The Development and Implementation of a Scale to Assess the Causes of Conflict in the Classroom for University Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study was undertaken to develop a "scale for causes of conflict in the classroom" that will assess and identify the causes of classroom conflicts in university students. Construct validity of the scale was tested by exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and it was determined that the scale consisted of 8 factors. In the Scale for Causes of Conflict in the Classroom, the first factor consisted of 9 items, the second factor consisted of 8 items, third factor consisted of 7 items, fourth, fifth and sixth factors consisted of 4 items each, and seventh and eight factors consisted of 3 items each. After examining the item structures that the identified factors consisted, the following factors were selected: appreciation of the student by the teacher, teaching-learning environment skills of the teacher, student behavior, communicative skills of the teacher, personal characteristics of the student, fair treatment by the teacher, biased behavior by the teacher and teachers' obeying the classroom rules. Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient values for each factor and the whole scale were found to be ,91; ,90; ,84; ,87; ,82; ,85; ,77; ,63 and ,95, respectively. After the scale was developed, 350 students from the department of education were administered the scale and the causes of conflict were determined according to student views by taking means and standard deviations into consideration. In order to identify the effect of individual variables, t-test, one-way analysis of variance and Scheffe tests were used. Analysis showed that the variables of gender and department attended by students resulted in significant differences in student perceptions whereas the variable of classroom did not affect the perceptions of students.

Key Words

Conflict, Causes of Conflict, University, Development of Scales.

Conflict, which is a concept that is experienced in the interaction of an individual with the society, can affect the relationships of the individual in a positive or negative manner. Although the concept is perceived as negative at first, it is also accepted and seen as an organizational or personal development tool (Gray & Stark, 1984). The concept is one of the basic topics of various sciences such as education, management, psychology, and economy. There are many different definitions of the concept in the literature. According to many of these definitions, conflict is a disagreement and disaccord between two or more persons or groups due to several reasons and it surfaces when the needs, impulses, and wishes of individuals do not correspond with the others (Asunakutlu, & Safran, 2004; Can, 2005; Erdogan, 1996; Tastan, 2005). Conflict in man-made organizations is a natural result of both managerial and social life. The fact that there are differences in organizations and that these differences are not regarded with understanding, tolerance, and respect create conflict (Peker, & Aytürk, 2002) and these types of situations cause regular activities in the organization to stop or get out of hand (Eren, 2001). There have been various studies in the field of management that aim to identify the causes of conflict. According to the results of these studies, the reasons of conflict have been identified as relationships at work, limited resources, vagueness in issues such as authority and responsibility, dependence on others, discrimination, reaching common decisions, new specializations, communication system, the size of organization, the type of management, individual aims and status, differences in values, rewarding systems, change, and ambiguity (Aydin, 1984; Gümüseli, 1994; Seval, 2006; simsek, 1999; Hunczynski & Bunchanan, 1990 cited in Yildirim, 2003).

Educational organizations are among social organizations in which the most intense human relationships are experienced. The individual characteristics of educational personnel and students, differences in values, beliefs and attitudes, crowded classrooms, the inadequacy of the education and training process, misjudgments related to the communicative process, insufficient resources and aids, sharing limited resources etc. …