Classroom Management: Teaching Pre-Service Teachers Practical, Useful Techniques in a Real-World Setting
John Sowder, Spalding University (United States)
Effective classroom management is essential to learning in all classrooms. New teachers increasingly report feeling underprepared for the realities faced in their first year of teaching, having had little to no instruction on how to deal with the behavior issues and social disorders present in their classrooms. Many professional occupations incorporate simulation into their training regimes, before individuals experience the realities of their jobs. Doctors, nurses, pilots, police officers, and lawyers all use some type of simulation before experiencing the real thing on the job. If classroom management is the backbone for student engagement and learning, why is it that new teachers usually receive only one class on classroom management theory in their teacher preparedness courses? Could classroom simulation help address the issues faced by new teachers, improving their feelings of preparedness? Student-teaching is the real world, there are not restarts and do-overs when things do not go well. If new teachers have the opportunity to try out techniques for behavior management and student engagement in a simulated classroom, what kind of impact would it make on their student-teaching experience as well as their first year solo teaching?
The study proposed here aims to qauntitatively evaluate the use of a live-simulated classroom with actors portraying students with vaious real-world behaviors in order for pre-service teachers to practice classroom management skills. This simulated classroom allows for stops, restarts and instruction by the professor in classroom management throughout, unlike an actual classroom with real students. Preliminary data from the study shows pre-service teachers self-perception of classroom management ability increased after expereincing the simulated classroom environment, while those who did not experience the environment remained virtually unchanged. Is is the contention of the researcher that application of this methodology at the university level to pre-service teachers will increase self-perception of preparedness as well as an increased quality performance in classroom management skills during the start of solo teaching.
Keywords: Classroom management, pre-service teachers, simulation, live-action role play, practical study