ERIC Number: EJ856980
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Attributions for and Consequences of Student Misbehavior
Cothran, Donetta J.; Kulinna, Pamela Hodges; Garrahy, Deborah A.
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v14 n2 p155-167 Apr 2009
Background: Effective classroom management is a critical teaching skill and a key concern of educators. As such it has been the focus of much research and as a result educators know a good deal about what happens in physical education class and the actions teachers take to deal with student behavior. Surprisingly, however, we do not know much at all about what teachers believe causes student misbehavior, nor what students say about the same issue. This seems like a critical oversight as how one explains another's behavior determines the individual's reactions to that behavior. Purpose: To examine teacher and student attributions for behavior in physical education class. Participants and setting: Twenty-three secondary physical education teachers (14 males and nine females), and 182 secondary students (100 males and 82 females) from a variety of school districts in the United States. Research design: A descriptive study aimed at examining teacher and student attributions. Maximum variation sampling of schools, teachers, and students was employed to explore the role of context on attribution. Data collection: Teachers were interviewed at a convenient time during the school day while students were interviewed alone or in groups of two or three students during their physical education class. An interview guide structured all discussions. Interviews were recorded and later transcribed. Data analysis: The interview data were analyzed via analytic induction methods to identify and extract common themes. Trustworthiness measures included researcher triangulation and a search for negative cases. Findings: Although the sites and participants in this study were selected for their diversity, comparisons of teachers and students across sites revealed perspectives that were remarkably similar. One key difference between groups was that of attribution for student misbehavior. Teachers most often attributed student misbehavior to unknown or home factors while students were more likely to attribute misbehavior to need for attention and/or a lack of meaningful class content. Both groups largely agreed that student misbehavior negatively affected class time, content, and attitude. Some students cited potential positive outcomes from misbehavior of increased fun and social status. Conclusions: Although teachers and students shared fairly similar perspectives, they disagreed on the reasons for misbehavior and this is a critical difference in perspective that suggests neither group is able and/or willing to "own" the problem of student misbehavior and until it is owned, it will not be solved. There is a need for more reflection by teachers and students to acknowledge their mutual contributions to student misbehavior. Only when both groups start to take ownership of their contribution to the problem of misbehavior can the problem be solved. For teachers, reflection and ownership needs to include taking a broader view of management in order to see the interaction of curriculum and instruction with class management.
Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Physical Education, Behavior Problems, Student Behavior, Attribution Theory, Secondary Schools, Interviews, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Beliefs, Student Surveys, Teacher Surveys, Cognitive Mapping
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A