Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Values and Beliefs regarding Discipline Practices: How School Culture Impacts Teacher Responses to Student Misbehavior

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Values and Beliefs regarding Discipline Practices: How School Culture Impacts Teacher Responses to Student Misbehavior

Article excerpt

A teacher's positive sense of efficacy in a classroom is linked to positive experiences and outcomes, including the use of more developmentally appropriate teaching practices, such as positive classroom management techniques (Cousins & Walker, 2000; Guskey, 1987). Bandura (1994) defines efficacy as the way people see their ability to handle different occurrences in their lives. The researcher asserts that beliefs about self-efficacy affect decisions people make in their lives, their motivation levels, and how they deal with daily stress. A teacher's job is not an easy one. They have to meet many daily demands including welcoming the children, keeping them safe, reporting attendance, teaching a curriculum to a group of children with differentiated instructional and emotional needs, managing the classroom, administering and interpreting assessment tools, meeting the needs of children with delays and disabilities in their inclusive setting, collaborating with fellow teachers in planning and implementation, engaging and communicating with parents, and many more. It is without a doubt a stressful job.

A teacher's response to children's misbehavior may be characterized by reasoning, re-directing, mediating, or may include threatening and yelling, and at times even referrals to the principal's office. In the United States, corporal punishment (i.e., physical punishment) in schools is legal in 19 of the 50 states (Farrall, 2014). Discipline referrals to the principal's office are often referrals for physical punishment to be inflicted by the school administrator.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a teacher's sense of efficacy influences his/her attitude toward the use of physical punishment in schools. It is unknown whether a teacher's sense of efficacy is related to his/her attitude toward physical punishment. Kennedy (1995) suggested that the biggest predictor of teachers' use of physical punishment was a history of physical punishment administered by their parents. In order to understand how efficacy influences teachers' behaviors and the known outcomes of those actions, the term self-efficacy needs to be understood from a theoretical perspective by examining existing research.


According to Bandura (1977), if people do not feel a positive sense of efficacy about certain situations, they tend to stay away from those conditions because they do not believe they have the skills necessary to manage them appropriately. According to Baker (2005), teachers often give an account of experiencing "discipline related stress" when trying to manage children's misbehaviors. Not only does the way people view their efficacy influence their activities and surroundings, but it can help with the way they handle the situation if they also expect themselves to be successful (Bandura, 1977). Bandura explained that the expectation of being successful or unsuccessful controls how much energy people apply and the amount of time they spend facing the difficult or uncomfortable experience. If the person is in fact successful in the face of an obstacle, the individual's sense of efficacy is positively reinforced. The opposite is also true: when individuals end their efforts before they are successful, their fear and lack of efficacy are reinforced and can hinder efforts in future difficult situations. Just because individuals view themselves as being capable of performing successfully, does not mean that they will be successful, as there are other determining factors for a desired outcome. If the person is lacking necessary skills or capabilities, expecting to be successful is not going to be enough to actually perform successfully (Bandura, 1977). However, Bandura (1977) makes it clear that efficacy is a large determining factor in what situations a person will engage in, as well as their attitude towards it.

In an empirical review conducted by Ross (1998), teacher efficacy was found to be a predictor of students' selfesteem and pro-social attitudes, teachers' professional commitment, teacher stress, and classroom management strategies. …

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