Academic journal article Education

The Effect of a Professional Development Classroom Management Model on At-Risk Elementary Students' Misbehaviors

Academic journal article Education

The Effect of a Professional Development Classroom Management Model on At-Risk Elementary Students' Misbehaviors

Article excerpt

Statement of the Problem

The problem in this research study was that at-risk elementary school students in four grade levels had too many disruptive behaviors which interrupted classroom instruction. Many of these students had certain characteristics, specifically low-income, single-parent families and poverty; that, according to Donnelly (2007) classified students as being at-risk for academic failure.

Donnelly (2007) indicated that one of the struggles for at-risk students was learning how to function in a school environment with minimal interruptions due to misbehaving. Donnelly contended that some at- risk students were low academic achievers who exhibited low self-esteem. As a result, at- risk students became more problematic as they lagged behind other students relative to academic achievement.

Four grade levels (i.e., pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, second grade, and fifth) at the elementary school were targeted for this study because 136 of 259 (53%) discipline referrals were written by the 11 teachers who taught the four grade levels. 35% of the classroom teachers had the highest number of discipline referrals. The 11 teachers selected for this study taught 224 students in the four grade levels. Furthermore, a review of report card grades for the 224 students for three consecutive terms revealed a decline in grades. The teachers of the targeted kindergarten, second and fifth grade classes stated that some students might be retained if no academic improvements were made. These teachers attributed most of the academic problems to the students' inappropriate disruptive behaviors. Research studies have supported teachers' contention that students' disruptive behaviors contributed to academic problems (Sloat, Beswick, & Williams, 2007; Graham & Prigmore, 2009). Therefore, a reduction in at-risk student's misbehavior could have a positive effect on academic performance.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research study was to determine what effect the Professional Development Classroom Management Model (PDCMM) had on reducing at-risk elementary school students' misbehaviors. The study developed, implemented, and monitored a classroom management model to improve the classroom management skills of the 11 teachers who worked with the four targeted grade levels. Research studies demonstrated that teachers with improved classroom management skills had a more structured classroom that resulted in fewer student misbehaviors (Sterling, 2009; Desidero & Mullennix, 2005; Evertson & Meal, 2004).5/10 4:07 PM

Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

The Locus of Control Theory served as the theoretical framework for the research study. Graffeo and Silvestri (2006) documented that Locus of Control deals with a student's personal attribution of success or failure. Locus of Control can be external and internal. Internal Locus of Control students often felt their behavior and achievement were in submission to their personal control, while external Locus of Control students, such as the elementary school students in this research study, felt their behavior and achievement were dominated by the environment. According to the theory, at-risk elementary school students generally appeared to have an external Locus of Control orientation and did not perceive themselves as being fully in charge and responsible for their misbehaviors.

Graffeo and Silvestri (2006) mentioned that Locus of Control Theory revealed how academic achievement was based on external and internal forces that may be positive and negative. These two researchers noted a correlation between socioeconomic status and student achievement. Graffeo and Silvestri theorized that persons with a higher socio-economic status were more likely to take responsibility to achieve social and economic advancements. These persons tended to have an internal Locus of Control orientation. On the other hand, a person from a low socioeconomic status usually felt he or she was being controlled by the environment. …

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