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Negative behavior of teachers with regard to high school students in classroom settings.

Good behavior is a necessary condition for effective teaching. There are few children who come to school without problems. Children's behavior at school appears to be strongly affected by within school factors. In this qualitative case study, the teachers' negative behavior with regard to the high school last year students in the classroom setting was defined. The population for this study consisted of 1100 eleventh grade students from three different general state high schools. These schools were selected at random at the beginning of 2007 academic year in Karsehir, Turkey. The sample consisted of 275 students (male 137& female138). The data were collected by means of unstructured interview method. Qualitative content analysis approach was used to analyse data. It was found that "behaving towards the students aggressively" was the most pointed out negative teacher behavior. "Speaking fast" in teaching, "threatening the students with low grades" and" making discrimination among the students" were the more often expressed negative teacher behaviors by the students.

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Good behavior is a necessary condition for effective teaching and learning to take place, and an important outcome of education which society rightly expects. Society is expecting good order and good results from teachers, and will be increasingly impatient and lacking in understanding if we do not provide them. So looking hard at ourselves, our teaching, our institutions, our rituals and our effect on pupils are becoming obligatory rather than just advisable, as we seek to eradicate or prevent pupils' behaviour problems by various forms of intervention (Charlton & David, 1997:5).

Student misbehavior is one of the most frequently cited problems occurring in public schools today. In fact, teachers consider controlling student behavior to be both one of their greatest challenges and the greatest deficits in their training and skills. (Weigle, 1997).

Disruptive classroom behavior is a major factor contributing to teacher stress and discontent and significantly affects teachers' capacity to maintain a productive and orderly learning environment (Hawe, Tuck, Manthei, Adair, & Moore, 2000). Educators and psychologists in the 1970's emphasized the importance of student engagement and success in preventing the occurence of disruptive behavior in classrooms (Berliner, 1985; Brophy, 1979; Emer, Evertson, & Anderson, 1980; Evertson & Emer, 1982; Kounin, 1970; Rosenshin & Stevens 1986; Karadag & Oney, 2006). Throughout the past 20 years there has been a marked increase in the direct and indirect assessment and analysis of problem behavior in school settings to determine the function of disruptive behavior and to develop more targeted interventions based on these assessments (Lagland, Lewis & Sugai, 1998).

The Problem Behavior Checklist of Students are based on the resarch of Ronald L.Partin (1999). Part in makes a clear distinction between the noneffective and the most-effective teacher. His research on effective teachers suggests that they are in control of their classrooms, but not obsessed with the idea of control. Partin's resarch indicates that a necessary first step in establishing standards for acceptable behavior in a classroom is to set some norms or rules of conduct to manage student behavior. Motivation to comply with rules seems highest when they are stated positively and convey what you do want to happen rather than trying to list all the possible unacceptable behavior.

Discipline and classroom management is considered one of the most important but difficult and complex issues for teachers. There are few children who come to school without problems, and few schools succeed without helping children's problem solving (Clark,1998).

Currently, there is an increasing trend within education which focuses upon a more realistic and equitable perspective of the causes of pupil (mis) behavior in school. This movement, called the systems' approach, has moved away from the individual (pupil and teacher) towards an institutional focus(Charlton & David, 1997:10).

Lawrence and Steadman (1984) reminded us that disruptive behavior of this type is often: frustrating, irritating and stressful and in extreme cases it may lead to complete breakdown of the classroom order and, more seriously, of the teacher's health.

One way to prevent problem behavior in the classroom is through the teacher's instructional style, as flexible methods of instruction focus on the learner and his/her interests and needs, raises the motivation to learn and naturally may reduce misbehavior (Burden, 1995; Lambert & McCombs, 1998).

Research on classroom management has demonstrated the importance of appropriately supervising not only academic, but social aspects of the classroom. Several variables including student achievement, teaching effectiveness, and teacher satisfaction appear to be influenced by how effectively classroom social situations are managed. McCormack (1997) noted that classroom management is part of the teaching process. Brophy (1993) mentioned that teaching effectiveness depends on how the classroom is managed. Doyle (1986a) has found that student misbehaviors may interfere with the learning process and in turn affect student achievement.

The majority of teachers are reasonable people, often anxiously committed to their work. Many can be pedestrian in their aims and imagination, and have the normal feelings of lack of patience and fear of being seen to fail; everyday life will also produce some who are under pressure, distracted, perhaps cynical and militant (David, 1997:147)

Children's behavior at school appears to be strongly affected by 'within school' factors. In the broadest context these factors are concerned with what schools offer their pupils and how they offer it. While there is little doubt that aspects of school policy and organization school ethos and the content/ delivery of the curriculum make significant contributions to these offerings, we should not underestimate the impact of teachers' behaviour--particularly their classroom management skills--upon pupil behaviour (Charlton & David, 1997:207) The increasing challenge to schools is to examine what they are offering their pupils, how it is offered and whether it meets the needs of the pupils and the public.

Glenn and Nelsen's research (2000) found that good behavior must be developed through a process that teachers and parents must model. They found that young people need to realize their own potential, and that their realizations are observed. Glenn and Nelsen (2000) stated that the underlying components in effective management of student behaviors are modelling, setting limits, honetsy, and problem solving. Adults need to model desired behaviors, and children learn best by example.

Behaviour is neither entirely internally nor externally caused, but is the result of the interaction between the individual and the environment (Alexander, 2000), including physiological, physical and psychosocial factors (Evans et al, 1989). This interplay of factors has been widely supported by educational psychologists (Cochran-Smith, 2003) and is clearly presented in the learner-centred model of teaching (Lambert & McCombs, 1998).

Teachers' primary responsibility is to help students learn in the classroom. It is difficult for learning to take place in chaotic environments. Subsequently, we are challenged daily to create and maintain a positive, productive classroom atmosphere conducive to learning. On any given day, this can be quite a challenge. In our attempts to face this challenge, we find ourselves making common classroom behavior management mistakes.

Lawrence and Steadman (1984) noted in their research that: Many teachers are understandably reluctant to acknowledge that the reasons for pupils' misbehaviour may be found as often in their teaching as in the pupil's inability or failure to learn. The most effective way of managing behaviour problems must surely be to work to prevent them arising, and to prevent them arising, and to minimize their occurence. In a well-known study Kounin (1970) reported that when attempting to differentiate between more and less succesful teachers, he found no difference between the two groups in terms of their effectiveness in dealing with behaviour problems, but successful teachers were seen to be far more at preventing them.

The role which teachers' attitudes and values may play in the identification and generation of behaviour problems can be equally significant. Teachers frequently differ markedly in their tolerance of behaviour difficulties and it is not uncommon for two teachers in the same school to have very different views about whether or not a pupil has a behaviour problem. This does not mean that one is right and the other is wrong; rather it reflects the different values and attitudes which the individuals hold and the different expectations they have for the behaviour of their pupils (Upton, 1997:112).

Much of the stress of teaching is related to bahviour problems in the classroom. Sometimes these problems manifest themselves as physical or verbal abuse, yet more often they present themselves as minor yet disruptive bahaviour. Many of teachers could become defensive and irritated when confronted by students' misbehaviour, and find it difficult to look hard at (ourselves) themselves and his or her methods and attitudes.

The term classroom management is often used to describe the ways order can be achieved (Emmer et al, 1994; Evertson et al, 1994). Classroom management refers to the actions and strategies that teachers use to maintain order (Doyle, 1986). Learning and order are closely related, as misbehavior (e.g. interference with teaching, interference with the fights of others to learn, destructive or violent behavior) and off-task behaviour (e.g. day-dreaming, not paying attention, playing with other objects) interfere with the learning process.

One of the greatest challenges of a teacher is to maintain order in the classroom so as to achieve academic objectives (Burden, 1995).

Responsibility for maintaining order in the classroom seems to be mainly that of the teacher. However, this does not necessarily advocate high control teacher methods; on the contrary, educational psychology suggests a low control approach in the belief that pupils bear primary responsibility for controlling their own behaviour and are capable of doing so (Burden, 1995). Behaviour problems are assumed to be a result of erroneous beliefs, distorted thoughts and poorly controlled emotional responses to stress. To address these problems an assessment of their social perspectives ,beliefs and feelings is necessary (Nicols, 2000).Assistance should be provided through the establishment of a supportive climate and training in important social skills (Skiba & Peterson, 2000).

When literature on undesirable behaviors in the classroom settings or classroom management was examined, it was noticed that many researchers had focused on to the subject of unwanted student behavior in the classroom and there was no enough literature about negative behavior of teachers in the classroom.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to define the teachers' negative behavior with regard to the high school last year students in the classroom setting. The study was guided by the following guest ions:

a. What were the opinions of the high school last year students on their teachers' negative behavior in classroom setting?

b. How was the negative behavior of male and women teachers graded by students' opinions?

c. What were the opinions of male students on negative behavior of male and women teachers?

d. What were the opinions of female students on negative behavior of male and women teachers?

Methodology

Model of Research

To define the student expectations is a vital issue in teaching and it is necessary to evaluate teaching process. When the researches about this scope were examined, it was seen that they were generally carried out in the quantitative research models. The basic factor in a quantitative research is the method. On the other hand, qualitative research method is the more useful one to determine the underlying factors in the teaching process. For this reason, in this research a qualitative research model and situation analysis design were used in order to determine negative behavior of the teachers observed by students in classroom setting. A qualitative research generally includes interpreting various concepts, problems and processes. The qualitative research process is a study in which researchers are involved and reveal the inner connections among different data including different dimensions (Miller & Dingwall, 1997).

Population and Sampling

The population for this study consisted of 1100 eleventh grade students from three different general state high schools. These schools were selected at random at the beginning of 2007 academic year in Kirsehir, Turkey. The sample consisted of 275 students (male 137& female138).

Instrument

The data was collected by means of unstructured interview method. Qualitative content analysis approach was used so as to analyse data. Coding key was utilized in the analysis of data as well. Students taken into the sample were given a sheet of paper consisting of open-ended questions in order that they could write the negative behavior patterns of their teachers in a free atmosphere created by the researcher during the students' answering process. Data was based on the answers of students. It is possible that students' answers could be colorable at some situations, which is a limitation of this research.

Data Analysis

Qualitative content analysis approach was used in order to analyse data. Answers of the students were collected under 30 main themes, which included at least two related answers and the ones including only one related answer were excluded from the list. The titles were listed in accordance with the number of the responses concerning each theme. Coding key was used in the analysis of data.

Results

a. What were the opinions of the high school last year students on their teachers' negative behavior in classroom setting?

Student opinions about negative behavior of the teachers and the frequency (f) and percentage (%) rates were given in Table 1.

Table 1 gives list of negative behavior of the teachers with their frequency (f) and percentage (%) rates. The data in Table 1 indicates that "Behaving aggressively" is the most stated negative behavior of the teachers (%22.3) in the classroom setting according to the students. "Speaking fast" in class was placed by the same students in the second order (% 8.4) and "Threatening (with low marks)" was the third (% 6.3). "Making discrimination among the students" (% 6.1) was the fourth negative teacher behavior according to the students. These findings show that the students mostly complained about the aggressive attitudes of their teachers. In a research done by Malkoc-Istengel (2006), it was found that the teachers were at a high level of stress. If a person has a high level of stress, he or she could behave aggressively (Basut, 2006).

b. How was the negative behavior of male and women teachers graded by students' opinions?

The opinions of the students on male and women teachers' negative behavior were given in Table 2.

Table 2 gives a list of negative behavior of male and women teachers with the frequencies (f). The data in Table 2 indicates that "Behaving aggressively" is the most negative behavior for both the male (f=61) and the women teachers (f=37) according to the students. "Speaking fast"(f=28) and "Applying physical punishment" (f=19)were the second and third negative behavior of the male teachers. "Threatening (with low marks)" (f=15) and "Favoring female students" (f=14) were evaluated as the second and third negative behavior of the female teachers by the students. It was very interesting that "Applying physical punishment" and "Speaking on mobile in class" were only observed by the students as negative behavior of male teachers. Similarly, "Dressing sexually" and "Wearing high heels in classroom" were evaluated as negative behavior of the female teachers.

c. What were the opinions of male students on negative behavior of male and women teachers?

The opinions of the male students about the negative behavior of the male and female teachers were given in Table 3.

Table 3 indicates a list of negative behavior of the male and women teachers according to the male students with frequencies (f) of their opinions. The data in Table 3 shows that "Behaving aggressively" is the most negative behavior of the male (f=30) and the woman teachers (f=21) according to the male students. "Speaking fast" (f=16) and "Humiliating" (f=14) were the second and third negative behavior of the male teachers. "Favouring female students" (f=14) and "Speaking fast" (f=9) were evaluated by the male students as the second and third negative behavior of the female teachers.

d. What were the opinions of female students on negative behavior of male and women teachers?

The opinions of the male students about the negative behavior of the male and female teachers were given in Table 4.

Table 4 indicates a list of negative behavior of male and women teachers according to the female students with the frequencies (f). The data in Table 4 shows that "Behaving aggressively" and is the most negative behavior of the male (f=31) and the woman teachers (f=16) according to the female students. "Insulting" (f=13) and "Speaking fast" (f=12) were the second and third negative behavior of the male teachers. "Making discrimination among the students" (f=13) and "Threatening (with low mark)" (f=11) were evaluated by the female the students as the second and third negative behavior of the female teachers.

Discussion

According to the students, "Behaving aggressively" is the most pointed out negative teacher behavior in this study. "S peaking fast", "Threatening (with low marks)" and "Making discrimination among the students" were the more often expressed negative behavior of the teachers. Classroom management is not only to focus on student behavior or behavior management in classroom setting but also to control teacher's own behavior. The teachers must know and pay attention to how they will behave towards the students in the classroom settings and how teaching will be organized for them (Sanford & Emer, 1988; Cohn, 1987). Teachers' being in a merry and happy or in a safe and optimistic mode affects their teaching process positively. Their emotional states and whether they are relaxed in the class or not affect their decisions and attitudes in the classroom setting (Basar, 1999).

Teacher's behavior shown in the classroom setting is divided into two parts as "authoritarian" and "democratic" by Wubbels & Levy (1991). The authoritarian teachers believe that the students must be under control and much freedom is not good for them. This can make them careless. The democratic teachers believe that the students must love the athmosphere of the classroom first, and for this, they must provide a pleasant setting and give rewards as well. According to the democratic teachers, they can increase motivation and success of the students only in these ways. They are also more concerned with their students, trust and give them responsibility.

Students who took part in this research said that the teachers behaved towards them aggressively and in an authoritarian way. They pointed out that the male teachers spoke faster in teaching and applied physical punishment. They also stated that their teachers spoke on mobile phone in class. Dressing sexually and wearing high heels were seen as the negative behavior of the female teachers. In addition, "to threat to the students with mark" and "to be favour female students" were the most expressed negative behavior of the female teachers.

According to the students, the male teachers behaved more agressively and they humiliated the students in the classroom setting. With respect to the male students, female teachers behaved less agressively but they favoured female students and spoke fast in teaching process. Gender is an inborn feature and it can be easily identified. This feature affects our roles and expectations in a society. Bennet (1993) conducted a research on the primary school students from different classroom levels and he found that the teachers behaved differently towards the male students. According to his research findings, the teachers' perceptions of male students were more negative than the female students. (Tauber 1997, 44). Furthermore, Moore & Johnson (1983) and Tauber (1997) found that the teachers had some prejudices related to the sexes of students.

According to the female students who took part in this research, the male teachers behaved in an aggressive way. They considered "to insult" and "speaking fast" as the typical negative behavior of the male teachers. In the same way, "to make distinction among the students" and "to threat the students with the mark" were the typical negative behavior of the female teachers. In his research, Rosenthal (1974) found that the teachers behaved towards their students in different ways. These differences were related with climate, feedback, input and out put processes. The teachers provided a supportive climate in the classroom for some students. They behaved more friendly towards them. They smiled and encouraged them more. They were found to give more clear feedback to those students. They rewarded them more and criticized less. This feedback was related with their performance. Other students took feedback on their failure. These teachers usually gave some students many rights to speak freely and opportunities for learning. When these students hesitated to find the answer, they encouraged them and gave clues. They also gave the second chance to them. (Jussim vd., 1998, 31-32; Harris & Rosenthal, 1990, 107).

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Nuri Baloglu, Ahi Evran University, College of Education, Egitim Fakultesi, Terme Cad. Merkez, 40100/Kirsehir/Turkiye.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Nuri Baloglu at baloglu@gaziedu.tr
Table 1
Student Opinions about Negative Teacher Behavior

Behavior                           f      %

Behaving aggressively              98   22,3

Sneaking fast                      37    8,4

Threatening (with low marks)       28    6,3
Making discrimination (among the
students)                          27    6,1

Favoring female students           21    4,7

Using clang                        20    4,5

Insulting                          20    4,5

Applying physical punishment       19    4,3

Humiliating                        19    4,3

Coming to class late               19    4,3

Lack of interest                   16    3,6

Assigning too much homework        14    3,1

Lack of examples in teaching       12    2,7

Sneaking on mobile in class        10    2,2

Not giving enough opportunity to
lake notes                          7    1,5

Being extremely authoritarian       7    1,5

Making students do too much
writing                             6    1,3

Keeping students under pressure     6    1,3

Mocking                             6    1,3

Dressing sexually                   6    1,3

Speaking in a low voice             6    1,3

Lack of interest to male students   5    1,1

Speaking rudely                     4    0,9

Coming to class early               4    0,9

Wearing high heels in classroom     3    0,9

Behaving conceitedly                3    0,6

Making silly jokes                  3    0,6

Ignoring the students               2    0,6

Nicknaming                          2    0,4

Making dull speech                  2    0,4

Table 2
Men and Women Teachers' Negative Behavior According To The Students.

Behavior of Male Teachers       f    Behavior of Woman Teachers     f

Behaving aggressively           61   Behaving aggressively          37

Speaking fast                   28   Threatening (with low
                                     marks)                         15

Applying physical punishment    19   Favoring female students       14

Using slang                     16   Making-discrimination
                                     (among the students)           13

Humiliating                     14   Coming to class late           13

Threatening (with low marks)    13   Speaking fast                  9

Insulting                       13   Insalting                      7

Lack of interest                12   Being extremely
                                     authoritarian                  7
Making discrimination
(among the students)            14   Mocking                        6

Speaking on mobile in clas      10   Dressing sexually              6

Lack of examples in teaching    8    Speaking in a low voice        6

Assigning too much homework     8    Assigning too much homework    6

Favoring female students        7    Humiliating                    5

Not giving enough                    Lack of interest to
opportunity to take notes       7    male students                  5

Making students do                   Wearing high heels
too much writing                 6   in classroom                    4

Keeping students                     Use slang                       4
under pressure                   6

Coming to class late             6   Lack of interest                4

Speaking rudely                  4   Lack of examples in teaching    4

To come classes early            4   Making silly jokes              3

Behaving conceitedly             3   Behaving conceitedly            3

                                     Make dull speech                2

Table 3
The Opinions Of The Mole Student About Negative Behavior Of The
Teachers

Negative Behavior of                Negative Behavior of
Male Teachers                  f    Woman Teachers                  f

Behaving aggressively          30   Behaving aggressively           21

Speaking fast                  16   Favoring female students        14

Humiliating                    14   Speaking fast                   9

Applying physical punishment   14   Coming to the class late        7

Making discrimination               Assigning too much homework     6
(among the students)           11

Using slang                    8    Humiliating                     5

Speaking on mobile in               Lack of interest to male
the class                      6    students                        5

Making students do too         6    Being extremely authoritarian   4
much writing

Keeping students under         6    Lack of examples in teaching    3
pressure

Lack of interest               5    Threatening (with low marks)    4

Threatening (with low marks)   4    Speaking in a low voice         2

Speaking rudely                4

Coming to class early          4

Table 4
The Opinions of The Female Students About The Negative Behavior
Of The Teachers

Negative Behavior of                Negative Behavior of
Male Teachers                  f    Woman Teachers                 f

Behaving aggressively          31   Behavior aggressively          16

Insulting                      13   Making-discrimination
                                    (among the students)           13

Speaking fast                  12   Threatening (with low marks)   11

Threatening (with low marks)   9    Speaking fast                  8

Using slang                    8    Insulting                      7

Assigning too much homework    8    Mocking                        6

Lack of interest               7    Dressing sexually              6

Not giving enough                   Coming the class late          6
opportunity to take notes      7

Coming to the class late       6    Wearing high heels in          4
                                    classroom

Favouring female students      6    Using slang                    4

Applying physical punishment   5    Lack of interest               4

Speaking on mobile in the      4    Speaking in a low voice        4
class

Lack of examples in            4    Making silly Jokes             3
teaching
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Author:Baloglu, Nuri
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Case study
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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