Student Teachers’ Management Practices in Elementary Classrooms: A Qualitative Study

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This qualitative study of four student teachers completing certification in elementary and special education investigated the classroom management practices of the student teachers. This is an important area of study because management practices are essential for an effective classroom, and student teachers often lack confidence and skill in the area of management. Data was collected through a survey, observations, audio transcripts of seminar meetings, and written reflections. Findings revealed that three of four student teachers struggled with implementing positive classroom management strategies and had difficulty establishing a strong teacher identity. As a result, those three did not challenge school-based educator (SBE) management practices even when they disagreed with their SBE. One student teacher had a strong teacher identity and navigated trying new strategies. Findings establish that the praxis of student teaching, including managing relationships with SBEs, may inhibit many student teachers’ decision-making. Factors that affected teacher identity development included classroom climate and the relationships between student teachers and SBEs. Implications from this study: creating communities of practice in student teaching to support teacher identity development; recognizing that student teachers may not have fully developed teacher identities and therefore may not be ready to question SBE practices and decisions.



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