Professional Teachers' Strategies for Promoting Positive Behaviour in Schools

Article excerpt


This study aims to obtain descriptive information on strategies used to promote positive behaviour in the school context from professional teachers' perspectives based on background information. The professional teachers, who play important roles in schools, include principals, class teachers, physical education teachers, discipline teachers, and counselors. The study design employed the survey approach using questionnaire with close-ended questions involving 319 respondents who were selected randomly from 15 urban national secondary schools in Malaysia. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics such as frequency and percentage. Results indicated that the majority of professional teachers used five positive behaviour enhancement strategies, namely treating pupils with respect, co-operating with the government agencies, encouraging pupils to actively participate in school activities, using more praise than criticism in schools and guiding pupils to find a solution to modify their behavioural problems. The data analysis shows that there is a difference in terms of the frequency of strategy use from professional teachers' perspectives based on background information. It is recommended that designing teacher training curriculum and in-service training in relation to positive behaviour enhancement strategies should be updated and appropriate with the professional teachers' needs, and also be congruent with their background information.

Keywords: professional teachers, positive behaviour enhancement, encouragement, engagement

1. Background

Pupils with behavioural problems pose a challenge in teaching profession. Some of the problematic behaviour that has been frequently discussed in past researches includes disruptive, off-task and anti-social behaviour. These behaviours have negatively affected the teaching and learning processes. Although teachers have been trained to face these challenges professionally, literature review revealed that each country has its own preference. The use of corporal punishment for instance, is illegal in most developed countries, but it is lawful in most developing countries. Corporal punishment is legally allowed in Malaysia, but it must be well monitored by the school principals. The philosophy behind the punishment is to educate pupils, not to harm them. However, past studies on that subject showed that pupils who were caned felt humiliated and harmed. Previous studies also suggest that there is a tendency for using a cane if it is lawful. This informs that, the government policy on positive behaviour enhancement has influenced teacher's action at a school level. However, it should be noted that teachers as professional teachers have options whether or not to use certain strategies. Choice theory posits that adults have abilities to make decision on their behaviour. In this case, teacher's preference in carrying out strategies is vital. It determines the types of strategies used for promoting positive behaviour. Therefore, teachers are supposed to have specific management and pedagogical skills to deal with diverse groups of pupils. It is insufficient for teachers to just master in subject content as they also should be competent in pedagogical skills. In multicultural classroom, teachers also must be sensitive to diversity in classroom. These include the knowledge on pupils' cultural backgrounds, pupils' physical and intellectual abilities, class environment, past knowledge of pupils and pupils' psychological wellbeing. Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke and Curran (2004) suggest that teachers must be aware that pupils' cultural background is a foundation in determining the effectiveness of teaching and learning. They use the concept of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management explaining the importance of teachers' sensitivity towards diverse group of pupils. The implementation of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management is viewed to be an effective strategy for promoting positive behaviour. …


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