An article co-authored by Johns Hopkins School of Education’s Lieny Jeon reports that teachers need emotional support to manage chaotic classrooms.
The finding comes from a study Jeon and her colleagues conducted that examined the role of teachers’ emotional abilities and classroom environments in how teachers respond to children’s negative emotions and disruptive behavior. The researchers sampled 1,129 teachers working with preschoolers in child-care centers or public pre-K programs across the U.S. Using a survey, the teachers were asked to rate their perceptions of environmental chaos and their responsiveness to children in early childcare settings.
The researchers found that
- Childcare chaos (e.g., crowdedness, unpredictability, and lack of routines and rules) was directly associated with teachers’ non-supportive reactions (e.g., distress reactions and punitive reactions) after controlling for multiple program and teacher characteristics.
- In addition, teachers in more chaotic childcare settings had less reappraisal and coping skills, which in turn was associated with lower levels of positive responsiveness to children.
The article suggests that intervention programs are needed to address teachers’ coping and emotion regulation strategies in early childhood education.
Source: Jeon, L., Hur, E., & Buettner, C. K. (2016). Child-care chaos and teachers’ responsiveness: The indirect associations through teachers’ emotion regulation and coping. Journal of School Psychology, 59, 83–96.