Professional Learning The study addresses behavior management and how it can affect both teachers’ self-efficacy and their perceived efficacy by students. The study aims to understand how pre-service teachers and their students view aspects of the social learning environment when considering behavior management efficacy. The article also explores the variations in students’ perception of teacher […]23 Nov 2023
Understanding Interactions Between Teacher Efficacy in Behavior Management and the Social Learning Environment
August 22, 2023
The study addresses behavior management and how it can affect both teachers’ self-efficacy and their perceived efficacy by students. The study aims to understand how pre-service teachers and their students view aspects of the social learning environment when considering behavior management efficacy. The article also explores the variations in students’ perception of teacher efficacy in behavior management across different classes and how it interacts with the social learning environment.
Analysis of the Class Environment
The researchers define the social learning environment as, “the subjective and multidimensional perception of the environment and of the functioning of personal and academic relationships between students and the teacher of a class by these same individuals.” This environment can be grouped into three areas: positive interpersonal relationships, maintaining or changing the system, and goal orientation and personal development. The study focuses on the elements of class cohesion and teacher proximity perceived by students and preservice teachers to understand perceptions of relationships between students and their teacher. Behavior management plays a role in all three domains, and good relationships between students have been found to be predictors of good behavior in the classroom.
Secondly, it is important to understand self-efficacy and its relationship to how effectively a teacher manages classroom behavior. Self-efficacy is a current feeling about one’s own ability to perform a task in a given situation. There are four known sources of self-efficacy, including mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and positive physiological and emotional states. To be efficient in behavior management, teachers must be flexible and able to adjust the various components of behavior management to the reality of their classrooms and the students with whom they interact.
The literature on classroom management highlights the importance of teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in relation to behavior management. Recent studies have shown that addressing behavior management during teacher training through self-efficacy could be an effective way to support pre-service teachers in this field.
Teacher and Student Perceptions of the Social Environment of the Class
Data was collected in a teacher training institution as well as in secondary schools in Switzerland. Data measuring teacher efficacy and the learning environment in the classroom perceived by the teachers and their students was collected. The sample size for the study consisted of six hundred eighty-six middle school students from 35 classes.
The first research question was, are student and teacher perceptions similar when examining the relationship between social learning environment and behavior management efficacy? The results addressing this question show high teacher self-efficacy meaning that most pre-service teachers felt efficient in behavior management. The study addressed a second research question, to what extent is the behavior management efficacy classroom-specific and dependent on the social learning environment as perceived by students? The results show that teacher-student relationships are crucial for positive and efficient behavior management and for setting clear expectations for students.
Clear Expectations Have Been Created for Classroom Strategies
The study’s findings can help develop specific strategies for managing behavior in the classroom, focusing on aspects such as teacher proximity, rules, and organization. Positive relationships between teachers and students are essential but can be difficult to teach since they are soft skills such as communication, leadership, and social-emotional skills. Rules and organization are essential for setting clear expectations, which is an important part of classroom management and can be linked to the direct instruction style of teaching, which is effective in teaching specific concepts or skills, such as expected behavior in the classroom. Clear expectations from teachers are also needed for proactive management.
“Teachers who perceive themselves as innovators have a high sense of self-efficacy in proactive behavior management.”
“Learning difficulties often go hand in hand with behavioral difficulties, highlighting the importance of taking these aspects into account when interested in behavior management.”
“The importance of establishing meaningful relationships between students and teachers has been highlighted in several recent studies, as it benefits both parties’ emotional well-being and helps to lessen the stress that often accompanies negative behavior management.”
I am always looking for a better understanding and more importantly strategies on how to support secondary students and teachers to develop a positive environment. Classroom management is a vital part of this environment. This study highlights the complexity of behavior management, social environment, self-efficacy, and perception, and the intersection of these topics. I routinely coach teachers to build a relationship of caring with the learners in the room. When teachers have one-to-one conversations with students this allows them to feel they have a voice but more importantly when teachers respond positively and with support behaviors may reduce. The study confirmed what I have observed that building positive relationships with students and an environment in which students have clear expectations has many benefits, such as academic growth and positive relationships between community members. I was heartened to see that this study suggests teacher training programs should focus on helping teachers build relationships with students. Lastly, while the topics are complex the study suggested concrete strategies teachers can implement clear rules, organization, and proximity.—Dana R. Wells
Mari-Anne Sørlie & Torbjørn Torsheim (2011) Multilevel analysis of the relationship between teacher collective efficacy and problem behaviour in school, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 22:2, 175-191, DOI: 10.1080/09243453.2011.563074