10 SES 01 A, Well-being of Teachers
The aim of the paper is to describe classroom management strategies of student teachers on the level of lower secondary schools (ISCED 2A).
How do student teachers´classroom management strageties during their teaching practice differ according to their need for cognitive closure?
Classroom management (CM) can be viewed as a system of strategies employed by a teacher to influence the physical and social space of the classroom to foster an environment where learning can occur (Christofferson, Sullivan, & Bradley, 2015). Classroom management skills are crucial for teachers to create classroom settings where students can learn as effective CM leads to studenthigh achievement (Stronge, Ward, & Grant, 2011) and contributes to teacher remaining in the profession. The first years of teaching are reported to be the most challenging and numbers of beginning teachers leave their profession during the first three years (Taylor & Dale, 1971; Veenman, 1984, Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). One of the biggest challenges faced by both student teachers and beginning teachers is struggling with CM and discipline (Bromfield, 2006; Dickson et al., 2014). The main reason is found to be the disconnection between what student teachers know about teaching from their teacher education and what they experience in their classrooms (Stoughton et al., 2007).
One of the key personal characteristics influencing teacher´s choice and use of classroom management strategies can be their need for cognitive closure (NFC) which can be defined as individual´s motivation in relation to information processing and judgement, respective as a desire for an answer in order to end further information processing and judgment, even if that answer is not the correct or best answer (Webster & Kruglanski, 1994). NFC represents a relatively stable dispositional characteristics of a person but it can be temporarily increased by situational determinants (time pressure, stress) or decreased (fear from mistakes based on fast judgement).
Although the importance of effective CM is repeatedly emphasised, there is only little research on CM strategies of student teachers or beginning teachers. Contemporary research shows that teachers use reactive strategies more often than proactive ones at the beginning of their careers (Reupert & Woodcock, 2010), and that student teachers also apply strategies of giving punishment for misbehaviour and giving rewards to positive behaviour more often that experienced teachers (Sueb, 2013). Experienced teachers exert less control over classroom activities and student behaviour than beginning teachers (Ritter & Hancock, 2007). Research on need of cognitive closure in relation to classroom management strategies of student teachers is a new research perspective.
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