What does Ms. Rollison need to understand about student behavior?
Page 1: Effects of Disruptive Behavior
Like most other beginning teachers, Ms. Rollison is thrilled to meet her students and implement all that she has learned about classroom instruction. At the same time, she is a little concerned about her ability to deal with disruptive or unruly behavior. And, in fact, Ms. Rollison’s concerns are well founded. Effectively managing disruptive classroom behavior is a challenge for beginning and experienced teachers alike.
- For over two decades, results of the Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools have indicated that discipline issues are a primary concern.
(Jones & Jones, 2007)
- A common concern among beginning teachers is that they lack the skills to address disruptive behavior.
(Oliver & Reschly, 2007; Jones & Jones, 2007)
- Though classroom management remains an important concern among almost all new teachers, many preservice teachers consider the amount of instruction they receive on the topic to be insufficient. What instruction they do receive they tend to see as overly abstract or too divorced from a realistic classroom setting.
- In a special analysis of data collected from teachers by the U.S. Department of Education, 53% of teachers who transferred to another school reported student behavior as their reason for doing so, and 44% of those who left the profession reported this as a reason for leaving.
(U.S. Department of Education, 2005)
Michael Rosenberg, a researcher and expert in behavioral interventions, relates the story of his first morning as a teacher (time: 1:59).
Michael Rosenberg, PhD
Professor of Special Education, Associate Dean of Research
Johns Hopkins University
Many beginning teachers can relate to Michael Rosenberg’s experience. Though they are prepared to use instructional strategies and to make sure that all students excel academically, many beginning teachers are not adequately prepared to deal with disruptive student behavior. In fact, some first-time teachers have naive expectations about their students and how they will behave in class. These teachers often believe that if they demonstrate a caring attitude…
[S]tudents will make responsible choices and will behave appropriately—they will be orderly, courteous, respectful, honest, considerate of property and others, willing to work, and relatively quiet.
In fact, this is rarely, if ever, the case. Although many disruptive behaviors are minor (e.g., talking, being out of seat without permission), they are often persistent. In addition to these minor infractions—also referred to as surface behaviors—teachers sometimes encounter more serious behavior problems such as defiance or aggression. Whether minor or more serious, these kinds of problem behaviors are disruptive. Disruptive behavior is any that interferes with a teacher’s ability to effectively provide instruction and with other students’ ability to learn. Regardless of the nature of the disruptive behavior, it often results in:
- Lost instructional time (up to 50%, according to some sources)
- Lowered academic achievement for the disruptive student and his or her classmates
- Decreased student engagement and motivation
- Teacher stress and frustration
- Teacher attrition