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How teachers can improve their classroom interaction with students

This study aims to contribute to understanding of how lower secondary school teachers in Norway learn classroom interaction in the context of educational intervention.

Students engaging in classroom activities. Photo: iStock Students engaging in classroom activities. Photo: iStock

Teachers are the most important agents in shaping education for students and in bringing about change and innovation in educational practices. Teacher educators  have repeatedly argued that classroom management is a critical pedagogical skill that teachers must master in order to maximize classroom interaction. This study aims to contribute to understanding of how lower secondary school teachers in Norway learn classroom interaction in the context of educational intervention.

We conducted qualitative study with 81 participants. The results indicated that teachers’ knowledge and understanding of classroom interactions, emotions and beliefs varied. Most of the teachers reflected on aspects of the classroom organization and emotional support, showing a strong focus on management skills, classroom leadership, and/or relational support and connection with students. However, there were fewer examples of instructional support. Higher-order thinking and meta-cognition is utmost importance in secondary school classrooms. Therefore, the teachers who might have less knowledge about instructional support will struggle in supporting students to reach their full learning potential. Another interesting finding is that teachers learned classroom interaction skills mostly through reflecting on their teaching practices and by getting ideas from other sources, such as colleagues or students. The limited approach to learning activities teachers applied to the learning situations is of concern regarding the possibility for improvement in classroom interaction. 

Full reference:

Solheim, K., Ertesvåg, S. K., & Berg, G. D. (2018). How teachers can improve their classroom interaction with students: New findings from teachers themselves. Journal of Educational Change, 1-28.