Elementary and Secondary School Students' Perceptions of Teachers' Classroom Management Competencies

By Kalin, Jana; Peklaj, Cirila et al. | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, October 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Elementary and Secondary School Students' Perceptions of Teachers' Classroom Management Competencies


Kalin, Jana, Peklaj, Cirila, Pečjak, Sonja, Levpušček, Melita Puklek, Zuljan, Milena Valenčič, CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

Teachers' competencies and their role in modern society

Effective education must stimulate cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social processes in students, as well as declarative and procedural knowledge in the broadest sense. The teacher's working methods, teaching techniques, provision of optimal learning conditions depending on individual student's skills, classroom management styles, attitude towards students, communication, standpoints, values, and co-operation with parents all have a significant impact on student achievement and development of their education. Due to the complexity of all these educational goals (cognitive, motivational, and social) to be achieved by teachers, teaching is becoming one of the most complex professions in modern society. Teachers need knowledge of the relevant areas or professions they teach and adequate pedagogical and psychological knowledge for the quality performance of their work. These skills are tightly interconnected. However, high quality knowledge of subject area alone is not sufficient for successful leadership and support to pupils: knowing how to take into account their individual differences is vital; furthermore, it is not enough to have knowledge from the field of education and psychology without adequate subject knowledge.

Teachers need skills that enable them to help students achieve full potential, which are primarily those enabling them to (European Commission, 2007, p. 12):

* define the needs of each individual student and respond to them by using a wide range of teaching strategies;

* support the development of young people into becoming independent life-long learners;

* help young people obtain competencies listed in the European Reference Framework of Key Competences (Recommendation of the Council and the Parliament 2006/962/EC);

* work in multicultural environments and understand the value of diversity and respect it;

* cooperate closely with colleagues, parents and the broader community.

In the knowledge society, teacher's role should be comprehended generally and not just as teaching the subject. Hagreaves (2003, p. 59) emphasizes that teacher's role is to:

[...] promote social and emotional learning, commitment and character; learn to relate differently to others, replacing strings of interactions with enduring bonds and relationships; develop cosmopolitan identity; commit to continuous professional and personal development; work and learn in collaborative groups; forge relationships with parents and communities; build emotional understanding; reserve continuity and security, and establish basic trust in people.

Teaching is not only a cognitive and intellectual practice but also a social and emotional one. "Good teachers fully understand that successful teaching and learning only occur when teachers have caring relationships with their students and when their students are emotionally engaged with their learning" (Hargreaves, 2003, p. 60). According to Hargreaves (2003, p. 66) teaching should cultivate "character, community, security, inclusiveness, integrity, cosmopolitan identity, continuity and collective memory, sympathy, democracy, personal and professional maturity", which requires relevant professional qualifications, personal attitude, and commitment, as well as experience of teaching as a mission. Such goals can be achieved by quality student-teacher relationships, which provide a unique entry point for educators and others working to improve the social and learning environments of schools and classrooms.

The Jennings and Greenberg (2009) Prosocial Classroom Model emphasises teachers' socio-emotional competences (SEC), which enable teachers to set the tone of the classroom by developing supportive and encouraging relationships with their students, designing lessons that build on students strengths and abilities, establishing and implementing behavioural guidelines in ways that promote intrinsic motivation, coaching students through conflict situations, encouraging cooperation among students, and acting as a role model for respectful and appropriate communication and exhibitions of prosocial behaviour. …

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