Supportive Learning Environments – Week 7

So, onto behaviour management and this week, Challenging Behaviours.

In a couple of weeks I have to put together a 2000 word report outlining a management plan for a beginning teacher. This is a start of that process. Am already feeling the tension between the well-meaning theory and the constraints of practice after only 2 days of EPL (embedded professional learning, i.e. prac teaching).

Challenging behaviours

Mmm, the textbook chapter while containing some good information seemed to be really poorly structured, at least in order to help novices get a sense for the topic. I keep coming across this in education related literature. Am wondering if this is due to a dissonance between me and the structures used by education folk, or whether some education folk are really bad at structure.

It seems Bill Rogers is a bit of a name in the area, at least in Commonwealth countries. It was interesting to come across a couple of YouTube videos – like the following taking a gentle (perhaps not so gentle) poke at his approaches.

Okay, onto a more academic introduction with Chapter 1 of

Jones, V.F., & Jones, L.S. (2001). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems. (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Which starts witha collection of quotes expressing the importance of classroom management, not surprising given the topic of the book. This is probably the pick (god I hate secured PDF documents preventing copy and paste for sections)

The findings show that teachers who approach classroom management as a process of establishing and maintaining effective learning environments tend to be more successful than teachers who place more emphasis on their roles as authority figures or disciplinarians. — Good and Brophy (1994)

Wang, Haertel & Walberg (1993) – meta-analysis of factors influencing student learning identified classroom management as the most important factor…..a lot of US-based research showing discipline (or the lack thereof) a major concern for parents, teachers etc….now more citing that violence, intimidation etc does occur in schools….and now increase in students “talking back” and decrease in parents supporting teachers….teachers become victims of crimes (male teachers more likely)..1997 list of behaviours that happen most of the time/fairly often:

  • Schoolwork/homework assignments not completed – 71%
  • Behaviour the disrupts class – 58%.
  • Talking back/disobeying – SO% (not that’s not a type the poor OCR on the scan produces S, which is probably meant to either 2 or 5, based on surrounding figures, must be 5).
  • Truancy – 41%

Mmm, stating the obvious? Teachers find aggressive behaviour that interrupts classroom events as most stressful.

And here’s a unsurprising, but somewhat troubling quote (p. 7)

Simply stated, students’ learning is directly related to classroom order.

I’m somewhat troubled by the notion of “order” and its negative connotations in terms of removing creativity etc.

Some discussion of social factors leading to behaviour problems….but schools and teachers can make a difference….a quote that suggests that prevention of failure at school encompasses prevention of delinquency….research suggesting schools/teachers make a difference in skills…but also a downside from Wayson and Pinnell (1982, p. 117)

When discipline problems occur in school, they can more often be traced to dysfunctions in the interpersonal climate and organisational patterns of the school than to malfunctions in the individual. In short, misbehaving students are often reacting in a predictable and even sensibel way to the school as it affects them as as they have learned to perceive and react to it..better behaviour may be taught more easily by alterning patterns of roles and relationnships in the school organisation than by viewing and treating the student as a pathological problem.

And here’s mention of the authors’ 1981 model

in order to facilitate positive student behaviour, schools must attend to the issues of

  1. creating personally positive, supportive environments.
  2. meeting students’ need for meaningful academic tasks.
  3. and using discipline methods that incorporate the 3Rs
    • Recognition of wrongdoing
    • regret or emphatic understanding of why the act was inappropriate
    • reconciliation of relationship

..scary quote..”the majority of students in US schools have, at some time in their school history, experienced altreatment by an educator to the extent that the student has experienced symptoms of stress” (Lambert, 1990; Hyman & Perone, 1998).

More interesting research from Stanford (Phelan, Davidson & Cao, 1992, p. 696)

We find that, despite negative outside influences, students from all achievement levels and sociocultural backgrounds want to succeed and want to be in an environment in which it is possible to do so.

Onto social context, e.g. students with strong potential to have behaviour problems have low social skills. A class context can be seen as containing high risk/anxiety for these students…large group of peers, new activities etc.

Discussion of successful schools, a series of schools in Germany employed the following

  • Homegeneous home group.
  • 6 teachers had the same group of 85-90 students for 6 years and responsible for entire education.

Good results. Similar in work from Deborah Meier which had 2 hour interdisciplinary classess, had exhibitions of projects…more real world.

Ahh, I was wanting this – different conceptions of classroom management

  1. The counselling approach.
    Focus on what to do after the student misbehaved. Understanding problem, helping students understand etc. Focus on psychology, counselling.
  2. Behaviouristic methods.
    i.e. behaviour modification techniques e.g. ignore inappropriate behaviour while reinforcing appropriate behaviour, writing contracts, using time out procedures…..state clear expectations, quietly and consistently punish disruptive students, get group reinforcement for on-task behaviour.
  3. Teacher-effectiveness research.
    The current move to prevention. Focus on 3 sets of behaviours to influence student behaviour and learning
    1. skills in organising and managing classroom activities.
      ..reference to Kounin 1970 book (1100 citations on Google scholar) Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms which showed through video-tape analysis little difference between “good” and “bad” classroom managers after bad behaviour. But significant difference before…reinforced by other work, including later work that showed how much of the ground work was laid during the first few weeks of school, in both primary and secondary schools.
    2. skills in presenting instructional material.
      Mention made of Hunter’s ITIP program. Misc other mentions of good practice, including: cooperative work including Teams-Games-Tournaments approach, learning styles type approaches
    3. teacher-student relationships
      Two approaches: influence of the frequency/quality of teacher/student interactions; and, personal, affective dimension of relations. Communication of high expectations arises here.

And as you expect, once there are three separate approaches that seem to cover the topic, the solution is to combine them all….”An integration of approaches”. And evidence of these can be seen in the school I’m doing EPL at. Also evidence of evolution of each approach – e.g. the adoption of more cognitive behaviourism…self-management etc. The third approach has been criticised for being an exercise in control through routines, downplaying relationships.

And here are the five knowledge and skill areas for effective implementation of comprehensive class management

  1. Based on current class management research and theory, and on personal and psychological needs of students.
  2. Depends on positive teacher-student and peer relationships that create communities of support.
  3. Involves the use of instructional methods that facilitate optimal learning by responding to needs of individual students and the class.
  4. Using methods that involve students in developing and committing to behavioural standards that create a safe community and clear classroom organisation.
  5. Requires use of a range of counseling and behavioural methods that involve students in examining and correcting their inappropriate behaviour.

And later on some argument about instructivist versus constructivist approaches.

And onto teacher training…a number of studies have found that preservice teachers feel poorly prepared in classroom management (Goodlad, 1990; Wesley & Vocke, 1992)…..the diverse collection of class management approaches leads to most teacher training presenting theoretical approaches and providing tips. Suggested there are problems with this approach

  • Little research evidence for many of the models (e.g. assertive discipline, teacher-effectiveness training, Adlerian-based approaches) presented intexts.
    Emmer and Aussiker (1987) review suggests “only limited support for teacher training in models”.
  • Focus on isolated models emphasising responding to disruptive behaviour suggest misbehaviour is inevitable.

Comprehensive models, as above, seen as important. Also points out the importance of assistance (e.g. other teachers) when problems continue.

Pygmalion effect

And onto a part of this reading

Rogers, B. (Ed.) (2004). How to manage children’s challenging behaviour. London: Paul Chapman

by the same Bill Rogers the above video was lampooning just a bit.

Which currently seems to be a long-winded way of saying that staff expectations, often based on frustration, have a self-fulfilling tendency. Is my “expectation” of Rogers being influenced by the video above and my own cynical nature?

And another reading

Little, E. (2003). Kids behaving badly: Teacher strategies for classroom behaviour. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Nothing particularly ground breaking.

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