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Are Teachers Ready? Preservice Teacher Knowledge of Classroom Management and ADHD

Abstract

It is well documented that teachers feel unprepared to handle classroom management challenges in their classrooms. This lack of preparedness in classroom management, specifically for students with mental health concerns, is one of the leading reasons for teacher attrition. Yet, little is known about what teachers know about classroom management strategies and children’s mental health difficulties upon entering the classroom. The present study seeks to understand preservice teachers’ knowledge of classroom management strategies and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States. Participants were preservice teachers (n = 107; 95.3% female; 75.4% Hispanic) about to enter their student teaching internship. Teachers’ accurate knowledge of classroom management strategies, accurate knowledge of ADHD, misperceptions of ADHD, and lack of knowledge of ADHD were investigated and related to teacher characteristics (i.e., hours of professional development) and sense of efficacy. Teacher knowledge of classroom management stategies, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sense of efficacy were evaluated using self-report measures. Overall, preservice teachers achieved 60.7% accuracy on the measure of classroom management strategies and 49% accuracy on the knowledge of ADHD measure. There were no associations between teachers’ knowledge of ADHD or classroom management strategies and teacher efficacy or characteristics. The results of this study reveal large gaps in preservice teachers’ knowledge of ADHD and classroom management strategies. Implications for teacher training programs are discussed.

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Funding

Funding for this work was provided by an intramural award to Drs. Hart and Cramer by Florida International University’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education.

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Correspondence to Bridget Poznanski.

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Poznanski, B., Hart, K.C. & Cramer, E. Are Teachers Ready? Preservice Teacher Knowledge of Classroom Management and ADHD. School Mental Health 10, 301–313 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-018-9259-2

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Keywords

  • Preservice teachers
  • ADHD
  • Classroom management
  • Teacher training