Assisting Secondary Classroom Teachers’ Management of Student Behaviours: Effective Behavioural Management Policy and Managerial Support

Joanne Huckel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Within my qualitative investigation of a public secondary high school in rural New South Wales, I argue that discourse emphasising classroom teachers’ responsibility for student behaviour - one that can be traced to the current promotion of professional standards within Australia - has, in effect, worked to discount the need for development and implementation of supportive school-wide disciplinary/social practices in relation to management of ‘frequent, disruptive’ student classroom behaviours (fdsc behaviours). Using grounded theory and grounded action methodologies, I confirm that fdsc behaviours are categorically embedded in ‘talk’, ‘commitment’, ‘technology’, and ‘bullying’ issues; and, I extend this list of typologies to include, what I call, ‘impasse’ issues. I also confirm and extend the notion that misappropriation of teacher time - within and beyond the classroom - is a problematic derivative issue of systemically ‘unchecked’ fdsc behaviours. I demonstrate that the absence/inadequacy of systemic disciplinary/social support in relation to management of fdsc behaviours has served to exacerbate the existing adverse impact of fdsc behaviours on both the teaching-learning environment and the wellbeing of its inhabitants; indeed, in the absence of systemic support, student verbal abuse of classroom teachers has intensified, and teacher morale has diminished.
Ultimately, I identify two problematic organisational variables from which this two-fold adverse impact on classrooms is derived - specifically, the low organisational status of fdsc behaviours, and the organisational emphasis on teacher responsibility for fdsc behaviours. However, my interviewees (teachers and executives) propose school-wide practices that, in effect, would serve to counteract the negative impact of these problematic organisational variables. Herein, in spite of their frank tone and/or evident demoralisation, their clear longing for school-wide practices that promote and/or prioritise relationships, teacher and student wellbeing, teacher authority, and shared responsibility for students’ socialisation - such as positive behaviour support and restorative justice - is heartening. Both student learning and student wellbeing are critically dependent on teacher wellbeing, and, in turn, teacher wellbeing is critically dependent on effective school-wide disciplinary/social support. Discourse in relation to shared responsibility for student socialisation must not be overshadowed by discourse in relation to teacher responsibility for management of student behaviour. It takes a village to raise a child.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Reid, Jo-Anne, Principal Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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