Communication : the key to conduct?
In Scotland, educational inclusion seeks to accommodate the diversity of the individuality of pupils and presumes that the vast majority will be educated in mainstream primary and secondary day schools. The focus of this investigation was the concept of the capable teacher, in the specific context of supporting children whose behaviour is considered inappropriate for a standard mainstream primary school. The study examines government recommendations and initiatives for the inclusion of such pupils appear not to be working. It also tries to understand the concept of capable teachers as perceived by teachers themselves. The study was conducted through emergent approaches which evolved from literature and empirical data. The opinions of primary teachers and head teachers were surveyed and these results shaped further data gathering from the reflective diaries of practitioners and literature. There are two main theoretical outcomes from this work. First is the recognition of a radically different lens through which to view indiscipline in schools. Conduct is seen as an issue of communication, and the teacher's communication in the first instance. This lens provides a framework for teachers to consider how classroom interactions may contribute to instances of inappropriate behaviour. The second theoretical outcome is concerned with emotional competence. The area of emotional competence defined as relationship management was shown to articulate closely with communicative pragmatics. This alliance with a body of theoretical knowledge that is already influential in other areas of educational support gives the concept of emotional competence much more credence in education. Three practical issues also arise from this study. Teacher educators should perhaps consider developing a framework within which they could address aspects of communicative pragmatics and their importance to graduating teachers. Second, there could be consideration of alternative ways in which government priorities for education can be achieved. Rather than targeting only the teacher, this study suggests considering a range of issues, which together, or independently, may be factors in causing disaffection and indiscipline in classrooms. Third, this study suggests a change in teaching on behaviour management, in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This study has taken the whole issue of teacher response to issues of inappropriate conduct in the context of school and classroom and embedded it within the area of pragmatics, providing a different lens through which to view behaviour.