Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Teaching and Learning
Leslie L. Schrier
Each day, foreign language teachers are faced with issues that render the control of the K-12 classroom challenging, at best, and virtually impossible at worst. Even preservice foreign language teachers, those going through a teacher education program towards K-12 licensure, understand that no content can be taught or learned if there is mayhem in the classroom environment. Effective classroom management practices are often what consume these teachers' time and energy, even before the first page of the textbook is turned. However, it would be an error to over-generalize foreign language teachers' challenges with classroom management in an effort to introduce possible solutions without first considering the uniqueness of this particular teaching and learning environment.
It was the researcher's contention that the foreign language classroom is unlike any other, and thus thrusts its teachers, both preservice and in-service, into management situations that are rare or non-existent in the classrooms of other subject areas. The purpose of this longitudinal study, therefore, was to describe five foreign language teachers' experiences with classroom management and to identify the distinct issues they have faced, both during their student teaching semester and currently as in-service teachers. The data gathered from the five subjects' weekly reflective journals and teaching philosophies, their observations of other classrooms, responses to a questionnaire, interviews, and observational field notes were analyzed qualitatively using a case study approach. The study confirmed that these foreign language teachers often contended with issues that were exclusive to their teaching field. Target language usage, the systemic lack of respect for the study of foreign language, and the inclusion of students who were heritage speakers of the language being taught were among the issues most commonly cited by these five teachers, and were shown to have a significant impact on student behavior, motivation, and attitude. Many teacher education programs already offer courses that explicitly present appropriate classroom management strategies. However, data from this study suggest that a further breakdown of how foreign language classroom management may differ from other subject areas may ultimately enable foreign language teacher educators to better prepare and better support both their preservice and in-service teachers.
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Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Julie Evans