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A Qualitative Study on Classroom Management of Undergraduate Students: A Case of Information Technologies Class
The purpose of the current study was to explore the classroom management problems faced by teachers of ICT. The study revealed the underlying problems and highlighted the reasons behind the issues. Moreover, the study suggested a possible solution for effective classroom management. A questionnaire comprising 10 open-ended questions was prepared to collect data from 3 teachers who were teaching at universities to undergraduate students. Interviews were conducted with the participants to know their responses. The responses were analyzed using thematic analysis/content analysis. The study concluded that students' disruptive behavior is a common classroom issue that teachers face in their instruction process. Teachers can deal with classroom management issues by developing a positive relationship, student-centred approaches and supportive attitude for learning. The study recommends that the administration must ensure the availability of all the essential ICT resources to assist teachers in effective classroom management.
Qualitative Study; Classroom Management; Undergraduate Students and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
We are living in an age of dissolute technological developments, and our lives are ruled by science. In all spheres of our personal and social life, we can see the influences of scientific technologies, and now it is difficult to imagine life without science. The most remarkable use of science is seen in making communication effective, and for this purpose, we can see how information is communicated worldwide using scientific tools. The drastically changing scenario has made it necessary for all to have knowledge and understanding of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Froyen & Iverson (2009) tried to describe the essential ICT skills for people and watched that it has become necessary to train youth to use ICTs. They declared that information and communication technologies are must for our future generation, so we need to focus on this area so that our young people may demonstrate their best roles in their respective fields. Bear &Watkins (2017) observed that teachers need to come forward to play their role to achieve the needs of the evolving era of embryonic technologies. He was dissatisfied with the practices of ICT teachers as the majority of these instructors don't realize how students need to be taught to use ICT tools efficiently. For effective teaching, teachers need to prepare themselves well as they shoulder a very important responsibility to train their students in a way that they may practice the use of technological tools with full confidence. Only teachers can help students to master good skills, and for this purpose, they need to work in several areas as it is, indeed, a difficult task. Some of the most important areas that need teachers' serious considerations are handling new emerging technologies, the use of ICT tools in classroom settings, and class discipline. Students find it difficult to handle ICT tools because they are not educated on how to use technological equipment, and they waste their valuable time just fighting with complications. Brophy (2006) noted that generally, it initiates out that students find it tough to use technological tools in their daily practices because they don’t know the proper handling techniques. He further commented that mostly it is observed that ICT classrooms are not adequately equipped with the required tools for teachers' use. Consequently, teachers face problems in classroom management. In educational institutions, teachers and students need to be careful about the use of ICTs. Improper use often results in creating disciplinary issues like it is seen that the use of cell phones, voice and audio systems create problems. Therefore, effective classroom management and discipline are necessary to deal with ICT related issues for teachers and students. Brophy (2006) Crone, Horner, &Lawrence (2014), Evertson &Weinstein (2012) also stressed on the need for serious efforts for effective classroom management and discipline. Teaching and learning can be more and more effective through a proper environment that needs good teacher-student relationships. Freiberg (2008) argued that in addition to teachers and students, parents. Students often create problems while teaching and in ICT classrooms, students' disruptive behavior is one of the biggest issues. Studies reveal that disruptive students' behavior is usual among all students and all institutions worldwide. Even in advanced countries, students show defiant attitudes and spoil classroom environments that make it difficult for teachers to teach properly. Some of these problems are interruption during instruction, roaming around while teachers explain, creating noise to interrupt other students, discourage other students by negative remarks, and damaging tools. Freiberg and Lapointe (2006) steered a study and stated that students conduct matters a lot during the instruction process. Positive and serious attitude towards learning facilitates teachers to give their best for successful communication of knowledge. Gottingen (2001) also reported the same issues of students that confirms dealing with students is one of the problematic areas, and teachers should have essential skills in handling students showing disruptive behaviors. Students don't behave well in the classroom and create different problems that affect the instruction process negatively. Gottfredson & Hybl (2011) tried to determine the reason behind students' ill-conduct and bad attitude and concluded that their problems are also the main issues behind their aggressive behaviors. Further, it is found that students from poor families often show aggressive attitudes when they get exposed to other students and classroom settings. They cannot focus on their studies because of the family issues that keep them distracted, and consciously or subconsciously they retaliate that results in creating worse situations in the classroom. Strain relations among family members, especially between parents is also obstruction in learning as learners often stay depressed due to unhappy situations they go through around and react aggressively when they meet others. Researches reveal that in England, unhappy relationships between parents is a major cause behind students' disruptive behavior. Pianta (2017) was of the view that the domestic lives of students always remained a prevalent factor behind students' conduct. Children learn from their surroundings, and home is the first place where they start learning and grooming under the supervision of their parents. Soodak &McCarthy (2006) also supported Pianta’s thought that children learn to respond to situations from their parents as they are the first teachers for their children. It cannot be denied that parents have an incredible role in their children's grooming. They need to react and control as they observe their parents. Reeve (2008) also worked on determining the factors affecting learners' behaviours and concluded that different issues influenced children's behavior in different ways and categorized the factors into two different areas, i.e., internal and external factors.In a classroom setting, students and teachers interact in an environment, but outside class students come into contact with other people like his family members, friends, etc. Cook & Hussey (2008) named student, teacher, and environment the internal factors and family, school and friends, the internal factors. He recommended two groups of external factors one is related to students, and the other one is related to the remote environment, i.e., educational management, country governance, and development in the World.
Several studies have been conducted on information and communication technology, its use in teaching and learning, problems faced by teachers in incorporating ICTs in their daily practices that have brought to light new areas for improvement and further research. Almost all the researchers have a common consent that the main issue that all teachers face while using information and communication technologies is a lack of resources. Institutes and departments are not fully equipped to meet their requirements, and they find it difficult to transform their teaching practices. The studies have further revealed other issues that teachers encounter while using technology. Sprinthall &Sprinthall (2006) mentioned that inadequate working conditions are the biggest hurdle for the teachers as they cannot work with limited and inadequate technological resources. Meyer (2007) commented that teachers and professionals have their own perceptions about technology. They expect technology to be effective and useful that may help them in doing their work with fewer efforts and more productivity, but when they come across challenges and their problems and difficulties, they become reluctant to use it (Lewis &Burman, 2009).
The studies reveal that Information and Communication Technology has remained a problematic issue in one way or another. When it comes to teaching, it becomes complex because of the multiple challenges it poses. Hannon, 2005; White, Algozzine, Marr & Ellis (2009); Conte (2006) tried to sort out teachers' problems related to technology. According to the results of the mentioned studies, the problems that teachers and educational experts face in their day to day exposure with technology are of varying nature and can be placed into four categories, i.e., “problems related with school administrators”, “problems related with teaching”,“technical and infrastructure problems” and “personal problems” of all previous studies, the study by Curwin and Mendler (2006) brought to light the issues of classroom management.
Emmer and Stough (2009) viewed that the main problem of classroom management that IT teachers face is that students are not appreciated for their achievements in the classroom. Students should be appreciated to move on with their efforts, and for this, there should be a proper examination and grading system so they may learn IT skills as a compulsory subject. Phelan (2005) researched with 70 teachers in which they tried to come up with problems of classroom management. He concluded that 43% of all classroom issues are related to students and crowded classrooms. Rademacher & Callahan (2011) stated that the lack of ICT resources and unequipped labs are also the main problems that teachers encounter.
As it is often said that teachers have the most important role in delivering education and incorporation of ICTs into education is not possible unless teachers are trained to use technology. If teachers are skilled in using technology, they can inculcate good skills among students to use technology effectively. Keeping in view this fact, the government of Pakistan has taken different initiatives to ensure quality training for teachers. Moreover, teachers’ selection and recruitment criteria were also considered seriously so that the standard of education could be improved in Pakistan. On 15th March 1993, it was ensured that only those candidates who have completed their graduate and postgraduate studies in computer sciences would be selected for teaching IT and related disciplines. The second priority will be given to those holding diplomas certificates with the registered institutions. The Ministry of education took a serious note of the cause, and several courses were prepared and conducted for teachers’ development so they could improve their proficiency to use technology to excel in their profession. The review of the literature reveals that the Initial Computer Education and Instructional Technology department was founded in Middle East Technical University. Milner & Tenore (2010) reported that the department was initially founded in 1993 while later on, infrastructures were developed for effective use of ICT for training potential teachers. Teachers and professionals were recruited as per decided criteria. In 1985, the first training was delivered in which 225 teachers were provided training in basic computer skills. Jennings &Greenberg (2009) reported that training was limited to the basics of the computer that could only make participants familiar with the BASIC programming language. In 1998, computer studies were included as a separate discipline in the national curriculum, and later on, it was offered as an optional course (Wubbels,2006).
The objectives of this research study were to find out the problems faced by the teachers in ICT class at the undergraduate level.
Following research questions guided this research study:
· Do teachers face problems in ICT classroom?
· Are those problems due to ICT?
· How do they solve those issues?
In this research study, a qualitative research approach was adopted; the strength of this approach is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of how people experience a given research issue. This approach is also effective in a sense as it helps in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, whose role in the research issue may not be readily apparent. Therefore, the interview method, which is one of the qualitative research methods, has been used. Qualitative research can be aptly defined as the research that makes it possible for the researcher to lead a qualitative process in discovering the circumstances and perceptions realistically and totally in their natural environments and which emphasizes meanings, experiences, and definitions. Qualitative research enables the researcher to collect information qualitatively employing observation, interview, and document analysis (Coolican, 1992, Wolcott, 2005). In this paper, the data is collected via the semi-structured interview technique.
Population and Sampling
The population for the research study was the faculty member of Khairpur University teaching ICT to undergraduate students in different departments and using the purposive sampling procedure, which one of the most common sampling strategies, group participants according to preselected criteria relevant to the selected research were selected. A questionnaire having open-ended questions was developed for a structured interview.
The data was collected using a survey approach by conducting interviews. The qualitative research interviews help in explaining, understanding, and exploring behavior and experiences.
Analysis of Collected Data Through Open-ended Question During Interview
The data collected through interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis techniques, and analysis is explained under the following selected themes. Designed questions were asked from the selected three (03) of the faculty members teaching ICT during the interview. The responses are analyzed under the following selected themes.
Reason for Joining Teaching as a Profession
There were two reasons for me to become a teacher. First, teaching is a respectable profession, and the second reason to take up teaching was my passion. I always enjoy learning new things and transferring knowledge to students in interesting ways.
All people have their own choices. Most people prefer to be a doctor or engineer, but I wanted to do something different that's I took up teaching. Teaching is different as it gives us maximum opportunity to extend our learning by teaching. I was interested in becoming an IT expert, but as I required a job, therefore, I got a job in a school, and from that day till to date I am performing the duties of a teacher. Now I feel that this is the most suitable profession and we need to adopt to do something for the future of the nation because our nation cannot progress till we give modern education (IT) to our youth.
From the very beginning of my life as a student, I decided to become a teacher and reason was one of my teachers who taught me with love and affection, because of that teacher now I am in the position to be a person who is respected by other. What so I am now I feel that is because of my teachers and want to continue this work wish to be a teacher like my teacher.
Handling Students Disruptive Behavior
Disruptive behavior is one of the major challenges in classroom teaching. Constant disruption on students' part interrupts teaching and teachers cannot teach effectively. Handling this disruptive behavior is, indeed, a big challenge and demanding part of teachers' job. I believe that a teacher must have skills to handle disruptive students in addition to have a good command of his subject. I use different strategies to handle students who are constantly disruptive depending upon the student and type of disruption. The most common strategies I use are; changing seating arrangement, ignoring these students, to engage them in some tasks or activities to divert their mischievous attitude. Not to do anything that may create a worse situation etc.
Disruptive behavior is common, and we cannot imagine a class without disruptive students' behaviours. I need to work more to deal with these behaviours because I cannot teach and make students understand the content unless the classroom is calm, and all students are listening to the instructions attentively. I try to keep students engage in learning by frequent questioning, ignoring the situation, counselling, and sometimes changing seating arrangement.
I have to deal with disruptive students like other teachers, and this is usual in teachers everyday life. I prepare myself to deal with this issue and use different strategies like positive attitude, ignorance, patience etc. I often divert students from disruption by turning them to some new though and making them think. I try to avail their weakness as students often feel boosted when they are given a chance to present themselves. They often need special attention, and for this, teachers need to demonstrate a high level of patience.
Positive Relationship with students and Sense of Class Community
Positive student-teachers’ relationship is very important for effective teaching and learning process in this era of fast development. It is an important part of teachers' job to create a sense of class community. For this, teachers need to know the needs of students like how they want to learn. I always try to know the learning behaviors of students in class as all students have their learning styles, and we cannot force them to learn in our style or force them to learn. Once the teacher understands the learning needs and learning styles of his teacher, it becomes easy to cultivate a positive relationship with students and create a sense of class community.
Students-teachers relationship is very important in this era because presently we are living in an era of fast development, and students want to learn different things from teachers. They have lots of expectation from their teachers and expect them to answer their questions well. Keeping in view students' need, teachers too need to transform their roles and need to develop a positive relationship with their students. I try to develop positive relationships with my teachers because I need to know what my students want to learn. They should feel free to express their needs so that i can help them as per their need in a better way.
Students want to be owned by the teachers. This is the part of a teacher's job to accept all students and make them feel integrated. To give too much importance to one or a few students and to ignore others often affect the feelings of students. Therefore, I try my level best to develop a good relationship with all students. Negative comments also have negative impacts on students' mind so a teacher needs to be careful about using words that may affect students' mind. Positive attitude a teachers' part bring students close to their teachers, and they feel free to ask their questions, discuss their problems etc. with the teachers. Teachers can work better to solve their issues and teach effectively.
Identification of Students Learning Disabilities
As all students have different learning styles, they have some weaknesses as well. In classroom teaching, it seems impossible to deal with students with specific learning disabilities, but a skilled teacher knows well how to support these students and keep them with the class (all students). For this, I keep in view all students and plan my lesson in a way that may support all to learn effectively. The lesson contains everything about the topic that students need to learn. Both easy and difficult tasks are included in lessons.
Class is a group of people who are gathered to learn from a teacher. In schools, no doubt that students are placed in different levels so they can be taught the content they are required to pass their exam. This classification of levels is for the facilitation of teachers, but this classification is not everything. In a class, students show different attitude towards learning. The teacher needs to understand what students want to learn and how they want to learn. A teacher can not force all students to learn in the same way. For this, teachers need to learn and use their skills to support all students, especially students with specific learning disabilities. I always try to make the class interesting so that all students may learn with any negative attitude towards learning.
This is important for a teacher to know his students. When teachers know their students, they can help out the better, and they can organize their teaching better. Students have different capabilities and lackings. Some students learn quickly; some take time, some need special attention from their teachers etc. Learning styles are very important, and teachers must identify students with specific needs. I too identify the students of my class and try to help out all students in their learning. I believe an effective lesson should cater to the needs of all type of students so all may equally benefit.
Supportive Attitude for Learning
In Pakistan, language is one of the biggest barriers that teachers and students encounter in teaching and learning. The main reason is English medium and Urdu medium schools. In privately established English medium schools’ students are taught in English because the medium of instruction in those schools is English; therefore, all instructions are delivered in the English language. While in Urdu medium schools, the Urdu language is used for teaching; moreover, students who are from so-called private schools are unable to understand English. Sometimes teachers too are not good at teaching in English. I try my level best to use language that may help them in learning. Managements always appreciate teachers using English in classrooms, but the real thing is students' learning. To ensure students' learning, I use both languages so that they may learn the concepts, but I motivate students and help them to learn English as English is the second official language of Pakistan.
The national language of Pakistan is Urdu, the English language is the official language, so both languages are important. But in our schools and other institutions, the English language is preferred for daily communication and usage. one of the biggest barriers that teachers and students encounter in teaching and learning. But all students and teachers are not able to use the English language; this interrupts teaching and learning. I try to find out how I can help my students better and try to mould my use of language as per students' need because teachers' jobs are to facilitate students to support learning.
Language is the biggest controversy in schools of Pakistan as in our country we have both English- medium and Urdu-medium schools. In classes we have students who are good at English, at the same time there are some students who want lessons should be delivered in their own language. Under this circumstance, teachers often feel difficulty in instruction. I try to understand students' problem related to language and depending upon students; I use language, sometimes English, sometime Urdu and sometimes I switch for a better understanding of my students.
Collaborative and Project-Based Learning
Nowadays, we need to work exceptionally to make teaching effective for effective learning. We cannot stick to a simple method of delivering knowledge; rather, we need to enrich our teaching with new, interesting, and effective teaching methodologies and techniques. I incorporate collaborative and project-based teaching to actively engage my students.
As we are living in an age of technology, teaching has been transformed. The teacher needs to work exceptionally hard for effective learning. Simple instruction method in no longer effective as it used to be practised in the past. I incorporate collaborative and project-based teaching to actively engage my students. I feel what a teacher needs to do is to make students learn in an interesting way because unless they show interest in learning cannot take place.
I do incorporate collaborative and project-based teaching because it is a must for effective teaching and learning. Simple instruction or traditional classroom methods are no longer effective and acceptable in the present era. Now teaching has transformed, and teachers need to work exceptionally hard to make their teaching effective.
Keeping Students Motivated
I always motivate my students by appreciating them for their efforts. A teacher needs to demonstrate a high level of patience to ignore students' mistakes, their non-serious attitude, to develop interest among them to learn, to encourage them with positive words and conduct. I always assign the task to them and help them to do it by themselves as students feel good when they are provided with the opportunity to deal with a situation in a way they want. Moreover, they show great interest in learning and problem-solving. For this, they’d research, read additional material, and learn to be self-directed learners.
As a teacher, I feel the main purpose of education is to make students be a self-directed learner. Students cannot use knowledge in their lives unless they learn how they can use knowledge for problem solving and creative purpose. I always encourage my students to apply their knowledge in their practical lives, and for this, I assign them different projects and assignments to motivate them to do their own research and become self-directed learners.
The main purpose of education, presently, is to make the student an independent learner. In the classroom, students are taught to perform outside and everywhere. Real knowledge is the mastery of skills that students need to use their understanding to solve their problems of social and professional lives. For this, we need to make our students more and more self-directed. As a teacher, I always motivate students to be an independent learner. I give them assignments based on their own selection of material, resource and interest.
Sense of Global Citizens through Technology Integration
The modern era is an era of fast development and innovations. Today's student is different from the past because of technological influences. Technology has, indeed, made things easy, and now students have good access to resources to learn and extend their learning experiences. I prepare myself well for my class to teach students and satisfy their queries. I integrate technology in my teaching to keep students involved, engaged, and develop interest among them so they may learn content with its applications as everything is technology-oriented. To deal with 21st-century learners, teachers must have skills to integrate technology in their teaching, and students too must have skills to learn and understand through technology to excel globally.
The present era is an era of technology where the world has transformed. Students need to have talents and skills to cope with the challenges of the future. Moreover, teachers and other professionals need to grow themselves to fulfil the demands of a globalized world. Today's student is the future of the nation, and we need to prepare him for future leaders. Technology is a weapon for present problems and future prosperity. To play their dynamic role to deal with the emerging needs of the 21st-century world, teachers must know how to integrate technology to empower learning. I integrate technology to inculcate best traits among my students, and I strongly recommend the use of technology.
Presently, the world is moving very fast because of competition among nations. The world is full of challenges, and these challenges are growing drastically. We have to consider our present needs and prepare ourselves for future challenges of transforming the world. Students need to learn to deal with all present and future challenges, and in this process, teachers share heavy responsibility. As a teacher, I realize my role in students' learning and grooming. I integrate technology in my teaching, as technologically delivered lessons are more effective than the lessons delivered without it. Our aim is to prepare youth to be a successful citizen and valuable social person.
Problems Faced During Technology Integration
As technology is growing day by day, teachers face challenges to use it. Mostly we teachers don't know using different software in classroom teaching. Another issue is that our management doesn't facilitate us to use technology. We don't have an adequate number of computers, printers, multimedia, etc. Moreover, technology always has issues, and we don't have enough technical staff for our support.
Technology has a number of complications. We often have problems like lack of resources, electricity issues, lack of technical support etc. All these challenges make it impossible for teachers to integrate technology into their instruction process. I deal with the technological problem at my own end that is very time-consuming.
It is very complicated to integrate technology in education in developing countries like Pakistan. As Pakistan is economically weak and our schools do not have required technological setups. I like other teachers often have difficulty in learning to handle technological tools, lack of resources, the time assigned to me to complete my syllabus, technical support etc.
I read new researches for my professional development and try to use technology to deliver my lessons for students. I prefer to attend a workshop to facilitate me in using technology efficiently. I feel we should be facilitated through professional development courses; moreover, schools must have adequate ICT resources and technical staff for the assistance of teachers.
For my professional development I attend different workshops to extend my experience to use technology and for subject knowledge I try to keep myself updated by reading new articles, magazines, books in library etc. Digital library is best for this purpose.
For my professional development I prefer to study maximum material related to my subject, discussion with experts, attending seminars and taking part in workshops. I also prefer to polish my skills to use technology so I can teach well.