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The Relationship between Teachers’ Well-Being and Orientations toward Student Behavior Challenges from an Interdisciplinary Perspective Grounded in Neurobiology

Alexa Yunes-Koch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Student behavior challenges are a critical issue for public school teachers, and the current crisis in teacher well-being is due largely in part to those problems (e.g., Zamarro, 2021). Research has found that teacher and student well-being are two sides of the same coin (e.g., Roffey, 2012), and teachers’ orientations toward challenging student behaviors have been explored (e.g., Glock & Kleen, 2019), but the connection between well-being and orientations has not been made. Additionally, an interdisciplinary framework grounded in neurobiology has not been employed to analyze teachers’ orientations. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between teacher well-being and orientations toward student behavior challenges and to analyze the extent to which teachers’ orientations preclude or promote autonomic safety and neural integration as per a new framework grounded in neurobiology, psychology, and education. This is an online survey study, with an explanatory mixed methods design, where quantitative measures (burnout, job satisfaction, well-being, and happiness) were used to group teachers, and open-ended vignette data was thematically analyzed across those groups. The vignette featured a teacher struggling with student behavior, and participants were asked to share their thoughts and the ways in which the teacher should respond. Findings from this study suggest that teachers’ orientations likely preclude autonomic safety and neural integration, and that there is indeed a relationship between teachers’ orientations to student behavior challenges and teachers’ well-being. This study emphasizes the need for more interdisciplinary research in education that embraces neurobiological insights, and results highlight the need for better teacher training in regard to understanding student behavior and how to create positive learning environments for teachers and students.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Yunes-Koch, Alexa, "The Relationship between Teachers’ Well-Being and Orientations toward Student Behavior Challenges from an Interdisciplinary Perspective Grounded in Neurobiology" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI30000061.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI30000061

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