Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Teachers' Attitudes towards Behaviour Patterns in Social Conflicts in Primorsko-Goranska County in Croatia

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Teachers' Attitudes towards Behaviour Patterns in Social Conflicts in Primorsko-Goranska County in Croatia

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many authors support the idea that teachers, through their behaviour in school, implicitly mediate their values and attitudes to their pupils (Gordon, 1982; McDiarmid, 1987; Verhoeve, 2008; Hodkinson, 2005; Weldon, 2010; Zembylas, 2011). By observing their teachers/models, pupils can learn new forms of behaviour, solidify pre-existing ones and (de)motivate themselves to perform (un)desirable behaviours. Accordingly, the fundamental question of our research paper is to obtain insight into the attitudes of primary school teachers towards behaviour patterns in situations of social conflict.

Experience, through which pupils learn the sum of conditionally parallel interaction processes that occur as part of interpersonal relations and everyday life with their teacher, through teacher's verbal and non-verbal behaviour, has a significant impact on shaping pupils' behaviour and character. Therefore, the relationship between pedagogical intention and pedagogical result (in curriculum terminology: educational output), can be understood only by accepting this invisible reality, the hidden curriculum (Bloom, 1972; Seddon, 1983; Cindric et al., 2010; Miljak, 2007; Basic, 2000; Jancec, Tatalovic Vorkapic, & Lepicnik Vodopivec, 2014). What is learnt through the hidden curriculum remains in memory for a longer time as it is pervasive and present throughout the entirety of one's education. Thus, the lessons of the hidden curriculum are part of daily experiences that become embedded (Husen & Postlethwaite, 1994, as cited in Dolar Bahovec, & Bregar Golobic, 2004).

The teacher's values and views do not always have to be clearly expressed in the tasks teacher sets, or in the formal curriculum, but can be also reflected in the teaching style, the manner in which a class is organised and in various other factors that influence the pupil's behaviour. However, in this paper, we are interested in one specific segment of the teacher's value system, the one that is most likely expressed through the hidden curriculum: teacher's attitudes toward behaviour in conflict resolution.

The structural definition of attitude states that an attitude is formed by an individual's beliefs and values and thus influences the intention behind a certain form of behaviour in a specific situation (Pennington, 1997). We understand these attitudes, as possible effects on pupils. Pupils learn from their social environment and are socialized through observational learning (Bandura, 1978, 1986), as a part of the hidden curriculum. Figure 1 gives a visual depiction of this theoretical model, with the one-way arrows representing observational learning, and the two-way arrow representing the process of social interaction between the teacher and his/her pupil. The purpose of the model is to clarify our theoretical understanding of teacher's attitudes towards behaviour patterns in social conflicts in the school and pre-school environments.

A social conflict is a legal form of exhibiting differences and normal elements of communication processes while also offering a possibility for personal and social improvement and representing an area of systematic scholarly research and effective management (Vlah, 2010). Therefore, conflict as a contradiction to our current values, expectations, and goals, whatever these might be, has to be dealt with in the context changes in attitudes and behaviours applied to the interactions between school teachers and pupils, colleagues, parents, and others. According to conflict resolution theory (Thomas & Kilman, 1977; Wilmot & Hocker, 1998; Weeks, 2000), social conflicts can be beneficial and useful if and when the participants of social conflicts have been quality prepared for constructive behaviour regarding their attitudes and communication skills (Galtung, 2000).

Conflict resolution theory (Weeks, 2000) is based on the values of the Western civilizational and cultural circle (Altras & Penda, 2005), which upholds values, such as respecting human and civil rights, preserving a healthy environment, creating a new order of freedom, safety and security, respecting cultural diversity, establishing cooperation in all areas among equal nations, freely expressing thought and creating all the necessary preconditions for the elimination of all forms of discrimination (based on gender, ethnic, confessional, social and other grounds). …

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