Teachers’ perspectives on the consequences of managing classroom climate.
journal contributionposted on 20.11.2018, 00:00 by Elizabeth A. Shewark, Katherine M. Zinsser, Susanne A. Denham
Background: Well-managed, emotionally positive preschool classrooms promote academic and social success (Mashburn et al., 2008). Therefore, learning standards and practitioner guidelines emphasize the maintenance of a positive, well-managed classroom climate (Schonert-Richle et al., 2016). Objective: The present study qualitatively explores how this emphasis on classroom climate shapes teachers’ perceptions of their own and children’s emotions in the classroom. Three themes emerged around creating a positive, well-managed classroom climate. Specifically, that teachers tended to perceive their own and their students’ emotions as hindrances. Also, that teachers desired additional training to prepare themselves to create and maintain a positive, well-managed classroom climate. Methods: Participants were 31 lead preschool teachers working at 10 private and publicly funded preschool centers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Results: Three major themes emerged from the coded focus group transcripts. First, teachers viewed children’s emotions as requiring management and detracting from class climate. Second, teachers viewed their own emotions as prominent determinants of classroom climate. Third, teachers wanted more support in creating and maintaining positive, classroom climates. Conclusions: The data described here suggest that the early-childhood education field must better support teachers with clear guidance about managing classroom climate and their own emotional well-being.