Academic journal article The English Teacher

Classroom Management: Difficulties Facing Fast-Track Teacher-Trainees in the Tutoring Program

Academic journal article The English Teacher

Classroom Management: Difficulties Facing Fast-Track Teacher-Trainees in the Tutoring Program

Article excerpt

Introduction

In education, classroom management skills have been an important area for a long time. These skills, according to Oliver (2007), have been displayed by effective teachers while the hallmark of the inexperienced or less effective ones is a disorderly classroom. In other words, the fact is that a crucial challenge often reported by beginning teachers entering the profession relates to classroom management (Ralph, 1994). To this cause, classroom management skills of teachers especially those of novice ones merit careful attention from educators and/or administrators, who work with these beginners, to bridge the proverbial "theory-practice gap" between pre-service preparation for effective classroom management and its actual implementation in the real context (Ralph, 1994, p.182). That is why a number of activities including Practicum or Tutoring are included in most curricula of teacher education departments and institutions to help sharpen the teaching skills of student-teachers in general and their classroom management skills in particular.

Normally, tutoring is often referred to as a program in which students are tutored by peers or paraprofessionals in order to better the academic performance and attitude of the learners. In Vietnamese context, besides the Practicum (at the end of year four), there has recently been a Tutoring Program (during the first semester of year four) involved in the curriculum of the University of Languages and International Studies for senior teacher-trainees. However, it focuses on developing these future teachers' teaching competence. In other words, it is organized in an effort to help prospective teachers translate theory into practice through real-life teaching where tutees are enrolled in a course organized by tutors (teacher-trainees) under the supervision of master teachers (supervisors). In the aspect of practice, the program faced a number of problems, one of which was the difficulties of teacher-trainees in classroom teaching, especially in classroom management. Although there is a large body of research to investigate such challenges in the practicum (Macías & Sánches, 2015), there has been no study on the difficulties of the Tutoring Program.

Though the nature of the two projects (i.e. the practicum and the tutoring program) is seemingly the same, the contexts in which the teaching takes place are different. Thus the challenges that emerge might be different. All of the aforementioned factors have encouraged the researchers to conduct this study.

Aims and objectives of the study

The impetus for this research is to (1) point out the difficulties in terms of classroom management skills that fourth-year student-teachers in fast-track Division at the University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University (ULIS-VNU) encountered while carrying out the Tutoring Program 2012; and (2) identify the causes of these difficulties. It is hoped that the completed research will answer the following research question: What are the difficulties in classroom management faced by fourth-year fast-track student-teachers at ULIS-VNU while carrying out the Tutoring Program?

Definition of classroom management

There is a variety of definitions for classroom management. As presented by Duke (1979), classroom management refers to the provisions and procedures necessary to establish and maintain an environment in which instruction and learning can occur. The concept, according to David (1996), involves a positive classroom environment, appropriate standards of behaviors for students, effective management of daily routines and instructions, and engaging the students in classroom activities throughout the lessons to ensure quality of education. Later on, the term has been expanded to involve not only the complexity of the setting where the strategies and procedures are enacted but also the scope of the teacher's goals in carrying out management behaviors (Emme & Stough, 2001). …

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