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Exploring teacher perspectives on the relationship between teacher-student interactions and the classroom engagement of students with behavioural difficulties
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 00:49 authored by Phillip Good
This research employed a qualitative design to examine two dimensions of teachers’ experiences with students presenting with challenging behaviours: teachers-student interaction, and classroom engagement. A total of 15 teachers from three Catholic schools were involved in the study, five teachers from each participating school. The three schools included: (1) a coeducational primary school; (2) a mainstream secondary school for boys; and (3) a special behavioural secondary school for boys. The study employed one-on-one semi-structured teacher interviews. Teachers’ own classroom experiences, along with their perceptions of the impact of the wider school context on outcomes for students with behavioural difficulties, were examined. An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach was used in the analysis of interview data. Findings: A narrative of caring for the wellbeing of students with challenging behaviour was embedded in the interview data from all fifteen teachers. The teachers reported the complexity of student behavioural challenges and factors that inhibited positive teacher-student interaction and relationships, as well as consequences for not meeting school expectations. However, developing caring and positive relationships with students - giving them a voice, providing students with clear expectations, rules and boundaries – was seen as key to the formation of positive teacher-student interactions, positive student classroom engagement, and an optimal environment for learning. Limitations: This research was limited by the relatively small participant numbers, and it may be that the emphasis on caring reflected a philosophical approach emphasised and reinforced within the Catholic school system.