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Title: A study of disruptive behaviour in secondary schools, with special reference to the effectiveness of behaviour modification and withdrawal units
Author: Whitcomb, A. T.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3566 7735
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 1983
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This thesis is the result of four years' part-time study by a practising teacher. It represents an attempt to identify ways of dealing successfully with disruptive secondary school pupils. A review of related literature, and some evidence adduced from previous research, provided the basis for a questionnaire. This was then used in six Essex comprehensive schools to ascertain teachers' opinions on: a) determinants of disruptive behaviour; b) effectiveness of methods used to deal with such behaviour. Respondents were identified according to sex, school and experience. Sub-sections of the questionnaire were cross tabulated and submitted to X2 tests of significance which revealed a trend suggesting that female teachers differ from male teachers in some of their opinions related to disruptive behaviour in schools. The survey also indicated that it is the upper-age range which causes most disturbance. The two methods found to be currently held to be most effective were withdrawal units and behaviour modification. The former was investigated via a case study approach which compared two types of administration policy, and the effect of an on-site withdrawal unit on two disruptive pupils. Behaviour modification was evaluated experimentally to examine whether a) it is practicable for class teachers, b) if the technique is effective with upper-secondary pupils. Experimental and observational investigation revealed that in respect of this study behaviour modification was: a) difficult for the teacher to apply in the normal classroom situation following accepted research criteria, although it was found to be more practicable in less formal circumstances within an on-site withdrawal unit; b) a qualified success with this age group in that the improvements in behaviour as a result of this approach were found to be unenduring. It was concluded that, in respect of upper-secondary school disruptive pupils, rather than attempt to deal with the child in the normal classroom, it is preferable to withdraw the problem pupil to an on-site unit, where the application of procedures to deal with disruption can be more successfully applied to the benefit of both the child and' the school. The thesis concludes with a suggested model for dealing with seriously disruptive pupils.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Education & training