Questioning teacher control: Is teacher education for classroom behaviour management passe?

Year: 2016

Author: Jones, Marguerite, Page, Angela

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In Australia there is an intensive policy focus on teacher effectiveness for competitive international economic advantage. There is a key push in pre-service teacher education for courses to have measurable impact on future classroom practices to enhance student’s learning outcomes in schools. The literature is rife with concerns regarding pre-service teachers beliefs, levels of knowledge, skills and confidence in classroom management. In particular, there are concerns raised regarding ‘the great divide’ – the disconnect between academia and schools. This presentation addresses the complexity between aspired for policy goals for pre-service teacher competence and the reality of preparing professionals to make informed decisions and enact them under complex circumstances in schools. The research responds to literature critiques on the limitations of pre-service teacher education in classroom management. The researchers present a study on the effectiveness of a Master of Teaching classroom management unit. The unit integrates evidence-based theoretical frameworks, observation heuristics to connect with existing regulatory frameworks using online learning management tools. Video recordings of classroom practices with a focus on local schools replaced face-to-face observational professional experience. Pre-service teachers were introduced to a wide range of observation tools in order to analyse and evaluate effective and less effective teaching as articulated in the AITSL Standards and NSW Quality Teaching framework. The mixed methods study addresses the shifts in pre-service teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, skills and confidence regarding classroom management as a result of their participation in the unit and subsequent in-school professional experience. Preliminary findings from phase 1 of the study suggest ways forward for practitioners in teacher education programmes. The recommendations emerging from the study highlight the importance of providing a pedagogy in which pre-service teachers can begin to recognise that classroom management is not simply about managing behaviour but rather facilitating quality learning environments. These processes will be followed longitudinally to map the influence of teacher education programmes on graduate teachers’ future classroom practices.