A study of teachers' opinions of effective methods of promoting positive behaviour and self-esteem in the early years classroom
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Behaviour in schools is a contentious issue in educational debate, with many people feeling that the standard of behaviour in schools has declined over recent years. Consistently poor behaviour may present a barrier to learning, and can have a negative effect on the morale of both staff and pupils. Numerous interventions to promote the positive behaviour and self-esteem of young children have been documented; however there appears to be no consensus as to what is the best possible approach to take. The study sought the opinions of 33 teachers from four different settings, in order to establish the nature and extent of the behavioural problems exhibited by children aged between 3-7 years, and to establish how much emphasis that practitioners placed upon the selfesteem of the children in their care. lt was also hoped to expose any key characteristics of those children who misbehave. Finally, the study sought to uncover good practice with regard to effective strategies to promote positive behaviour and self-esteem. Qualitative data from eight semi-structured interviews and quantitative data from twenty-five postal questionnaires were analysed. Overall, the findings have suggested that the practitioners did not have any real concerns with regard to the conduct of pupils, as a degree of poor behaviour could be anticipated due to their age and stage of development. Amongst those children who did pose a problem to the practitioners, it was evident that only one or two children from each class caused any serious problems, yet general low-level disruption from the whole class was cited as a key cause for concern, and was a significant cause of stress. The most effective strategies for promoting positive behaviour and self-esteem was praise which was considered to be an effective way of boosting the confidence of children, and reinforcing positive behaviour. The practitioners also utilised rewards and sanctions, but more importance was placed upon the reward aspect as the children were deemed too young to understand the consequences of some of the sanctions. The practitioners also emphasised the importance of classroom rules, as well as a consistent approach to behaviour management in general.
BA (hons) Educational Studies and Early Childhood Studies
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