Democratic Classroom Management in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study

By Sentürk, Ilknur; Oyman, Nidan | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, May 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Democratic Classroom Management in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study


Sentürk, Ilknur, Oyman, Nidan, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Democracy, from ancient Greek, is a term consisting of two words: Demos (public) and kratos (power) (Çiftyürek, 2007). There are many definitions of democracy written by authors from different literature (Chomsky, 2007; Dewey, 1996; Guyton & Rainer, 1999; Holden, 2007; Köker, 1992; Touraine, 2002). Democracy is defined as a form of government where the decisions and desires of the people themselves direct authority. In addition, the majority of minorities have the right to speak; people are allowed to use their rights and freedoms.

Also, it is described as a form of government based on sovereignty of the people (Dogan, 2005). Russell (2001) explains the purpose of education as giving ideas about the value of things apart from domination, and encouraging an integration of citizenship with freedom and individual creativity. In this context, schools' potential for creating democratic living spaces has become more important with each passing day. Democratic education creates public purpose and it is an educational administration's paradigm not to support the essential status quo (Mintrom, 2001). At this stage, democracy emerges as one of the driving forces for providing change in the approach of management for schools and classrooms, one of the most important habitats for students. The classroom is a very important place in gaining an understanding of democracy because all educational activities are performed there (Cruickshank, Jenkins, & Metcalf, 2003 as cited in Köse, 2009). In literature, there are some studies that reference the concept of democratic classroom management, the relationship of education and democracy, and the conditions needed for creating democratic schools (Anderson, 1998; Angell, 1991; Apple & Beane, 2007; Arabaci, 2005; Aydin, 2005; Aydogan & Kukul, 2003; Basar, 1999; Çankaya & Seçkin, 2004; Demirtas, 2004; Durmus & Demirtas, 2009; Duman & Koç, 2004; Edwards, 2010; Eikenberry, 2009; Glesson, 2011; Grandmont, 2002; Kayabasi, 2011; Kesici, 2008; Millei, 2011; Oguz, 2004; Pearl & Knight, 1999; Pryor, 2004; Riley, 2011; Sabanci, Sahin, & Fidan, 2007; Sahin, 2004; Yesil, 2003; Yilmaz, 2011). The common emphasis of these studies underlines the need for developing an understanding of democracy in the educational environment, discussing the conditions for creating democratic classroom management, and for training teachers to have an understanding of democracy. Therefore, to determine teacher candidates' awareness of the concept of democracy, how they describe this concept, their perceptions relating to the democratic classroom management process within a faculty of education, and their opinions about the qualifications of faculty members are important and this current research's topics.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to find out teacher candidates' thoughts regarding democratic classroom management. In this study, a response to this question was required, "What are the opinions of Eskisehir Osmangazi, and Hacettepe Universities' Faculty of Education students about democratic classroom management?" In line with this purpose, the research questions for this study were as follows:

1. How do teacher candidates define the concept of democracy?

2. Which concepts does democracy bring to mind for teacher candidates?

3. According to teacher candidates, what are the characteristics of a democratic educational environment?

4. According to teacher candidates, what are the behaviors of democratic teachers?

5. What are teacher candidates' thoughts and reasons regarding what is to be gained from the qualifications of democratic classroom management?

6. What are teacher candidates' thoughts as related to the qualification of faculty members' democratic classroom management skills?

Method

This study was carried out on 194 students who were studying in Eskisehir Osmangazi and Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education in the 2010-2011 academic year spring semester. …

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