Dr. Pearl Rivers

ACTT National Quality
Assurance Conference
Remembering ‘Who I Am’
in Teacher Education
Nov 17-18, 2011
Dr. Pearl Rivers
This study emerged from the
outcome of an assignment which
was given to student-teachers
enrolled in the course- Classroom
Management EDFN301. The
course was offered to Third Year
Bachelor of Education majors at
the University of Trinidad and
Tobago (UTT).
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Classroom managers strive to
create and maintain a positive
learning environment, optimize
learning time and produce selfregulated students.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Effective classroom managers are
models of the values, attitudes and
behaviours required of students.
Values of love, caring, honesty,
integrity, trust, fairness, justice, order,
empathy, objectivity, good relational
skills and being flexible are critical
elements in creating and maintaining
a positive classroom climate.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Some student-teachers came
with baggage which could
have negative influence on
their effectiveness as
classroom managers.
Reflection and introspection
were important practices of
effective classroom
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Rationale for the course
To help student-teachers’ examine
themselves and deal with their ‘baggage’
in order to effectively function as
classroom managers.
They were to formulate and implement a
Personal Enhancement Programme to
address the apparent shortcoming.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
The objective of the assignment
was to help student-teachers get rid
of ‘baggage’ which, if left untreated
could limit the goal of the university
to produce a teacher who is
emotionally stable, disciplined,
teachable, sensitive and caring and
who possesses other personal
characteristics required for
successful teaching and learning.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Description of the assignment
“Identify an aspect of your personal life that needs
enhancing for you to be an effective classroom
manager and plan a Personal Enhancement
Programme to deal with the aspect identified.
Implement the plan and record journal entries of your
Submit a copy of your plan and ONE journal entry for
each of the first four weeks.
Include your feedback on the programme:
• the impact of the programme on your personal life;
• how the impact will affect your ability to manage a
• your plans for greater improvement and maintenance
of the change.”
Dr. Pearl Rivers
refers to those
attitudes, values, mindsets and
behaviours that are not in keeping
with acceptable social norms and
standards and which have been
internalized and appear to be part of
the life-style or modus operandi of
Dr. Pearl Rivers
A person enrolled in the Bachelor
of Education programme (BEd) for
the purpose of receiving training and
qualification to become a teacher.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Personal Enhancement
An elimination of those mindsets
and behaviour which constitute
baggage and replacing with
worthwhile and beneficial qualities
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Classroom Manager is a
teacher and his/her capability to
create and maintain a positive
learning environment so as to
optimize teaching and learning
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Questions that guided the analysis
of students’ feedback
 What
were the personal issues identified by
student-teachers as ‘baggage’?
 What effect the exercise had on studentteachers?
 Did the Personal Enhancement Programme
produce the desired outcome?
 What were student-teachers’ opinion of the
programme’s impact on their performance as
classroom managers?
 What were student-teachers’
recommendations for improving the Personal
Enhancement exercise?
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Outcome of the programme
Aspects of
students’ lives
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Emotional Issues
Feelings of
Low self-esteem
Fear to stand in
front of a class
Fear of crowds
Dislike for male
Fluctuating periods
of depression
 Easily offended
 Pessimism
 Prejudice
 Judgmental
 Dislike of self
 Lack of
interpersonal skills
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Identified areas
 Disorganized
 Lack of focus
 Poor study
 Arrogant
 Lazy
 Disrespectful
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Identified areas
Physical and
Health Issues
◦ Obesity
◦ Poor eating habits
◦ Addiction to
◦ Addiction to
◦ Serious health
◦ Speaking too fast
Ethical and
Moral Values
Lack of integrity
Partiality/social bias
Uncontrolled use of
obscene language
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Feedback from students
plan helped me control my attitude and
temper and I did not have as many outbursts as I
usually have for simple matters.
“I have grown in terms of overcoming my fear of
public speaking. I am not that timid to express
myself and stand in front of my class or groups.”
“After these six weeks these plans, procedures
and schedules have become part of me. I am
experiencing “early to bed, early to rise” and in
so doing, I have been reaching to classes and
other appointments on time.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Feedback from students con’t
“Before doing this assignment I was not
aware of how my attitudes and values
affected not only my life but those
around me. I did not realize how much I was
hurting my loved ones. This assignment has
helped me develop into a better daughter, sister
and friend.”
A small group of students reported
that initially they did not think they
had any quality that required addressing
but after introspection several areas of
shortcomings were identified.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Feedback from students con’t
 most
of them vowed to continue the
exercise, as more time was required to
achieve the desired outcome.
 Some
students indicated that they were
apprehensive and attempted the
assignment only because it was
an assessable exercise.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
summary of student-teachers’
All teachers should be exposed to this
The duration of the programme was too
short. More time should be allowed since
personal transformation and enhancement
was progressive in nature and takes time;
The programme should be introduced to
students in the first year to allow time for
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
a teacher’s professional practice is an
expression of ‘who the teacher is’ - the ‘person’
of the teacher.
As educators, we know that ‘who we are’ and
the ‘baggage’ we carry have a more potent or
equally potent influence on student learning
and development than our mastery of subject
content, our critical thinking abilities and our
pedagogical skills.
A teacher with a mix of emotional complexities
(baggage) would be less effective as a
professional teacher and a classroom manager.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
In teacher education
programmes emphasis is
usually placed on the acquisition of
subject content and pedagogical
skills with lesser emphasis on
personal development of teachers.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
student-teachers’ prior experiences as
learners serve as powerful templates for
the ways in which they practice as
teachers (Berry 2004)
Student-teachers are products of their
societies and undoubtedly their
conception of teaching and learning as
well as their response to training are
influenced by their accumulated
experiences and the resultant ‘baggage’.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
The teacher plays a critical role in
accomplishing the goal of classroom
A teacher’s emotional and social well being
and organizing capability are intimately
connected to the job of teaching since
teachers’ action reflected emotional
involvement (Kelchtemans, 2005)
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
teacher with a mix of emotional
baggage: hurts, unforgiveness, anger,
bitterness, insecurities, fear, feelings of
rejection and who lacks ethical and
moral principles and values will
experience difficulty meeting the
demands and expectations of
an effective classroom manager.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Why focus on ‘me’ – the teacher
 The
goal of classroom management
demands that the teacher be
emotionally healthy, practice good
self management and displays
acceptable ethical and moral
principles and standards.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
The assignment revealed the extent of
baggage that student-teachers brought into
the Bachelor of Education Programme.
This revelation underscores the need to
address these questionable personal issues.
Greater focus must therefore be placed on
the “person” of the teacher, since “who I am”
- who the teacher is and the baggage he/she
carries influence performance and student
learning and development.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Further Investigation
The outcome of the Personal Enhancement
exercise drew attention to the need to
scientifically investigate this further in
terms of its effects.
• To determine what impact, if any, the
programme still has on students’ personal
• To determine what impact if any the
programme still has on students’
performance in the classroom;
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Further Investigation
To determine the variety of personal issues
that are prevailing among the population
from which the teachers come;
To determine the approaches that can assist
in positive change;
To determine the possibility of developing
and instituting a formalized personal
enhancement programme as a mandatory
component of a Bachelor of Education
Programme for perspective teachers.
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Remember me – I need help!
Dr. Pearl Rivers
Thank you for your

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