Behavioural interactions in secondary classrooms between teachers and students: what they say, what they do
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 02:29 authored by Robyn Beaman
The focus of this thesis is troublesome classroom behaviour and the behavioural interactions between teachers and students in secondary school. Following a review of the extant research literature, Section A of the thesis reports a study examining the perceptions of 145 secondary teachers from New South Wales with regard to behaviours they find troublesome in their classrooms. Talking out of turn was clearly identified as the classroom behaviour of most concern, most frequently occurring and, importantly, the main misbehaviour of the most troublesome individual students. In two studies completed in parallel, it was similarly shown that teachers who identified themselves as having particular difficulties with classroom behaviour, or who had identified ten percent or more of their class as troublesome, experienced higher levels of stress related to classroom behaviour and their students perceived the classroom environment to be characterised by differential treatment of students. Section B of the thesis comprises observational studies of teachers and classroom behaviour with a substantial focus on student and teacher gender. Reviews of the literature on teachers' "natural" use of approval and disapproval and on differential teacher behaviour towards boys and girls were followed by two parallel studies. The first study, involving 79 New South Wales secondary school teachers and their classes, showed that while teachers typically responded to students with more approval than disapproval, almost all approval was reserved for academic behaviour whereas approval for appropriate classroom behaviour was very infrequent. Teachers typically reprimanded students for inappropriate behaviour at a very high rate. The second study showed that boys attracted far more teacher responses than girls but that most of this involved reprimands for inappropriate behaviour. Section C of the thesis relates teacher perceptions to observed classroom behaviour. It was concluded that in classes with larger numbers of troublesome students there was reduced academic feedback to students and where teachers' rates of negative responding were higher there was a reduced perception of participation by students.