Student Teachers’ Management Practices in Elementary Classrooms: A Qualitative Study

May 2016

Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 20, No. 2, 147–161, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to investigate student teachers’ beliefs, understanding, and challenge of elementary classroom management strategies.

The participants were four student teachers training to become elementary and special education teachers at a school of education in a small liberal arts college in the northeastern United States. The participants completed two seven-week placements in classrooms with pupils ranging in age from five to ten years old. They were assigned to the first author for student teaching supervision.
Data were gathered through a survey, observations, audio transcripts of seminar meetings, and written reflections.

The results revealed that three of the four participants did not develop a strong teacher identity because there were barriers to that development. These participants did not challenge school-based educator (SBE) management practices even when they disagreed with their SBE. The authors found that the lack of positive relationships that encouraged risk-taking was a barrier to the development of teacher identity, as that barrier inhibited student teachers from trying new strategies. Instead, the participants relied on practices that were already in place.

However, one participant had a strong teacher identity and navigated trying new strategies.
This participant who enacted positive practices benefited from a strong orientation toward serving all pupils.
The authors argue that factors that affected teacher identity development included classroom climate and the relationships between student teachers and SBEs.

Implications for teacher education
The authors believe that this research has several implications for teacher education. They recommend that communities of practice be incorporated into student teaching as safe places for exploring the praxis of enacting positive classroom management. Furthermore, the authors recommend that teacher education programs should recognize that the establishment of a fully developed teacher identity is not a reasonable expectation for student teaching. 

Updated: Feb. 22, 2018