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Primary teachers’ understanding of and responses to inappropriate student behaviour in Bangladesh
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posted on 23.02.2017by Malak, Md Saiful
Inappropriate student behaviour has a direct influence on teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy and their emotional wellbeing. Research suggests that teachers’ perceptions of what constitutes inappropriate student behaviour and their responses vary widely from one cultural context to another, from school to school within similar contexts, and can even vary from classroom to classroom within a school. This study investigated the viewpoints of primary schoolteachers in Bangladesh regarding inappropriate student behaviour and how they responded to students they perceived to be behaving inappropriately in their classrooms. This study also investigated variables that potentially influence teachers’ intentions to teach students who display inappropriate behaviour in their classrooms.
This study was conducted in two phases using mixed methods design. Phase 1 was qualitative in nature. Its purpose was to investigate teachers’ understanding and responses with regard to inappropriate student behaviour. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 teachers from six government primary schools located in one district. Thematic analysis technique was employed to analyse interview data. Themes arising from qualitative analysis contributed to the development of two questionnaires for Phase 2: Teacher’ Attitudes toward Students’ Inappropriate Behaviour, and Perceived School Support for Teaching Students Displaying Inappropriate Behaviour.
Phase 2 was conducted using quantitative research design. Its purpose was to examine teachers’ attitudes, efficacy beliefs and perceived level of support regarding inappropriate student behaviour, and to understand factors influencing their intentions to teach students whose behaviour is inappropriate in the regular classroom. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) was used as a conceptual framework to understand the relationships of teachers’ attitudes, efficacy beliefs, perceived support and intentions. A five-stage cluster sampling method was used to select the participants (n = 1090 teachers) from 263 government primary schools located in three subdistricts in one educational region. A cross-sectional survey consisting of five parts including four scales (e.g. teachers’ attitudes, efficacy beliefs, perceived support and intentions) and a demographic questionnaire was used to collect data.
Findings indicated that inappropriate student behaviour was conceptualised by the majority of teachers as ‘deviant’, ‘intentional’, ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unlikely to change’. A list of eight behaviours was identified by teachers as inappropriate (e.g. ‘complaining against peers’ and ‘lack of respect for teacher’), some of which have not been reported by previous research. It was found that the majority of teachers seemed to be largely unaware of positive approaches to responding to inappropriate student behaviour. Teachers’ perceptions, understanding and responses regarding inappropriate behaviour still seemed to be based on the previous disciplinary model, which has recently been removed from schools. A feeling of helplessness emerged from teachers’ views for not being able to use punitive strategies to address inappropriate student behaviour in the classroom.
The findings of this study also revealed that primary schoolteachers held slightly positive attitudes, moderately high levels of efficacy beliefs and perceived slightly low levels of support regarding students who display inappropriate behaviour in the classroom. Level of training satisfaction as one of eight background variables was found to be a significant predictor of teachers’ attitudes and perceived school support. This study further revealed that attitudes and efficacy beliefs appeared to be significant predictors of teachers’ intentions to teach students who exhibit inappropriate behaviour in classrooms. All three predictive variables (attitudes, efficacy beliefs and perceived support) accounted for 59% of the variance in teachers’ intentions.
This study has implications for policy makers and university educators as well as school educators as to how teachers can be better prepared for addressing inappropriate student behaviour in classrooms. Findings regarding predictive variables indicate that attitudes and efficacy variables are interrelated. Proper training is thereby warranted for both pre-service and in-service teachers. Findings also indicated that teachers having higher levels of satisfaction regarding training appeared to hold significantly higher levels of attitudes toward inappropriate student behaviour compared to those with lover levels of satisfaction. The training variable needs to be further investigated thoroughly. One suggestion might be that evidence based positive approach can be incorporated in existing training curricula to see how it impacts on teachers to address inappropriate student behaviour in the regular classroom in Bangladesh.