Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 22, No. 6, 700–715, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study explores the projected classroom management strategies of Turkish pre-service early childhood education (ECE) teachers before they entered the teaching profession.
The participants were sixteen pre-service ECE teachers enrolled in teacher education programme at the Department of Elementary Education in the Faculty of Education at an English-medium public university in Ankara, Turkey.
The participants were interviewed immediately before graduation, and were again interviewed at the end of the first and second semesters after they started to work in public schools.
The authors used a phenomenological approach to analyze the data.
The results revealed that all of the participants had a fear of being unable to manage their classes before starting their careers because they felt unprepared. However, all the participants related rather positive classroom management experiences once they had their own classrooms.
The authors found that participants’ experiences and concerns during practicum have shown cooperating teachers in practicum schools were the key agents in providing pre-service teachers meaningful classroom management experiences. Unfortunately, it also appeared that cooperating teachers were not completely aware of their roles. The authors suggest that cooperating teachers should be provided with more information about what is expected from them during practicum in terms of helping pre-service teachers with classroom management as well as with other issues.
The results demonstrate that having own classes was a key issue in positive classroom management in the first year of teaching. Once the pre-service teachers had their classes, they were able to set and keep the rules and had surprisingly positive experiences.
The authors argue that classroom management was one of the primary concerns of participants in their first year of teaching, which led them to establish certain strategies to facilitate classroom activities in their classes. The participants used strategies aimed at developing a positive relationship with the children. The participants' classroom management strategies concentrated on the establishment and keeping of rules to create a positive classroom climate, and these rules worked in two ways for the participating teachers.
On the other hand, the pre-service teachers’ strategies included also punishment or external rewards, which were sometimes detrimental to the classroom atmosphere. Once the negative effects were understood, the pre-service teachers included the children more in establishment of rules, and this allowed them to reduce the rewards and punishments. The pre-service teachers asserted that rewards worked well and provided an instant solution to misbehaviour; however, such a strategy may influence the classroom context negatively. Hence, the participants sought to discontinue the use of rewards, and attempted to make the children internalize the rules.
In conclusion, the authors suggest that one way to improve classroom management practices among pre-service teachers would be to provide them with classroom management cases from beginning teachers’ classes.