Teacher responses to violence in the junior secondary school

  • Edward Christopher Dias

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    One of the major blocks to learning in schools is disruptive and violent behaviour. Violence usually stems from some form of harassment or is a response to it. Harassment and its results appear to be major distractions from the learning process. This study sets out to gain some insight into the degree to which violence in our schools is ingrained and how we respond to it.

    Data have been published on school suspensions in Northern Territory government schools between 1990 and 1995. While suspension and exclusion from schools are by no means the only responses to violent incidents they do provide a scale of comparison of perceptions of severity of incidents. The published data also provides information on the frequency of suspensions for various types of incidents. These data are contrasted to teacher and principal perceptions.

    Perceptions of teachers of middle school (years 8-10) in Darwin area comprehensive government schools are sought on frequency and severity of six types of violent incident. These perceptions are compared with responses of principals and assistant principals to scenarios depicting each type of violent incident. Both sets of perceptions are compared with those of trainee teachers.

    Results of the surveys and comparison with departmental data show the effect of gender constructions on responses to violence, divergence between teacher perceptions and actual rates of suspension, consistency between schools in use of suspensions, differing perceptions of particular teacher groups and differing perceptions of different types of violence.

    Recommendations include a reduction in the use of suspensions, particularly for spontaneous incidents and establishment of whole school approaches in anti harassment education, staff development and school structuring to produce non violent climates in schools.
    Date of AwardMay 1997
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDarol Cavanagh (Supervisor)

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