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Simulating the complexity of the classroom : helping student teachers creating an effective and positive learning environment in the classroom

Ruitenberg, Laura (2014) Simulating the complexity of the classroom : helping student teachers creating an effective and positive learning environment in the classroom.

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Abstract:In teacher training seems to be a gap between teacher training and practice (Scheeler, 2008). According to Scheeler (2008) this way teachers, who just start work have a limited repertoire of teaching strategies. They have difficulties transferring the obtained teaching techniques into the real classroom and they find it hard to maintain the learned teaching skills and teaching techniques over time (Freiberg, 2002; Scheeler, 2008). Beginning teachers feel not adequately prepared when they start teaching in the real classroom (M.A. van Oudheusden, personal communication, February 26, 2014). Therefore Windesheim University wonders if a simulation can contribute to reduce the gap between teacher training and practice. The selected context for this study is the teacher training institute of Windesheim University in Zwolle. This study is a part of a small scale project at the teacher training institute of Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The goal of this study is to identify the content and pedagogical characteristics of a simulation that contribute to the acquisition of the necessary competences need to create a positive and effective learning environment in the classroom. The method used for this study is the analysis phase of Educational Design Research. The analysis phase consists of three activities, (1) initial orientation, (2) literature review, and (3) field-based investigation (McKenney & Reeves, 2012). In the initial orientation the problem statement is described. After that, the conceptual framework is described, in which the concepts are explained. The last activity, field-based investigation, consists of a document analysis, focus groups, questionnaire and observations. The results show that student teachers have several problems with the six research-based elements of Marzano, Marzano and Pickering (2003), (1) rules, expectations and procedures, (2) disciplinary interventions, (3) teacher-student relationship, (4) mental set, (5) student’s responsibility for management, and (6) getting off to a good start. The results showed that student teachers experience less or no difficulties with building up positive teacher-student relationship, with the other five research-based elements they experience more problems. Student teachers and university teachers indicated a few similarities in problems looking at the other research-based elements, such as problems with the consequences of the rules, problems with the pace and alignment, problems with giving positive and negative feedback, problems with giving space to pupils and problems with relying on the power of the pupils. When looking at the needs, the most student teachers and university teachers found that, the teacher education pays sufficient attention to all these points, a few needs are appointed. The PBS approach can be used as a possible framework to overcome these problems. All the PBS-principles could be related to all seven competences of the teacher training institute. To practice solving these problems, a simulation could be developed. The conclusion shows that a simulation could be developed for student teachers to be used during teaching training, taking several content characteristics into account, to respond to the advantages, disadvantages and to connect to the problems and needs of the student teachers and the university teachers. A simulation should be, (1) personalized, (2) motivating, (3) resembling reality, (4) approaching the complexity of the reality of the classroom, (5) cooperation, (6) reflection, (7) levels and, (8) based on a blended learning model. The PBS framework can be used as guiding principles for learning the research-based elements in the simulation, i.c. the pedagogical characteristics.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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