ERIC Number: ED421317
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Teachers' Images and Urban/Rural Constructs of Violence.
Rintoul, Heather M.
This paper examines constructs of school violence among 11 teachers in a large urban secondary school and a large rural district high school. It describes how these teachers contextualize their particular schools, and explores contradictions between teachers' constructions of violence in schools in general and their particular constructions of violence in their own schools. To assist children in acquiring appropriate social skills, teachers need to be aware of various definitions of violence, which includes verbal, emotional, and psychological aggression as well as physical force. It is also noted that stereotypical perceptions of rural society and schools as idyllic sanctuaries from big-city ills have not kept pace with the realities of changing rural communities and school consolidation. The qualitative study consisted of interviews and classroom observation of the teachers. Findings show that teachers' definitions of violence were consistent within and between the urban and rural schools, and that their constructions of their particular schools as generally nonviolent were consistent. There were marked differences between how teachers' generally constructed violence in their particular schools and the image of violence that emerged in the interviews: urban teachers' assessment of their school was more severe than the actuality, and rural teachers' constructions of violence varied widely from the actual accounts of violence in their schools. Rural teachers had difficulty rationalizing their idealized images of a traditional rural community school with the new reality of their large rural district and were unwilling to acknowledge the closing gap between rural and urban school violence. More study is needed on cultural mental imaging and extent to which images and mind-sets influence teachers' behavior when dealing with school violence. Contains 23 references. (SAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Diego, CA, April 14-17, 1998).