University of Ghent (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 9140-9148
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.2229
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Responding appropriately to aggression in the classroom is crucial to maintain a safe and productive learning environment. However, novice teachers often feel ill prepared to deal with aggression (Alvarez, 2007; Korthagen, Loughran, & Russell, 2006). The rationale is twofold. First, literature offers a lot of preventive ‘tips and tricks’, but hardly a comprehensive script to handle aggressive situations in classrooms. Furthermore, due to ethical issues, there is a lack of authentic learning opportunities to develop aggression management competences in teacher education. In the present study, a literature review helped generating a comprehensive script which emphasizes steps to be taken and approaches to be adopted. Moreover, the present study built on online clinical simulations offering authentic learning opportunities.

According to Blömeke, Gustafson, and Shavelson (2015), competence development is complex as it requires the processing of underlying cognitive and socio-emotional components. Therefore, teachers should be challenged in their PID-skills: the
(1) Perception and
(2) Interpretation of classroom situations, leading to taking
(3) Decisions.

Clinical simulations seem promising to develop and stimulate these skills. They allow pre-service teachers to encounter realistic situations, face-to-face or online, in which they can develop and practice the required scripts in a safe environment (Kaufman & Ireland, 2016). Considering efficiency, online simulations are preferable, especially when involving large groups. Applied to the development of aggression management competences, they offer opportunities to learn the underlying scripts and practice them while reflecting on the prompted perception, interpretation and decision-making skills. Moreover, simulations allow educators to assess the competence development of pre-service teachers through reflection on their experiences.

Applications of clinical simulations in teacher education remain scarce (Kaufman & Ireland, 2016). The present study focusses on the evaluation of PID-skills linked to aggression management competences. 195 freshman students participated in an online clinical simulation focusing on verbal and/or physical aggressive situations in classrooms. Each student was confronted with video-clips of a classroom situation leading to aggression and was asked to write down (1) what he/she perceived and (2) how he/she interpreted this observation. Afterwards, students were asked to describe the decision they would have made as a teacher. Answers were coded based on the aforementioned script derived from the literature. Preliminary results indicate that students have difficulties in differentiating between what they perceive and how to interpret these observations; thus, affecting their decision-making skills.

[1] Alvarez, H. (2007). The impact of teacher preparation on responses to student aggression in the classroom. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(7), 1113–1126.
[2] Blömeke, S., Gustafsson, J., & Shavelson, R. (2015). Beyond dichotomies: Competence viewed as a continuum. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 223, 3-13.
[3] Kaufman, D., & Ireland, A. (2016). Enhancing Teacher Education with Simulations. TechTrends, 60(3), 260–267.
[4] Korthagen, F., Loughran, J., & Russell, T. (2006). Developing fundamental principles for teacher education programs and practices. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 1020–1041.
Aggression management competences, perception interpretation and decision-making skills, online clinical simulations.