An exploration of preservice teacher development
: Beliefs about behaviour management "I was scared...but I'm not scared now."

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


    This thesis explores preservice teacher development in relation to beliefs about behaviour management. Three main factors were investigated; the ways in which preservice teachers appraise behaviours, the attributions they make and their perceptions of how they develop their skills and confidence. The thesis draws on psychological theories of attribution, appraisals and expertise as well as research literature which positions these theories within the teaching profession, and Scottish Government commissioned reports to establish the context nationally.

    Preservice teachers, undertaking a four year undergraduate programme in a university in Scotland, were invited to take part in the study. The research explored the three main factors as stated above.

    A mixed methods approach was employed. Preservice teachers took part in a longitudinal study over four years of their undergraduate study (55 in year 1, 50 in year 2, 42 in year 3, 47 in year 4). A questionnaire was administered where participants rated, and commented on their beliefs about children’s misbehaviour. In the final year a small sample from the cohort were interviewed using a semi-structured interview to gain further insights into their beliefs and perceptions of children’s misbehaviours, in the context of their own development.

    The findings suggest that preservice teachers change their appraisals of disruptive type behaviours, perceiving these to be less challenging to deal with as they progress, but not their appraisals of confrontational or distracted type behaviours. Although attributions did not change notably, there was evidence to suggest that the preservice teachers were more reflective and critical as they progressed, and they seemed to become more aware of the influence of the teacher and issues for individual children. There was evidence that positive and negative emotions impact perceptions, and emotions become less influential as preservice teachers progress. Findings suggest that preservice teachers value practical experience over university inputs because they learn from their own and others’ practical experience, and as they develop experience they become more autonomous in their learning.

    Conclusions and implications of the study are considered and suggestions for future research in relation to developing preservice teachers’ awareness of their emotions, the influence of their emotions and critical analysis of classroom incidents, are intimated. Furthermore, opportunities to utilise practical experience more fully within university programmes are suggested in relation to deliberate practice.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Miller (Supervisor) & Linda Corlett (Supervisor)

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