A comparison of the self -reported classroom management practices of Judaic studies teachers and general studies teachers in Jewish day schools
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Classroom management has been shown to play a key role in student achievement within the classroom. While a great deal of research exists that identifies ideal classroom management methodologies, there is little research centered on the usage of such management approaches by teachers in Jewish day schools. The purpose of this present research was to examine whether effective classroom management methodologies are being utilized in Jewish day schools and to determine which group of teachers within Jewish day schools, Judaic studies teachers or general studies teachers, were more likely to employ these strategies. Specifically, I studied these teachers' self-reported use of teacher direction (TD), emphasis on students' self-regulation and autonomy (SSR), valuing of spontaneity, process, and collaboration (VSPC), and emphasis on students' social experience and choice (SC). The research investigated the self-reported practices of Judaic studies teachers (N=61) and general studies teachers (N=77) teaching in selected Jewish day schools located in cities in the states of Florida, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. Teachers individually filled out a background questionnaire and a five point, equal interval survey comprised of four subscales and based on the Teacher Belief Q-Sort tool (TBQ) developed by Rimm-Kaufman and Sawyer (2004). Results showed that teachers in Jewish day schools consistently reported that they utilize the classroom management strategies of TD, SSR, VSPC, and SC. T-tests for independent means, supplemented via one-way between-groups analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), indicated that while there were no significant differences between Judaic studies teachers and general studies teachers regarding their self-reported usage of TD, SSR, and SC, there was a significant difference between the two groups with regard to their self-reported usage of VSPC. General studies teachers reported that they favored VSPC significantly more than teachers of Judaic studies. The results of the study imply that: (A) The majority of teachers in Jewish day schools are aware of the benefits of utilizing TD, SSR, VSPC, and SC. (B) There is a need for greater uniformity in practice regarding teachers' use of VSPC. Specifically, teachers of Judaic studies from the participant pool used in this research report less consistent use of this methodology than do general studies teachers.