Breaking the silence
: teachers speak out about classroom behavioural problems

  • Anne-Marie Jacqueline Marias

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Too many teachers are struggling with students’ disengagement and behavioural problems in the classroom despite extensive research findings available to them on how to create a positive, harmonious learning environment: Why is this so?

    The aim of this research was to understand the realities faced by frontline practitioners particularly in middle school in order (1) to identify the barriers that limit a teacher’s chances of success in creating a positive learning environment and (2) to search for the ‘right drivers’ and ultimately the actions, sometimes small, that as ‘tipping points ‘can lead to significant improvements in the classroom.

    A qualitative methodology, namely a constructivist form of grounded theory was selected for this exploratory research study in order to develop insights and create a theory for action. The goal was to capture teachers’ voice and to use my own reflections and voice in the research.

    It was found that the silence about classroom behavioural problems needs to be addressed through a school culture of transparency, openness and collegial support, and the importance of classroom management needs to be recognised as a major teaching skill at the teacher, school and system level. A balanced leadership approach is recommended based (1) essentially on prevention but also (2) on positive, respectful intervention through logical consequences when preventative measures are insufficient to guarantee a lesson free from student misbehavior, and (3) on support provided to students with more challenging behaviours in order to assist them with the development of self discipline.

    It is the contention of this thesis that creating positive classroom learning environments is certainly achievable, and this reasonably quickly.

    Note: Please note that "Appendix 2: Transcript of interviews" is available in CD ROM only.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBrian Devlin (Supervisor) & Gregory Smith (Supervisor)

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