The meaning teachers assign to the concept of “student’s safety” is varied and predetermines multiple ways to take action. We ascertain that, in order to ensure emotional, social and existential comfort for students they work with, teachers are conditioned to engage diverse sources which, to a great extent, they do not directly coordinate or are not in their power.
Keywords: Learners’ safetypsychological securityemotional comfort
1. Problem Statement
We tackle the learning process in the context of this paper from the perspective of social
constructivism, which "starts from the premise that individual development and higher mental
functioning originate from social interactions" (Opre, Benga, Baban, 2015). Participation in joint
problem solving activities leads to normalization of group work effects, so that the person acquires new
strategies and knowledge about world and culture (Bruner, 1996).
Obtaining higher performance in students’ learning activity is a goal that can be achieved if the
teacher is concerned about the actual research of those general directions for action they may choose
from the arsenal of solutions made available by the research conducted in the education field today. It
goes without saying that any teacher will understand that training strategies which work with each
student, depending on the situation, will be established by them, while specialized literature remains a
reference point for strategies that are more likely to become useful in a certain instructive- educational
context. Another way teacher may follow in order to lead students to successful learning with
maximum efficiency is to maintain a constant concern to reflect on the efficiency of teaching designed,
organized and led by direct and constant reference to understanding of the particularities and specific
needs of each student.
Class management techniques chosen, adapted and put into practice by the teacher represent
determining elements for teaching that lead students to experience the feeling of success at the end of
the learning process carried out under the leadership and coordination of the teacher. In other words,
educator’s managerial skills include those directly related to the social dimension of classroom
management. These, according to Iucu (2005), “must be acquired in classroom/ group work, to ensure
that educational process takes place under the proposed standards and that learning is effective and
The procedures which, when put into practice in the educational space of the classroom, have the
function to facilitate a productive teacher-student relationship are, according to the specialized
literature, quite hard to find although their importance is recognized: “The causes of many classroom
behaviours considered as breaking the rules, and thus punishable, actually come from the problems
students and teachers have regarding interpersonal relating” (Sheets, Gay, 1996). At the end of each
learning situation the extent to which the teacher involved in the educational relationship experienced
values such as patience, enthusiasm or solicitude becomes relevant, as well as the extent to which such
experiences had an effect on learners’ behaviour.
According to Marzano (2015) there are two fundamental elements that ensure the efficiency of an
effective relationship between the teacher and their students: on the one hand, behaviours that
communicate an appropriate level of consideration and cooperation and, on the other hand, behaviours
that communicate an appropriate level of guidance and control. In order for students to apprehend or
understand implicitly that the teacher considers their opinions and is willing to cooperate with them
during the training, it is important for the teacher to show a behaviour that denotes a certain degree of
affection, to know aspects of their personal life integrated into their interactions, to show physical
behaviours that demonstrate their interest towards students, to personalize learning situations creating a
connection between the specific interests of students and new concepts to be learned, to use humour at
right times. As mentioned above, we consider - Marzano (2015) – that it is as important for the teacher
to create students’ belief that teacher is responsible for offering a clear direction in terms of behaviour
and learning, by expressing themselves calmly, by applying constantly positive and negative measures
and by communicating the impression of emotional objectivity. All these implicit and explicit
manifestations are able to ensure psychological security and emotional comfort for learners.
The problem we have stated at the beginning of the study conducted was related to the ratio
established between the solutions adopted in the teaching approach to ensure that students experience
values supporting successful learning, and training management provisions rules. We aimed to
discover, in the teacher’s behaviour, the proportion of techniques, procedures validated by education
management science, compared with strategies, procedures they follow in educational practice, by
valuing the practical experience acquired while performing this job. The procedures in the latter
category were ranked as trends, due to the fact that they are not listed among practical actions validated
as theory worth to follow, but they are placed on different positions of this process.
3.Purpose of the Study
The research we have carried out aimed at identifying elements that are understood as common
procedures in managing the learning act performed by students at school. The features of innovative
strategies which, if applied by the teacher, can guarantee the success of the fundamental act that carried
out by the student at school, are also elements our research intends to identify.
The survey questionnaire is the fundamental method used in the research. The questions are open
and allow the teacher to provide answers involving their professional experience, as well as the result
of personalized reflection they performed in relation to the specific provisions of the training
management, each teacher receiving at least one initial training session in this field.
The sample group involved in the research consisted of 70 teachers who work at different levels of
education: primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and university. By choosing this kind of
configuration for the sample of subjects, we have ensured representation and diversity for the
conclusions we have drawn as a result of the investigation.
Teachers understanding the concept of “student safety”, as well as the specific ways in which they
are placed in connection with it, represented a focal point of the investigation we carried out because
we grant value to the experience of this feeling by the students in the educational context of class,
school. Blending it with predictability and control provides the foundation for an efficient educational
environment in the contemporary context of the education systems’ functioning: “the necessity and
relevance of the rules is supported by the fact that a structured environment, based on the expression of
clear expectations regarding the behaviour of teachers and children, promotes a sense of security,
control and predictability” (Kerr, 2004).
Following the analysis of the answers given by the respondents to the question regarding how
teachers engage in ensuring safety in school environment, we found out that we had the possibility to
divide the responses into two main categories: teachers who consider that student safety is a state
which emerges from their direct contribution and teachers who consider themselves directly involved
in predetermining the experience of this value by students whom they train. Furthermore, the
significance teachers assign to the concept of “student safety” is varied and predetermines multiple
ways of action for them: a large proportion of the respondents (60%) consider the body of the student
when dealing with the issue of student’s safety and only 24% of respondents indicate personal
commitment as a way of ensuring the safety of students. We would like to specify that the number of
teachers who work in the higher level of education is bigger in the former group compared to the
second. The explanation of such a state of affairs could be related to the fact that functional analysis of
the behaviour of students they interact with in the training process is no longer a main goal, by
consensus, in the Romanian education system, in comparison with the specific goals of educators
working in preschool and primary education levels.
We consider that- in the light of the types of answers given by those from the first category -
imposing several procedures for quality assurance in a very strong mark in Romanian formal
education. The need for such procedures seems to be understood implicitly by teachers surveyed but, in
our opinion, it is also a “solution” for the functioning of pre-university education institutions, which
releases the teacher from the responsibility of personal involvement in ensuring safety for students.
Thus, we explain the occurrence of such answers as the following: presentation of rules and penalties
in front of the students, video surveillance, wearing uniform to be mandatory.
Teachers whose responses fall into the second category mentioned above are the ones who value
and assume direct, personalized involvement, to ensure the safety of students whom they support
during the learning activity they perform. They bring up the value and relevance of prediction exercises
they organize for students (“What do you do in case of fire?”), of expressing attitudes such as
tolerance, reciprocity, collaboration, materialized in increased interaction between teachers and
students. Teacher’s consideration for their students emerges from those listed above and leads us to
conclude that, even if it does not represent a practical consensual value for the teachers surveyed,
ensuring safety through emotional involvement of the teacher in managing the learning process
performed by the students, is currently a tendency expressed in Romanian education system.
Among the respondents we included in this category, a significant part (60%) specify that, in order
to ensure the safety of students, what interferes with the direct relationship the teacher develops with
students is relevant: exercises to strengthen students’ self-esteem, the use of active-participative
methods, improvement of students’ motivation to carry out learning activities, discouragement of the
attempt to ridicule the classroom level on the basis of the belief that the mistake is part of learning,
offering help to find the best way of expression. We appreciate that such responses are the closest to
the appropriate direction mentioned in the specialized literature: the teacher gives the student clear
direction in terms of behaviour and learning act.
A significant part of the answers offered to the question: “What actions do you undertake in the
school environment in order for the learners you interact with to feel safe?” are correlated with the
attributes of the environment that are more or less directly influenced by the teacher (32%): atmosphere
based on respect (thus, teacher’s personal involvement, not defined), arranging classroom in order to
look attractive, pleasant climate, calm atmosphere, healthy environment.
Thus, we conclude that training management specific provisions are dominant among the
procedures applied, and the consensus has more power than innovative trends regarding students
experiencing safety within the educational space of the school.
The theoretical premise from which we started the investigation conducted for discovering the
trends and consensus occurring in the Romanian education system with regards to ensuring emotional
comfort and psychological security is directly related to the importance that specialists in the field of
education attribute to these two dimensions: “a climate were safety, responsibility and involvement
prevail, results in greater attachment to school and positively influence the socio-emotional and
cognitive development of children” (Blum, 2002).
On the basis of analysing the results obtained following the investigation concerning indicators
offering the teacher the certainty that the student whom they are interacting with in the process of
training experiences a state of emotional comfort, we delimited three categories: indicators correlated
to the specific properties of the student’s body, indicators connected to the attitudes expressed by the
students, and the category of indicators overlapping students’ concrete behaviours revealed during the
time they are engaged in the learning process.
Many of those surveyed (26%) presented descriptive elements of learner’s body as indicators of the
state of emotional comfort experienced by the student during the learning activity, such as: students’
facial expressions while working or during activities, lack of discomfort materialized in the absence of
fatigue, cramps, headaches, or breathing difficulties.
A larger part of the respondents indicated the attitudes manifested by students as landmarks, specific
indicators to validate the presence of emotional comfort in the area of internal states specific for the
students. Thus, among those who responded to the questionnaire, 48% indicated attitudes to be noticed
for confirmation of students’ emotional comfort by indicating their attributes: calm, relaxed, open,
friendly, or consequences of the manifestation of such an attitude: they prove their ability to respond
appropriately to emotional manifestations of others, understand their emotions and other colleagues’
emotions, they easily engage in various activities, relationships based on respect and communication,
pleasure in following the teacher’s specific actions.
From the category of students’ concrete behaviours that can be noticed by the teacher and that
represent indicators of students experiencing emotional comfort we mention a number of illustrative
behaviours specified by 32% of respondents: ask questions to the teacher, answer questions without
fear of being wrong, respond positively to learning tasks they receive.
The reference to the procedures followed to discover clues regarding students’ experiencing
emotional comfort, was revealed at the end of the research undertaken as a response manner chosen by
38% of respondents. The procedures were mentioned instead of indicators, and our explanation for
such an attitude is related to the belief that teachers surveyed have: if they follow procedures, then they
would certainly ensure emotional comfort for the students they work with. Therefore, we ascertain a
strong adherence to the consensus resulting from studying and developing the education management.
However, among the answers teachers gave to the questionnaire, we noticed that innovative procedures
are mentioned, which may be listed as examples of good practice to ensure students’ emotional
comfort. We appreciate that they are mentioned because of the beneficial effects that occurred after
their implementation. They oppose conformism and complement what currently represents trends in
learning process management. We mention the following procedures that can be implemented by the
teacher: breathing exercises to reduce stress, singing a slower or a dynamic song to increase energy
level, creating conditions and valuing of the contexts in which students inform the teacher about what
they have not understood, without any trace of apprehension, or fear, in which they recognize their
mistakes made during the complex learning activity they perform in the school educational space.
Thus, we ascertain that, in order to ensure emotional, social and existential comfort for students they
work with, teachers are conditioned to engage diverse sources which, to a great extent, they do not
directly coordinate or are not in their power.
In accordance to the findings resulted from the analysis of teachers’ answers to the questionnaire,
we keep in mind that there is a tension that can be easily identified in school environment, between
pupil’s autonomy that teachers allow in the learning act and managing a learning programme that
allows pupil self-management exclusively within predetermined frames. Satisfying the students’ need
to succeed is combined in an interesting manner with procedures applied by teachers to allow their
students to be active.
- Blum, R.W& McNeely, C.A& Rinehart, P. (2002). Improving the untapped power of schools. , odds. The
- Center for Adolescent Health and DevelopmentBruner, J. (1996). Towards a theory of instruction. , R. (2005)
- (), NASSP Buletin
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14 May 2016
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Psychology, social psychology, group psychology, collective psychology, teaching, teaching skills, teaching techniques
Cite this article as:
Pestean, V. (2016). Consensus and tendencies in learning approach management. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences - icCSBs 2016, May, vol 8. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 172-177). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.05.18