How teachers can improve their classroom interaction with students: New findings from teachers themselves

Abstract

Teachers are the most important agents in shaping education for students and to bring change and innovation in educational practices. There is a lack of knowledge about how teachers learn and transfer their knowledge into practice in the classrooms. Teacher educators have repeatedly argued that classroom management is a critical pedagogical skill that teachers must master in order to maximize classroom interaction. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of how lower secondary school teachers learn and improve classroom interaction in the context of an educational intervention. Three aspects of classroom interaction are addressed: emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. The sample contained 81 teachers from 14 Norwegian lower secondary schools reporting, through digital logs, on learning experiences with respect to classroom interaction. Moreover, they reported on the types of learning activities they undertook. Findings indicated that teachers’ improvement in classroom interaction was, to a large extent, dependent on their own, or their colleagues’ strong knowledge of classroom interaction. The results of the study add to our understanding of teachers’ knowledge and skills within classroom interaction and how teachers can improve their knowledge, e.g., through reflection on situations in the classroom. Still, the authors suggest a stronger emphasis on the integration of research based knowledge and teacher learning strategies to support teachers to reach their full teaching potential.

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Fig. 1

(adapted from Pianta et al. 2012b)

Fig. 2

Adapted from Vermunt (2014)

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Correspondence to Ksenia Solheim.

Appendix 1. Questions for the digital log

Appendix 1. Questions for the digital log

  1. 1.

    Describe an academic situation where you learned something. What did you learn?

  2. 2.

    How was this learning related to classroom management?

  3. 3.

    What thoughts/considerations did you have about this learning experience? For example, was it planned? How? What reflections or thoughts did you have before and after this learning experience? What did you feel (e.g., happy, frustrated, aggressive)?

  4. 4.

    Why did you learn from this situation? For example, did you plan a lesson, or did it happen spontaneously? Was there anything during or after the lesson that contributed to your learning? What learning activities did you undertake alone or with colleagues?

  5. 5.

    Did you learn anything from the situation that made you look at the classroom practice differently? What motivated you to learn more about classroom management?

  6. 6.

    How can students benefit from what you have learned?

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Solheim, K., Ertesvåg, S.K. & Dalhaug Berg, G. How teachers can improve their classroom interaction with students: New findings from teachers themselves. J Educ Change 19, 511–538 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-018-9333-4

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Keywords

  • Classroom interaction
  • Classroom management
  • Classroom organization
  • Emotional support
  • Instructional support
  • Learning activities
  • Learning outcomes
  • Learning process
  • Teacher learning