns of non-verbal communication. The clear patterns that successful teachers demonstrated became the Seven Gems of ENVoY, which include the following: Freeze Body, Above Pause Whisper, Raise Your Hand vs. Speak Out, Exit Directions, Most Important Twenty Seconds, Off/Neutral/On, and the Influence Approach. Grinder (1993) has also developed a professional development model that is committed to “reversing the trend of over-training and under-implementing” through a coaching model that allows the practitioner to receive refinements and suggestions that can be immediately implemented. Additionally, the ENVoY certification protocols developed by Burns, Brickman, and Grinder (2013) enable staff to clearly understand the verbal and non-verbal communication strategies that support consistent communication during the four phases of the teaching lesson: getting attention, teaching, transition, and seatwork.
Grinder, Burns and Brickman (2017) have created ENVoY certification requirements that support teachers with clarity around the certification criteria processes aligned to ENVoY certifications and a more rigorous ENVoY Demonstration Certification.
ENVoY Gems and Requirements for Whole Group Certification (click to view)
ENVoY Gems and Requirements for Demonstration Whole Group Certification (click to view)
While self-efficacy is directly related to the belief about personal competence in a given area, teacher efficacy is defined as the belief and the ability as an educator to promote student success. (York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere & Monte, 2006).
In contrast to self-efficacy, the construct of teacher efficacy is more humanistic in nature and plays a critical role in relation to effectively implementing classroom management procedures (Johnson, 2012; Grinder, 2009). Understanding the differences between self-efficacy and teacher efficacy allows the educator to interact with their students in a manner that produces less power and control in the classroom when operating through the lens of teacher efficacy (Thomas and Mucherah, 2014). This distinction directly aligns to the work of Michael Grinder’s (2015) belief of operating with the power of influence instead of using power and control to produce a result while managing the classroom. According to Jerald (2007), Efficacy beliefs have been found to “exert an indirect influence on student achievement by virtue of the direct effect they have on teachers’ classroom behaviors and attitudes” (p. 3). Additionally, Jerald’s (2007) review of research highlights the following positive influences that stem from teachers’ positive efficacy beliefs: greater levels of planning and organization, a willingness to experiment with new teaching methods to meet the needs of their diverse learners, increased persistence and higher levels of resilience when facing a setback, being less critical of students when they make mistakes, and being less likely to refer a difficult student for a special education evaluation.
A Study of ENVoY Implementation and Teacher Efficacy
A statistically significant difference exists in teacher efficacy in the areas of student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management for teachers who were highly implementing ENVoY and have achieved advanced certification.
The purpose of this correlational study completed by Amy Reed was to explore the relationship between Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks (ENVoY) implementation (independent variable) to determine if this innovation has an impact on teacher efficacy in student engagement, classroom management, and instructional strategies (dependent variables). Additionally, the study confirmed whether or not teacher efficacy is viewed the same by all teaching staff across 24 elementary schools or if there are differences based on a teacher’s level of ENVoY certification. To determine if a relationship exists between the variables, the district modified Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy (TES) survey was administered by the district Research, Evaluation and Testing department to all licensed staff at all 24 elementary schools in the district of study, with the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) selected as the statistical test. The sample size was 1,182 licensed elementary teachers. The strongest impact of ENVoY was felt in the area of classroom management between the demonstration, certified and not certified teachers. It is also important to note that the difference between ENVoY demonstration teachers and certified teachers is significant in the areas of engagement, instruction and management. Additionally, there is a statistically significant difference between the ENVoY demonstration teachers and not certified teachers in the areas of engagement, instruction, and classroom management.
These data show that ENVoY training and certification levels definitely changed how teachers felt about their practice. It is important to note that the more advanced levels of ENVoY training and certification occur with the demonstration group, and the data supports that this group of teachers has the highest perceptions of teacher efficacy in engagement, instruction, and classroom management.
The results of this study specific to ENVoY implementation and teacher efficacy have implications for potential positive change on the individual level and organizational level. ENVoY is aligned to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a provision in this that is aimed at supporting and growing local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators. Additionally, the data may inform local and national school leaders to incorporate ENVoY as an innovative school reform or improvement strategy by measuring the impact it has on staff, students, and the entire school system.
Dan Domenech, the Executive Director of the School Superintendents Association (AASA) stated the following after visiting an ENVoY certified school: “As I was observing, what occurred to me is one of the things we are trying to do nationally, and one of the things that our new education law, ESSA, attempts to do is to introduce into the classroom, all of the social emotional factors that are so critical to learning. That’s what I saw this morning, I saw a classroom where the social emotional needs are being met by the teacher at the same time that they are teaching, so that has to have a major impact, if not immediate, on achievement. (Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6xHhI8sZ6o&feature=youtu.be).
Educational systems must continue to research the effectiveness of innovative school reform strategies, such as ENVoY, to create implementation plans that are aimed at comprehensive school improvement. It is imperative to consider the findings to determine how innovative programs such as ENVoY, are related to ESSA and could impact teachers at the school district and national level.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on this study!
Looking for references? Find them in the comment section!