Teacher Views on the Contemporary Educational Applications of Behavioural Theory

Rajeev Kumar, Ridhi
Gibbons, Andrew
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Master of Education
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Auckland University of Technology

This research aims to find out different primary and intermediate teacher views on the pedagogical role of behavioural theory. Behaviourism is common in today’s classroom in the form of award systems and punishments in order to develop wanted behaviour and prevent unwanted behaviour (Laureate Education, 2010). Traditional methods of behaviour management in New Zealand schools often tends to be punitive which included methods like office referrals, detentions, suspensions, and expulsions (Elder, 2014; Savage, Lewis, & Colless, 2011). In order to address this priority, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has introduced a comprehensive plan called Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) that fosters the kind of positive behaviour that enables all children and student to learn and achieve, by encouraging respectful and inclusive relationships (MOE, 2015). PB4L enables schools to design and implement a whole school approach that focuses on teaching positive behaviour, setting out clear behavioural expectations, and creating a whole school culture which supports responsibility for behaviour (Savage et al., 2011). PB4L is firmly linked to behavioural theory and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as it emphasizes behavioural theory that observable behaviour is an important indicator of what the student has learned and how they operate in their environment (Carr et al., 2002; Filter, 2007; Simonsen & Sugai, 2007). This study involves six teacher participants working in a school implementing and sustaining PB4L framework. The teachers’ perspectives regarding the behaviour management strategies and challenges experienced in the classroom were explored and shared during semi-structured interviews. The outcomes of this study confirm findings in literature by demonstrating that consistency along with a close, positive and supportive student-teacher is important for developing a mutual respect and for managing challenging behaviours successfully.

Behavioural theory , Teacher views , New Zealand education , PB4L , Behaviour management
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