Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Development of a Scale for Measuring Teachers' Attitudes toward Students' Inappropriate Behaviour

Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Development of a Scale for Measuring Teachers' Attitudes toward Students' Inappropriate Behaviour

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed at developing a valid and reliable instrument for measuring attitudes of primary schoolteachers toward inappropriate student behaviour. A systematic approach was used to develop the scale. Results provide preliminary evidence that the new instrument (consisting of 13 items on a six-point Likert type scale) meets the standards for reliability. Factor analysis with varimax rotation identified two distinct factors: (1) unproductive behaviour, and (2) aggressive behaviour. The alpha reliability coefficient was found to be 0.91 for the total scale, and 0.92 and 0.75 for first and second subscales respectively. The factor structure was tested using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), which revealed that with a little modification, the identified model had a good fit for the data as all the key fit indices demonstrate highly accepted values including Goodness-of-Fit Index (GFI)>.95, Comparative Fit Index (CFI)>.96, and Root Mean Error of Approximation (RMSEA)< .05.

Key words: teacher attitudes; inappropriate student behaviour; primary school; instrument development.

Introduction

Inappropriate student behaviour is one of the most significant factors that adversely affect teachers' attitudes (Monsen, Ewing & Kwoka, 2014; Yuen & Westwood, 2001) and their emotional wellbeing (Anderson, 2012; Angus, McDonald, Ormond, Rybarcyk, Taylor & Winterton, 2009; Clunies-Ross, Little & Kienhuis, 2008). Consequently, teachers appeared to develop a sense of rejecting the students who display inappropriate behaviour in the classroom (Erbas, Turan, Aslan & Dunlap, 2010; Graham, Van Bergen & Sweller, 2015; Henricsson & Rydell, 2004) and in some cases, teachers may withdraw themselves from their profession (Bas, 2011). Research suggests that inappropriate student behaviour can also have a negative impact on the learning and engagement of all students (Austin & Agar, 2005; McIntosh, Flannery, Sugai, Braun & Cochrane, 2008; Miller, Ferguson & Byrne, 2000), not only those who exhibit inappropriate behaviour (Arcia, 2007; Hossain, 2013; Lane, Barton-Arwood, Nelson & Wehby, 2008; Sugai & Horner, 2009). Inappropriate behaviour was reported to be a key reason for overall instructional as well as administrative time loss of schools (Clunies-Ross, Little & Kienhuis, 2008; Godwin, Almeda, Petroccia, Baker & Fisher, 2013, OECD, 2012)

Previous studies have also found that while inappropriate student behaviour can negatively impact teacher's responses (Anand, 2014; Durrant & Ensom, 2012; Jensen, Sandoval-Hernandez, Knoll & Gonzalez, 2012; Sullivan, Johnson, Owens & Conway, 2014), teachers' inappropriate behaviours can influence students to behave inappropriately in the classroom (Angus et al., 2009; LeBlance, Swisher, Vitaro & Tremblay, 2007; Sullivan, 2009). It is evident that one of the most significant factors impacting on teachers' behaviours in the classroom is attitude (Armitage & Conner, 2001; Yan & Sin, 2014).

Research shows that students who display inappropriate classroom behaviour are likely to be at risk of exclusion from regular schools in various contexts around the world including Australia (Van Bergen, Graham, Sweller & Dodd, 2015; Graham et al., 2015), Canada (Alberta Education, 2009 as cited in Wishart & Jahnukainen, 2010, p. 184), and the USA (Kauffman, 2008). Educational researchers have argued that one of the vital reasons for the exclusion of students exhibiting inappropriate behaviour could be linked with attitudes teachers hold toward these students (e.g. see Koutrouba, 2013; Marais & Meier, 2010). Hence teachers' attitudes are an important element that needs to be investigated with care based on systematically developed instruments.

Why Teachers' Attitudes are Vital to Understanding Students' Behavioural Issues

Teachers' attitudes determine how they teach their students in the classroom (Benish & Bramllet, 2011). …

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