Guide Behaviour Matters For Teachers: Understanding Behaviour in Schools

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In the light of the above the data are interpreted as follows. Interpretation and discussion of the data. It became clear from the findings that disruptive behaviour in the Foundation Phase poses a major challenge for educators and threatens the existence and survival of the system. An important discovery made during the research and which related to all types of disruptive behaviour was a lack of parental care and adult role models in society.

Guidance regarding disruptive behaviour is deeply embedded within the values and beliefs of the family. It is primarily in the family where learners learn to act morally. It seems as if ethical principles and convictions are neglected at home.

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Parents may have fallen between two stools: in the sense that they have not internalised the conceptual framework and mindset of people living in a typical western industrialised nation-state, nor are they 'traditional' - they are neither one nor the other. In many instances they are merely 'detribalised'. They have to forge a new identity in a bewildering, head spinning modern world rushing headlong into the unknown.

If parents avoid their responsibilities towards the moral upbringing of their children, disruptive behaviour in homes and in schools will be inevitable. These statements confirm the findings of Rayment as well as those of Wolhuter and Oosthuizen Other manifestations of disruptive behaviour are disrespect towards teachers, and using bad language.

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These findings are consistent with results obtained by Levin and Nolan The findings have also proved that serious disruptive behaviour, such as fighting consistent with the findings of Rayment, , bullying consistent with the findings of Bott and Neser et al. These examples of disruptive behaviour are part of an "ordinary" school day and teachers have to deal with this kind of serious disruptive behaviour all the time. A learner's disruptive behaviour is a call for help and at the same time is a serious challenge to the survival of the school as a system. Families, schools and society are not simply a collection of people but consist of people plus their relationships.

Thus social systems that are dependent on each other are influenced by each other, and have a responsibility to assist other systems to keep healthy. Because the learner is inherently dependent on other systems for his or her own health and survival, other systems like the family and society need to exercise and promote positive behaviour in the learner.

It is futile, however, if one system, e. Each system therefore needs to maintain its own health and must be able to change in order to positively shape a learner's life. Once common causes of disruptive behaviour and the system s in which they originate are understood, it becomes easier to deal with the learner and to take action to prevent similar misbehaviour in future. Systems rely on other systems for sustenance, maintenance and growth.

The hit and miss of dealing with disruptive behaviour in schools | EduResearch Matters

Therefore educators need concrete strategies to manage the identified causes of disruptive behaviour. Such management is central to effective teaching and learning in the school system. All educators know it is impossible to teach misbehaving learners. Furthermore, a learner's dignity, self-respect and self-esteem cannot develop in an environment where discipline is not maintained. Strategies for managing disruptive behaviour.

Respondents' testimony points to a lack of parental care, lack of parental involvement, and lack of role models as a significant cause of disruptive behaviour. Parents should be examples of pure values and convictions. Learners pattern their responses after adult behaviour and parents, teachers and caregivers should ask themselves the following questions from time to time: "Are my values worth following and do I transmit ethical principles to children?

Are children important to me and am I making time for them in my life? Am I a responsible role model for children in my care? Disrupting classroom activities, disrespect for teachers and using bad language. It is imperative that teachers adopt a proactive, context driven approach to managing disruptive behaviour in an effort to positively redirect learners' behaviour. The point of departure should always be the enhancement of developmentally appropriate guidance and curriculum material.


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According to Gordon and Browne , , it is important to identify typical behaviour of a specific age group as a benchmark against which to measure and understand learners' behaviour. Behaviour can then be seen as predictable and can be countered accordingly. Guidance, based on a developmental approach , assists educators to know that first and second graders already have the ability to consider others' points of view, so they would choose problem solving methods that motivate their learners to think of how their behaviour affects others.

Enthusiasm for the curriculum and thorough preparation would help to avoid the situation where learners subconsciously switch off. Educators should bear in mind that children in the Foundation Phase still love games, and if learning is made interesting by developing joyful, interactive learning resources, the learners will be more attentive in class Rayment, Neutralising attention-seeking behaviour, perhaps by a simple change of tone of voice or statements and extended commands to the whole class can be effective.

According to Rayment , the key here is to play on the learner's instinctive desire to take part in classroom events. All teachers need to model correct behaviour. If teachers yell at learners, while exhorting them not to yell, learners are taught that "undesirable" behaviour is appropriate when you are an adult or if you have the power in your hands Gootman, Fighting, bullying, and vandalism.

The importance of rules can never be overemphasised. Having class rules enables learners to understand what kind of behaviour is expected from them. Distributing these rules and guidelines in print reinforces this understanding Rayment, Rules can be displayed as written notices on walls, floors, and along pathways and passages throughout the school premises, including toilets, and can even be hung from classroom ceilings. These rules should be read aloud by all the learners on a daily basis.

Once rules are set, educators should enforce them rigorously. Rules should be few in number, easily understood, justifiable and enforceable. Sproson sp refers to these as high level rules no learner participation in setting policies and low level rules negotiation with all stakeholders, even learners and suggests that both high and low level rules should be taught to learners in preprimary and primary schools. When dealing with fighting, the first thing to assess is the implication of injuries.

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The teacher is responsible for protecting the safety of learners. The best way to manage fighting is to remove the victim. The other learner then has no one to fight with. It is also important to prevent the bystanders from becoming part of the situation Rayment, The problem of fighting can also be addressed by drawing the attention of learners to the consequences of fighting by means of anti-fighting posters, class discussions and group projects.

These should be integrated into lesson plans, lesson activities and plays. Parent involvement in this regard is crucial. One of the strategies to manage bullying, according to Bott , is the joint setting of classroom rules by learners and teachers regarding relationships. Even young children in the Foundation Phase are able to describe how they should treat each other.

Teachers should also organise group discussions in their classrooms where issues such as name-calling and words that cut others down are discussed. Bott also suggests that learners should list words that hurt them, such as stupid, dumb, skinny, fat or retarded. These words are name-calling and the rule should be that namecalling is forbidden.

Behaviour Support

Reading a story to the learners about bullying is also an excellent strategy to help them understand the nature of bullying and how to report it to an adult and even help one another to stand up to a bully. Bott proposes the name it, claim it, stop it strategy.

Name it : the teacher repeats what the bully said to the victim; claim it : the teacher explains the disruptive behaviour and reprimands the bully; stop it : the teacher firmly dictates that such language needs to stop. Furthermore, all stakeholders in education should be involved in managing disruptive behaviour: policy makers at national, provincial and local level, school principals, teachers, personnel providing specialist support systems, parents and society at large.

There should be collaborative goal setting for developing skills and abilities to be used for teacher training programmes, and barriers between role players should be eliminated. New knowledge gained by continuously evaluating disruptive behaviour should be introduced to manage strategies communicated to student teachers in the formal training process so that they will be able to manage discipline in the Foundation Phase schools once they enter the teaching profession.

The key to addressing disruptive behaviour lies within a systems theory approach which involves a shift of focus from objects to relationships and from individuals to communities. The learner should always be viewed as part of a system, comprising a group of interrelated and dynamically interactive elements.

The complete picture of the system resembles a tapestry woven from many factors e. Individual behaviour should therefore always be assessed within the context in which it occurred.