A Study of the Classroom Management Schemata and Behaviour of Year 1 and Year 3 Student Teachers during the Practicum

Year: 1989

Author: Butcher, Jude

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

It would seem reasonable to assume that the ways teachers think influence their behaviour. However until recently the relationship between teacher thought and teacher action has received little formal attention in research on teacher thinking. When teachers respond to situations they meet their behaviour is informed by the way they think about the situations. Basic to the ways teachers think about different situations are the teachers' schemata. The study of schemata has been seen as a "worthwhile direction" for future research into teacher thinking and action (Mitchell & Marland, 1989). Early studies of teacher thinking were concerned with the content and nature of teacher thinking (Munby, 1986). These studies were based on an assumption that the differences in teachers' beliefs would be reflected in the teachers' teaching behaviours. Little, if any, formal attention was given to researching the nature of the relationships between the teachers' thinking and action. More recently research begun to address questions related to the relationship between teacher thought and teacher behaviour (Livingston & Borko, 1989). In studies relating teacher thinking to action the focus has been upon the content (Mitchell & Marland, 1989), structure (Livingston & Borko, 1989) and/or meaning (Munby, 1986; Holt & Johnston, 1989) of teacher thought. In this research the contexts within which the thinking and action occur and the nature of other schemata which may have influenced the relationship between teacher thinking and action have not been formally studied as moderating variables within the research. The classroom management domain has received little formal attention in the study of the relationship between teacher thought and action. Ulerick and Tobin (1989) analysed a teacher's management beliefs and behaviours. They found that she was limited in the benefit she could derive from teaching experience and pedagogical knowledge because of the nature of her management beliefs. While the influence of the teacher's beliefs is apparent in Ulerick and Tobin's research, further research is necessary into the relationship between teacher management schemata and management behaviour. Also, the variables which influence the relationships between teacher schemata and behaviour need to be identified. The purpose of the research reported here is to study the teacher management schemata and behaviour of two pre-service students. Firstly, the nature of their management schemata is studied through the use of multiple data sources so that a more comprehensive understanding of their schemata is possible (Morine- Dershimer, 1988). Secondly, the relationships between their management schemata and management behaviours are explored and variables which may impact upon these relationships are identified.