Statement of the Problem
Disruptive behavior is defined as any behaviors that hinder teachers from teaching and students from learning. There are many factors that can influence these behaviors in prekindergartners, such as, not having the social skills that are needed to interact with others (Lawson, 2003), being exposed to a structured environment for the first time, unsupervised time at home where the television is the babysitter and children are exposed to violence and aggressive behavior which can influence some to think that this behavior is the norm (Collins, 2013).
When students act out, teachers focus their attention on ceasing the behavior rather than teaching (Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010), which interrupts the daily routine of classroom activities and hinders students’ learning (Gable et al., 2009). One method for dealing with disruptive students is to remove them from the classroom or out of school suspension.
Children that are suspended from prekindergarten are more likely to display disruptive behavior in kindergarten, which could lead to them not being able to be successful in their academic journey unless there are some type of intervention implemented to deter unacceptable behavior. Two ways of intervening disruptive behavior are proactive and effective classroom management and the use of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program which is a positive approach to creating the behavioral supports and social culture that is needed for all students in a school to accomplish social, emotional and academic success.
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Classroom management is becoming a major issue in and has been since classrooms were first established. has been an issue since the first classrooms were established. Teachers are the primary enforcer of classroom management in their classrooms. Although there is a certain protocol to follow concerning discipline because of the young age of the children in prekindergarten, however, there are prekindergarten classes in many public schools where prekindergarten children are faced with the same disciplinary consequences by administrators as stated in the schools Code of Conduct.
An inadequate skill of strong and effective classroom management skills will eventually lead to teaching in a stressful environment, low teacher morale, and teachers deciding to leave the teaching profession (Walker, 2009; Wong & Wong, 2005). Furthermore, when present strategies in classroom management do not aid in removing the classroom discipline problems there needs to be an alternative strategy to be implemented to eradicate the issue of classroom disruptions. Although teachers possess the primary responsibility to enforce their classroom management strategies (Freiberg & Lamb, 2009), there may still be a need of extra support from the school’s administrators.
Researchers have conducted several studies on individual types of classroom management skills and their impact on student achievement (Rosas & West, 2009; Wong & Wong, 2005). Some stated that with the use of effective classroom management, a change in the classroom environment will occur and produce a positive learning environment. Teacher (Beaty-O’Ferrall, Green, & Hanna, 2010; Flutter, 2006).
Teachers and administrators are continuing to try to form an atmosphere that is conducive to the leaning of all students to improve learning and to increase positive behavior (Rosas & West, 2009), especially in prekindergarten which is the foundation of student learning and sets the pattern for students throughout their academic endeavor. This study will focus on exploring and understanding the classroom management strategies of teachers with low discipline referrals compared to teachers with a number of high referral in prekindergarten classroom.
However, in the prekindergarten classrooms, there have been an increase in classroom disruptions referrals that resulted in out of school suspension. Marzano’s research study indicated that an orderly school atmosphere is essential for students to learn and that discipline is a problematic issue in most schools (Marzano, 2003). The problem is that prekindergarten children are being suspended from school for disruptive behavior at an increased rate than students in kindergarten through high school.Â Per Gilliam (2005), 6.67 percent of 1,000 preschoolers were given out of school suspension, as compared with 2.09 percent of 1,000 elementary, middle, and high school students, (Gilliam, 2005).
The purpose of this qualitative, case study will be to explore how classroom management practices that exists in the prekindergarten public school setting effect classroom disruptions, and how the use of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) program deters classroom disruptions. Even though classroom disruptions occur for several causes, teachers continue to struggle with decreasing unwanted behavior in the classroom (Moorefield, 2005). To explore the effects of classroom management strategies on the classroom disruptions, the researcher will select 20 prekindergarten teachers in a public-school district in the state of Georgia to participate in the study. The 20 teachers will consist of first year, three to five years, and more than five years of teaching in the prekindergarten classroom. The researcher will also attempt to understand the teacher’s perception of PBIS, and its effect on decreasing classroom disruptions. The researcher will observe the teachers during a regular school day, and interview the teachers after each classroom observation. The researcher will also request access of discipline referrals written by the teachers to group the teachers by the number of referrals, and use data collected from the questionnaire answers.
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To study the teachers, the researcher will review the School-Wide Information System (SWIS) to gather the referral information. The researcher will explore the strategies of classroom management that are used to manage the classroom disruptions. The researcher will choose a qualitative case study method because it will allow a detailed investigation of the phenomenon (Yin, 2014). A case study method also will allow the researcher to collect other data that could be examined, including observations of classrooms, teacher interviews, PBIS discipline referral data, and questionnaire answers. One essential characteristic of a case study is a collection of variety of data collection (Yin, 2014), therefore a variety of data collection will be used by the researcher.
Prior research identified the need to understand classroom management practices better (Sutton, Mudrey-Camino, & Knight, 2009). Specifically, the researcher needed to understand further the specific effective practices for managing classroom disruptions (Magableh & Hawamdeh, 2007). Therefore, the focus of this research was to understand the differences in the practices of teachers who had a relatively low numbers of classroom disruptions versus teachers who had a relatively high numbers of classroom disruptions. The researcher developed questions to compare and understand the specific practices used to manage disruptions as well as understand the effects of the culture in the classroom on those specific practices.
Research questions that will guide data collection:
RQ1: What specific classroom management strategies did prekindergarten teachers who had a reported high number of discipline referrals use?
RQ2: What are the prekindergarten teacher’s perception of the effects of PBIS on decreasing classroom disruptions in the prekindergarten classroom?
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