A closer look: Head Start teacher's perception, practices and performance
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Research suggests that classroom behavior management is most effective when teachers use positive strategies. However, much of the research on the effectiveness of classroom behavior management relies on self-report, which may not correspond to actual use of particular strategies. The current study attempted to study the parameters of teacher self-report and examine the use of positive and negative strategies as it relates to teacher burnout and student behavior. Ninety-six lead teachers who worked at Head Start preschools throughout Erie County were recruited to participate in the study. Teachers completed three questionnaires and were observed in their classrooms by independent observers. Pearson correlations, linear regressions, and Steiger's Z was used to analyze the data. The findings indicated that teachers self-report of classroom strategies did not accurately reflect actual practice. In addition, findings indicated that whereas individual observed strategies were a better predictor of challenging behaviors than self-report, teachers' self-reports of classroom strategies were a better predictor of burnout than observed classroom strategies after controlling for challenging behaviors. These findings have implications for the assessment and training of preschool teachers working with at-risk children.