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Challenging Behaviour in Schools: The Psychological Contribution (Part 2) Andy Miller School of Psychology University of Nottingham 18th February 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Challenging Behaviour in Schools: The Psychological Contribution (Part 2) Andy Miller School of Psychology University of Nottingham 18th February 2008."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Challenging Behaviour in Schools: The Psychological Contribution (Part 2) Andy Miller School of Psychology University of Nottingham 18th February 2008

3 Some properties of systems

4 parts are connected together in an organised (often very complex) way ( e.g.cells in the brain )

5 Some properties of systems parts are connected together in an organised (often very complex) way ( e.g.cells in the brain ) parts of the system are affected by being within the system ( eg heart in the body, child in a family )

6 Some properties of systems parts are connected together in an organised (often very complex) way ( e.g.cells in the brain ) parts of the system are affected by being within the system ( eg heart in the body, child in a family ) causation is usually recursive rather than linear

7 Some properties of systems parts are connected together in an organised (often very complex) way ( e.g.cells in the brain ) parts of the system are affected by being within the system ( eg heart in the body, child in a family ) causation is usually recursive rather than linear homeostasis

8 Linear causation ?

9 ….. or?

10 Circular (or recursive) causation

11 … and so on wheels within wheels eg other staff at school partner at home headteacher at school sibling at home etc. etc

12 Homeostasis analagous to the maintenance of room temperature at a constant level in a central heating system or a biological system. parts of the system act together in a concerted way so that over a period of time the system displays regularity (implicit rules). over time a system functions so as to maintain a dynamic equilibrium; deviations from equilibrium are continually corrected (Dallos 1991)

13 The school as a psychosocial system (Miller and Leyden 1999)

14 The Nottingham Psychology of Behaviour in School Project Sequence of studies with teachers and students (primary and secondary) and parents, including studies of causal attributions for difficult behaviour in schools various views of causation studies of agents judged to be most likely to bring about improvement

15 Some studies (1) Survey of 428 junior school teachers across 10 LEAs seeking their explanations for difficult behaviour of any of their pupils Croll, P. & Moses, D. (1985) One in Five. The Assessment and Incidence of Special Educational Needs London. Routledge and Kegan Paul. In-depth interviews with 24 primary teachers across 8 LEAs (The Successful Strategies Study) Miller, A. (1995) Teachers Attributions Of Causality, Control And Responsibility In Respect Of Difficult Pupil Behaviour And Its Successful Management. Educational Psychology. 15(4)

16 Some studies (2) 105 Yr 7 pupils from the same inner city secondary school. Miller, A., Ferguson, E. & Byrne, I. (2000) Pupils Causal Attributions For Difficult Classroom Behaviour. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 70, parents (106 mothers and 38 fathers) from the same inner city primary school. Miller, A., Ferguson, E. & Moore, E. (2002) Parents and Pupils Causal Attributions For Difficult Classroom Behaviour. British Journal of Educational Psychology.72,

17 Adverse home circumstances as a cause of difficult behaviour in schools teachers parents Yr 7 students High Low ? ? ? ?

18 Elton Report: Our evidence suggests that teachers picture of parents is generally very negative. Many teachers feel that parents are to blame for much misbehaviour in schools. We consider that, while this picture contains an element of truth, it is distorted (Department for Education and Science p.133)

19 Teacher unfairness as a cause of difficult behaviour in schools Yr 7 students parents teachers High Low ? ? ? ?

20 The contribution of Bernard Weiner Weiner (1986, 2000) identified 3 dimensions along which most attributions were found to lie: Locus ( whether the cause was internal or external to the person ) Stability ( whether the cause is fixed or can vary ) Controllability ( whether the person is able to control the cause )

21 Types of causation Predisposing e.g. experiences in early life, uninspiring curriculum planning Precipitating e.g. a chance remark, a dispute among students over equipment Prolonging e.g. reaction of other students, having some temporary need met Perpetuating e.g. change in peer status, change in teachers class management style

22 Relationship between attribution, blaming and help giving ….when teachers assume that student failure is attributable to forces beyond the students control, they tend to respond with sympathy and avoid giving punishments. If, however, the failures are attributed to a controllable factor, such as lack of effort, the teachers response is more likely to be anger; retribution and punishments may follow (p203) (Woolfolk Hoy and Weinstein (2006) summarising Weiners studies)

23 Attribution of controllability Direction of high controllability attributions for cause of challenging behaviour made by 24 teachers (from Miller 2003) Attributions made to:No of teachers Parents17 Teachers12 Pupils 9

24 Changing attributions? by explicit programmes - attribution retraining? by more implicit means - consultative skills, modelling?

25 Attribution retraining usually an attempt to help somebody move away from external and uncontrollable attributions and towards internal and controllable ones (an explicit component of cognitive behavioral therapy) teaching students to attribute failure to their use of an ineffective strategy transfers their focus from themselves as failures to their specific actions and assures them that a change in strategy will produce better results (Porter 2007) National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends CBT as treatment of choice for childhood depression (NICE 2005)

26 Attribution retraining (an example) Attribution retraining to reduce peer directed aggression among 384 male 3rd - 6th grade students (Hudley et al. 1998): moderate to strong effects for many students no effects for some students treatment effects generally diminished over time

27 Consultative skills accessible reasoning positive reframing ( e.g. hostile vs protective parent ) ( in the context of full range of consultant skills - Miller 2003)

28 Who is most able to help make an improvement? Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30)

29 Who is most able to help make an improvement? Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30) parents 38.5% 26.7%

30 Who is most able to help make an improvement? Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30) parents 38.5% 26.7% John himself 27.8% 6.7%

31 Who is most able to help make an improvement? Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30) parents 38.5% 26.7% John himself 27.8% 6.7% teacher 11.7% 43.3%

32 Who is most able to help make an improvement? Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30) parents 38.5% 26.7% John himself 27.8% 6.7% teacher 11.7% 43.3% someone else 11.2% 23.3%

33 Who is most able to help make an improvement? ( Miller & Black 2001 ) Yr 5& 6 pupils choices (N=206) primary teachers choices (N=30) parents 38.5% 26.7% John himself 27.8% 6.7% teacher 11.7% 43.3% someone else 11.2% 23.3% other pupils 10.7% 0%

34 Home-school tensions (getting uncaught in the middle) Sometimes, before meeting, parents or teachers proposed angry confrontations with each other ….. Sometimes the teacher thought the school social worker was siding with the parents, while the parents thought the opposite Kolvin et al 1981

35 References Dallos, R. (1991) Family Belief Systems, Therapy and Change. Buckingham. Open Univerisy Press. Dowling, E. & Osborne, E. (1995) The Family and the School. A Joint Systems Approach to Problems with Children (2nd edition) London. Routledge. Department of Education and Science (1989) Discipline in Schools (The Elton Report). London: HMSO. Frederickson, N. Miller, A. & Cline, T. (2008) Educational Psychology (Topics in Advanced Psychology). London. Hodder Arnold. (available 28/3/08) Hudley, C., Britsch, B., Wakefield, W. D., Smith, T., Demorat, M. & Cho, S.-J. (1998) An attribution retraining program to reduce aggression in elementary school students Psychology in the Schools, 35, 3, Miller, A. (2003) Teachers, Parents and Classroom Behaviour. A Psychosocial Approach. Milton Keynes. Open University Press. Miller, A. & Leyden, G. (1999) A Coherent Framework For The Application Of Psychology In Schools. British Educational Research Journal. 25, 3,

36 References (contd) Miller, A., Ferguson, E. & Byrne, I. (2000) Pupils Causal Attributions For Difficult Classroom Behaviour. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 70, Miller, A & Black, L. (2001) Does support for home-school behaviour plans exist within teacher and pupil cultures? Educational Psychology in Practice. 17, 3, Miller, A., Ferguson, E. & Moore, E. (2002) Parents and Pupils Causal Attributions For Difficult Classroom Behaviour. British Journal of Educational Psychology.72, Porter, L. (2007) Behaviour in Schools. Theory and Practice for Teachers. Open University Press. Woolfolk Hoy, A. & Weinstein, C. S. (2006). Student and teacher perspectives on classroom management. In Evertson, C. M. & Weinstein, C. S. (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management: research, practice and contemporary issues. London. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Also, Learning Behaviour. The Report of The Practitioners Group on School Behaviour and Discipline (2005). Led by Sir Alan Steer. (Search using the ref: DOC-EN)


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