Employee attrition is disproportionately higher in the field of education, especially among novice teachers (Liu & Meyer, 2005). A recent survey of American teachers, conducted by MetLife (2005), found that 20% reported, "maintaining order and discipline in the classroom is the greatest challenge" (p. 5). The focus of this study was the problem of increased teacher attrition rates due to classroom management issues.
The participants in the study attended six classroom management workshops that were implemented for this study. The workshop content consisted of a compilation of strategies developed through textbooks, videos, DVDs, and journal articles by specialists in classroom management.
Data were collected via weekly surveys and pre- and post-surveys, developed by the principal investigator, from data collected in two pilot studies. Pre-student teachers completed the surveys during their three-week field experience. The constant comparative method for coding data was utilized to look for patterns in the participants' choices of classroom management strategies and the rationale for those choices.
The results revealed 81% of the participants had a strong knowledge of a well-managed classroom. However, 31% of the participants' responses exposed a lack of self-confidence in the area of classroom management. Along with this lack of self-confidence, the participants' responses also disclosed the lack of instruction in the area of classroom management. Only 17% reported taking an actual course in classroom management.
The majority of classroom management issues and concerns reported reflected the traditional or typical behavior problems occurring in most classrooms. However, the data analysis uncovered 16 separate incidents in which the participants used ineffective classroom management strategies.
The data revealed that most of the participants were able to use the classroom management workshop strategies learned during their three-week field experience. This application of learned strategies also led to a new found self-confidence at the end of the classroom management workshops and three-week field experience.
In conclusion, the data indicates that a paradigm shift is needed in teacher preparation and mentoring programs. In order to reduce teacher attrition, additional instruction may be required to increase the pre-service and novice teachers' self-confidence in handling discipline issues in the classroom.