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One Year on: First-Year Primary Teachers’ Perceptions of Preparedness to Manage Misbehaviour and Their Confidence in the Strategies They Use

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2013

Sue O'Neill*
University of New South Wales, Australia
Jennifer Stephenson
Macquarie University Special Education Centre, Australia
Correspondence: Dr Sue O'Neill, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia. E-mail:


This article reports the findings of a one-year follow-up study of Australian beginning primary teachers’ perceived preparedness to manage a variety of problematic student behaviours, and their confidence and use of behaviour management strategies based on their preservice coursework in classroom behaviour management. A total of 216 primary teachers in their first year of employment located across Australia responded to the online survey. Based on their coursework preparation in classroom behaviour management, the first-year teachers felt, at best, only somewhat prepared to manage disruption, noncompliance and disorganisation problems, and closer to not at all prepared to manage aggressive, antisocial, or destructive behaviours. Their perceptions of preparedness to manage all categories of problem behaviours had decreased significantly since course completion in the past year. First-year teachers were aware of a wide range of strategies for responding to problem behaviours, and felt somewhat confident in using most of the strategies. Their confidence in use had increased for most strategies, but only minimally, since completing their teacher education programs. Issues with current preservice coursework in classroom behaviour management in teacher education programs are discussed, and suggestions for addressing preparation and confidence issues are offered.

Copyright © The Authors 2013 

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