Incredible YearsⓇ: Teacher Classroom Management Program

Preschool & Elementary SELect Program

Program Description

Incredible YearsⓇ: Teacher Classroom Management (IY: TCM) uses a collaborative, reflective, problem-solving and experiential practice teaching approach and aims to foster social emotional competence in students by strengthening teacher classroom management strategies and relationships with students. The program is designed for teachers of grades preK-3rd. It is a companion program to Incredible Years’ Child Social, Emotional, and Problem-Solving Curriculum (called Dinosaur School) designed to be offered first before the child curriculum. The IY: TCM curriculum provides teachers with foundational knowledge on the importance of SEL and strategies for promoting prosocial behaviors, emotional self-regulation and school readiness development in students. The program also emphasizes approaches for leveraging parents in how to promote their children’s social and emotional development and guidance for managing personal stress. All of these strategies and practices stem from five grounding principles: promoting supportive relationships with students and parents, the use of research-based classroom management strategies, individualization of students’ learning and behavioral goals, nurturing students peer relationships early, building a secure learning foundation, and teachers developing support networks.  

IY: TCM is designed for teachers to develop their teaching practice over the course of a school year. The program recommends 6-8 full-day professional learning workshops led by an Incredible Years certified group leader (see training and implementation support summary). This model facilitates space and opportunities for teachers to reflect and discuss their experience utilizing video modeling and live modeling learning methods and experiential practices tailored for their respective classrooms and the students’ development. Teachers view a series of video vignettes representing student-teacher interactions in a variety of classroom settings.  Group leaders guide the teachers through discussions and problem solving to tailor the strategies and behavior principles modeled to their own classroom settings and to specific goals for target children.  Group leaders then set up live practices so that teachers can practice and refine the strategies.  Each workshop day teachers are supported to work on behavior plans for teacher-identified students in their classrooms.  Over the course of the 6 workshop days, teachers learn to develop a comprehensive plan that includes proactive teaching strategies, relationship building, praise and incentives, positive discipline and problem solving. Teachers are given classroom assignments between workshops to try out the new strategies and implement the behavior plans in their classrooms. Teachers also complete reading assignments between workshops from a teacher text: Incredible Teachers: Nurturing Children’s Social, Emotional, and Academic Competence. Aside from strategies and practices that benefit students, IY: TCM also emphasizes the importance of involving parents and caregivers in a partnership to enhance the emotional, social and academic development of students. 

Training and Implementation Support

IY: TCM uses a train-the-trainer approach to training and implementation support. A school or district looking to implement the program would designate ‘group leaders’ to attend a 3-day training in Seattle with Incredible Years. If there is enough demand, Incredible Years trainers will travel and facilitate the training onsite. IY: TCM recommends selecting group leaders that have a background in cognitive social learning development (e.g., school counselors/psychologists), child development and instructional practice (e.g., teachers, instructional coaches). At this interactive and collaborative training, group leaders learn how to effectively facilitate a cohort of teachers through the 6-8 workshops using IY: TCM manual and provide coaching support in between the workshops. Resources given to group leaders include an Incredible Teachers text, a detailed group leader manual, video vignettes, a protocol for every workshop, a teacher self-evaluation form for each of the 6 workshops, a collaborative process checklist to assess the group leader’s teaching workshop strategies as well as engagement of participating teachers, and a self-monitoring checklist. Once group leaders complete the 3-day training, they are ready to lead an IY: TCM cohort at their home school or district.  Group leaders are encouraged to pursue certification in the program (see details below) to ensure that they are leading the program with fidelity.  

Aside from facilitating the workshops, group leaders are encouraged to provide coaching support to their teachers in between workshops using provided IY protocols. Additionally, Incredible Years offers virtual consultation where group leaders can send videos of either an example of classroom teaching or workshop facilitation. With this option, Incredible Years personnel review the tapes and have an online video chat coaching session.  IY: TCM also supplies participating teachers with continuous improvement tools such as documentation forms and journaling prompts. These tools promote active reflection on one’s teaching practice in between workshops throughout the school year.  There is a certification process where group leaders can become certified leaders in the TCM program. This process includes participating in the initial group leader training, passing a video review of a workshop session to ensure fidelity, and submitting session checklists, teacher evaluations, and peer and self-reflections for review by the IY accreditation team. Certification ensures that group leaders are leading the program in the same way that it was delivered in the research trials. 

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized controlled trial study conducted in 2018 supported the effectiveness of the Incredible Years Teachers and Children Series: Promoting Positive Academics for early elementary school students. This evaluation used a large, multi-site sample, including 1,680 students (833 in the treatment group and 847 in the control group) and 104 teachers (53 in the treatment group and 51 in the control group) in kindergarten-3rd grade (76% African American, 22% White, 61% eligible for free or reduced lunch).This evaluation found that students who participated in the program demonstrated significantly higher teacher-reported prosocial behavior and social competence, as well as significantly lower teacher-reported emotional dysregulation compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported approximately 7 months after baseline). Analyses controlled for outcome pretest and a host of relevant demographic characteristics.  


Reinke, W. M., Herman, K. C., & Dong, N. (2018). The Incredible Years teacher classroom management program: Outcomes from a group randomized trial. Prevention Science, 19(8), 1043-1054.