04 SES 02 A, Teacher Behaviour
Nowadays, a specific challenge for teachers who apply for inclusive education is the growing number of students with behavioural problems1. Teachers in regular and special education report more problems in the classroom and experience feelings of professional inadequacy2. The latter is said to occur when a teacher lacks pedagogic and/or didactic skills to act adequately in challenging classroom situations3. Teachers of these students are particularly at risk of experiencing occupational stress and are likely to end their career in education early4.
Yet there are also teachers able to bring out the best in students with such special educational needs. A growing amount of evidence5 points at personality as an underlying core factor influencing teacher performance (i.e. skills, knowledge, attitude) and a renowned volume of literature6 is available on personality in relation to job performance, but in the field of education. Hence, a research project was performed in order to explore the personality traits of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems.
By means of a review study7, the empirical evidence on the personality traits of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems was first gathered and classified according to the personality dimensions of the Five-Factor Model of Personality8. The data suggested that the personalities of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems comprise high levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. However, the conclusions needed to be strengthened and the findings served as a basis for follow-up research.
Investigation of the personalities of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems required to distinguish expert teachers from non-experts. Hence, in order to find a method for selecting expert teachers of students with behavioural problems, three selection methods were applied in a second study: a nomination procedure, a self-efficacy questionnaire and the Competence-Autonomy-Relatedness Scale (CARS)9, which was developed for the benefit of the study.
The results of the study9 showed significant positive inter correlations between the three instruments as well as an imperfect overlap. The findings indicate that the instruments measure different though closely related aspects of teacher quality in teaching students with behavioural problems. Consequently, all three selection methods will be applied in the next study, in which the personality traits of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems will be explored.
In the third study (data collection spring 2013), the hypothesis will be tested that the personalities of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems comprise high levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Furthermore, the dimensions Extraversion, Neuroticism and Openness will be explored and the personalities of these teachers will be compared to teachers who experience feelings of professional inadequacy in teaching students with behavioural problems.
The results of this study will be presented at the ECER in Istanbul in September 2013. If the personalities of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems were to demonstrate significant similarities and also differed markedly from those of non-expert teachers, this would have major implications for not only our views on teacher quality, but also for teacher recruitment and building teacher quality during teacher training.
1 Meijer, C. (2003). Special Education across Europe in 2003. Trends in provision in 18 European countries. Middelfart: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. 2 Drost, M. & Bijstra, J.O. 2008. Students in the picture. A study on characteristics of students assigned to EBD schools. Groningen: RENN4. 3 Edelenbos, P., Meijer, W. & Harms, T. (2002). The pedagogic-didactic consequences of diagnosis. Groningen: GION. 4 Adera, B.A. & Bullock, L.M. (2010). Job stressors and teacher job satisfaction in programs serving students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties 15, no.1: 5–14. 5 Timmering, L., Snoek, M. & Dietze, A. (2009). Identifying teacher quality: Structuring elements of teacher quality. Paper presented at the ATEE conference, August 29–September 2, Mallorca, Spain. 6 Hurtz, G.M. & Donovan, J.J. (2000). Personality and job performance: The Big Five revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, no. 6: 869–879. 7 Harten, S.A., Pijl, S.J., Bijstra, J.O. & van den Bosch, E.J. (submitted). Personality traits of expert teachers of students with behavioural problems: a review and classification of the literature. 8 Costa, P.T. & McCrae, R.R. (2008). The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R). In Personality Measurement and Testing, ed. G.J. Boyle, G. Matthews, and D.H. Saklofske. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. 9 Harten, S.A., Pijl S.J., Bijstra, J.O. & van den Bosch E.J. (submitted). Triangulating measures for selecting expert teachers of students with behavioural problems.
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