Problem Statement: A revision of literature shows that there are studies focusing on student and teacher perceptions of classroom atmosphere; however, no research has been found to be related to teacher candidates’ perspectives on their behaviors in terms of positive classroom atmosphere. As teacher candidates are the main subject and the future organizers of the teaching environments, it is important to carry out a study on which variables of the classroom atmosphere they are aware.
Purpose of the Study: This study aims to investigate teacher candidates’ points of view about teacher behaviors influencing the classroom atmosphere. Also, this research intends to determine communication strategies that teacher candidates suggest about positive and effective classroom atmospheres.
Method: At a primary school education department of a state university, third-year students were told to prepare a report about the following questions: "According to you; how should the communicative and effective classroom context affect the classroom atmosphere?, What should teachers do? Discuss these issues through examples.” The study was based on 70 teacher candidates’ reports about these questions. In this research, content analysis—one of the qualitative research methods—was used.
Findings: It was seen that teacher candidates offered some strategies reinforcing a positive classroom atmosphere such as knowing students and the effective use of non-verbal messages and communication methods to struggle with unwanted classroom behaviors. In addition, it was emphasized that the teacher was an important factor in creating the classroom atmosphere. It was given importance that the classroom had to be considered as a democratic and social system and the teacher’s positive personal characteristics were highlighted.
Conclusion and Recommendations: It can be said that teacher candidates are, to some extent, aware of what should be done or should not be done in creating a positive classroom atmosphere; however, there are some points that they are lacking. Pre-service teacher training programmes should be re-arranged in order to compensate for these lacking points and to guide teacher candidates to a sense of awareness in their classes. In line with this, classroom management, teaching experience and teaching practice courses in the curriculum of pre-school education programmes should be revised through theory and practice entirety.
Keywords: Communication, positive classroom atmosphere, prospective teacher, classroom management