Teacher perceptions of the essential skills of classroom management and discipline

Year: 1994

Author: Jessup, Steven, Webb, Paul

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on a study that sought to identify and investigate the most important skills that teachers perceive they ought to have to be effective in classroom management and discipline, and the levels of difficulty they perceive are associated with development of these skills.

Behaviourally-anchored rating scale procedures were used to design a survey instrument that consisted of 56 individual skills categorised into eight broad competency areas. Responses were measured on two five-point rating scales, as to the perceived level of importance and difficulty associated with development of each of the individual skills. From an original stratified random sample of 237 teachers, there were 101 respondents. Whilst respondents were not equally representative of primary and secondary teachers, nor male and female teachers, sufficient responses were received to identify a number of significant differences between groups, as well as identify those specific skills that respondents in general considered to be the most important, and the most difficult to acquire.

The results showed that effective skills in classroom management and discipline were perceived to be multi-dimensional, and to fall into a number of broad areas. Generally, skills relating to developing a personal philosophy, using effective communication, and having positive interpersonal relations, were perceived to be relatively high in importance, and relatively low in difficulty for teachers to acquire. Skills involved in teaching the curriculum and individualising it, and in dealing with and resolving behavioural problems, were also perceived to be amongst the most important, and were perceived to be the most difficult for teachers to develop. Skills associated with professional development in the area of classroom management and discipline were also considered relatively difficult to acquire, but were not considered as important to develop as skills in other areas.