Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Educational Psychology

Date of Defense

10-31-2017

Graduate Advisor

Marvin W. Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Committee

Wolfgang Althof, Ph.D.

Enrique Chaux, Ed.D.

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D.

Alina Slapac, Ed.D.

Abstract

Research has evidenced the importance of supporting future teachers so they are prepared to effectively model and foster prosocial attitudes and behaviors in their students. However, these aspects are often disregarded in teacher education programs. The purpose of this study was to address this gap by designing, implementing, and evaluating a course for future teachers in Colombia. The course intended to promote future teachers’ own social and emotional competencies (SEC) and well-being, as well as their classroom management knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs. It included three components: (1) development of SEC, (2) classroom management approaches and strategies, and (3) mindfulness practices.

The curriculum was administered to undergraduate students who were enrolled in two types of teacher education programs: a university in an urban setting (UNIMINUTO) and a “normal school” in a rural area (ENSN). The final sample consisted of 50 students (20 from the intervention groups and 30 from wait-list comparison groups). The research study was a mixed methods convergent evaluation design. Classroom observation forms, research journal entries forms, an interview protocol, attendance forms, and pre-test and post-test surveys and questionnaires were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data.

In general, results indicated high levels of engagement with the course, especially at UNIMINUTO. Participants found the course relevant and applicable for their lives. Interviewed students highlighted positive aspects of the course, such as the positive classroom climate and the positive performance of the facilitator. Also, quantitative data showed a significant improvement in participants’ classroom management self-efficacy, knowledge, and beliefs. The comparison group did not present any significant changes in iii these variables. No significant changes in the intervention or comparison group were found for quantitative scores of self-reported stress (a proxy for well-being) and SEC. Information from qualitative data sources suggested that, in general, the course had a positive impact on participants’ SEC, and classroom management self-efficacy, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs. In addition, students from UNIMINUTO reported an improvement in their levels of well-being and in unexpected outcomes such as self-confidence and personal growth. Implications of findings for teacher education programs are discussed.

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