Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Teachers' and Students' Attitudes toward Disruptive Behaviour: A Comparative Analysis of England and Nigeria

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Teachers' and Students' Attitudes toward Disruptive Behaviour: A Comparative Analysis of England and Nigeria

Article excerpt

Disruptive behaviour among pupils in high school is currently one of the main challenges confronting the school system today. This is because it serves as a source of stress for teachers (Brouwers &Tomic, 2000) and impact negatively on learning because teachers spend too much time on order and control (Infantino & Little, 2005). Also, it weakens students' motivation and energy, dissolves trust and affects the relationship between teachers and students (Charles & Senter, 2005). However, promoting responsible behaviours helps to develop motivation and social skills (Pullis, 1991); academic performance and positive behavioural outcome (Ma & Willms, 2004).

The concepts of disruptive behaviour and disciplinary styles are very important areas of focus or consideration in the drafting of school discipline policies. It is very difficult to talk about school discipline without discussing conduct or behaviour and the appropriate interventions needed for order and control. Romi and Freud (1999) state that, "discipline is a system of sanctions that addresses the breakdown when the code of conduct is broken" (p. 54). Therefore, in this study, the author examined students and teachers perceptions toward disruptive behaviour and also compared the nationalities (British and Nigerian) of the participants.

Several studies have been conducted assessing different types of disruptive behaviour in the classroom and the perceptions of teachers toward these behaviours. Romi and Freud (1999) study employed a disruptive behaviour questionnaire to examine the attitudes of teachers, students and parents towards disruptive behaviour problems in high school and found that over 80% of teachers perceived some specific disruptive behaviours such as verbal and physical violence aimed at students, vandalism involving school property, infringements of school regulations, lies and rudeness to teachers were considered to be most severe. However, this is in contrast with Little's (2005) study which also used survey method to assess troublesome behaviours and discovered that 50% of teachers in junior levels (years 7 and 8) reported "talking out of turn" to be the most troublesome behaviour. It was followed by hindering other children (20%) and disobedience (15%). Teachers in the middle levels (years 9 and 10) also reported talking out of turn to be the most troublesome behaviour (35%), while hindering others and idleness were ranked equally (19%). But at the senior levels (years 11 and 12) there was a difference in result as 42% of teachers indicated idleness to be the most commonly reported behaviour problem, followed by talking out of turn (22%) and lack of punctuality (15%). Moreover, there was also a large gap in another study as the researchers interviewed Chinese teachers in order to examined classroom troublesome behaviour. They discovered that teachers perceived daydreaming to be the most troublesome behaviour (Ding, Li, Li & Kulm, 2008).

The differences in these three studies could be as a result of several factors. Firstly, three studies were conducted in different countries with different cultural backgrounds. The studies by Romi and Freud (1999), Little (2005) and Ding, Li, Li and Kulm (2008) involved teachers in Israel, Australia and China, respectively. Secondly, the participants were teachers teaching different grades or levels. For example, Little's (2005) study depicts a difference between teachers in Junior or middle levels and teachers at senior levels as regard perceptionss toward most troublesome behaviour. The age range and the class levels of the students might have impacted on teachers' attitudes toward these behaviours. Lastly, the methods used to ask questions and the way the questions were structured in each of the studies varied. Two of the studies (Little, 2005; Romi & Freud, 1999) employed the use of structured questionnaire with list of disruptive behaviours for teachers which might reflect socially desirable responses, while Ding et al. …

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