Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 23, No. 4, 471–493, 2017
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examines the general level of effective teaching behavior of pre-service teachers teaching in secondary education. It also investigates the role of several contextual and personal characteristics in explaining differences in effective teaching behavior and the link between effective teaching behavior and pupils’ academic engagement.
The participants were 264 pre-service teachers from 64 secondary schools throughout the Netherlands. This sample included 146 were female and 118 were male. All participants were inexperienced.
The participants were observed using the International Comparative Analysis of Learning and Teaching to measure effective teaching behavior and pupils’ engagement.
The results show substantiate differences in the level of effective teaching behavior between pre-service and experienced teachers. It was found that several contextual and personal characteristics determine differences in effective teaching behavior. Furthermore, the importance of effective pre-service teaching behavior for pupil engagement was established.
The authors found that pre-service teachers generally show better performance in more basic teaching domains including creating safe and stimulating learning climates, maintaining classroom management and ensuring clarity of instruction compared to more complex teaching domains like activating pupil learning.
The authors also found that the quality of effective teaching behavior in small classes is better compared to large classes.
In addition, it was found that female teachers revealed more effective behavior than male teachers with respect to the quality of learning climate and clarity of instruction.
Finally, the authors show that effective teaching behavior was linked with pupils’ academic engagement. The authors argue that this finding signifies empirical evidence that teachers play an important role in the academic engagement of pupils already from the pre-service teaching context.
The authors claim that this study highlights which domains of effective teaching behavior are more important than the others. It was found that classroom management and clarity of instruction had significant unique effects and appear to be the two most significant predictors of pupil engagement. This finding delivers evidence that these two teaching domains are central to pupil engagement.
The authors conclude that findings suggest that when pre-service teachers display better effective teaching behavior, the more pupils’ academic engagement is achieved.
The authors suggest that these results can lead to setting realistic standards for teacher licensing. The authors argue that a realistic standard would be that the sufficient level should be reached for all the more basic teaching domains including creating safe and stimulating learning climates, maintaining classroom management, displaying clarity of instruction and activating pupil learning by pre-service teachers upon the completion of teacher training. The authors also suggest that certified teachers should be supported further to maintain and improve their basic teaching skills and guide them to start paying more attention to the more complex teaching skills, such as adaptation and teaching learning strategy.