© 2016

Challenging Dominant Views on Student Behaviour at School

Answering Back

  • Anna Sullivan
  • Bruce Johnson
  • Bill Lucas

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Roger Slee
    Pages 63-76
  3. Anne Graham, Julia Truscott, Mary Ann Powell, Donnah Anderson
    Pages 97-113
  4. Bruce Johnson, Anna Sullivan
    Pages 181-189
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 191-196

About this book


This is a deliberately provocative book. It critiques current student behaviour management practices, seeks to explain the flawed assumptions that justify those practices, and proposes how things could be better for children in our schools if different practices were adopted. It is one of the few books to offer alternative ways of addressing the issues associated with student behaviour at school, and exposes the field to serious and sustained critique from both a research perspective and a children’s rights ideological stance.

The authors address the following questions:
  • What ideas dominate current thinking on student behaviour at school?
  • What are the policy drivers for current practices?
  • What is wrong with common behaviour approaches?
  • What key ideologies justify these approaches?
  • How can we present ethical alternatives to current approaches?
  • How can a human rights perspective contribute to the development of alternative approaches?
In exploring these questions and some ethical alternatives to the status quo, the authors suggest practical ways to ‘answer back’ to calls for more authoritarian responses to student behaviour within our schools.

In doing so, the authors advocate for reforms on behalf of children, and in their interests.


Alternative approaches to behaviour management Authoritarian discourses to behaviour Behaviour management Classroom management Classroom pedagogy Human rights perspective Managerial behaviour discourses Migrant students Neoconservative approaches to behaviour Pro-social skills Refugee students Relational schooling Rights of children School discipline Student behaviour Student behaviour polices Student engagement Student wellbeing Traditionalist approaches to behaviour Working in classrooms

Editors and affiliations

  • Anna Sullivan
    • 1
  • Bruce Johnson
    • 2
  • Bill Lucas
    • 3
  1. 1.University of South AustraliaSchool of EducationAustralia
  2. 2.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.University of South AustraliaAdelaide, MagillAustralia

About the editors

Dr Anna Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of South Australia. Her current research interests include critical policy studies, micropolitics, teachers’ work, classroom management and school discipline.

Dr Bruce Johnson is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of South Australia. His research interests include human resilience, curriculum theory and development, school reform, classroom management, and sexuality education. 

Bill Lucas is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of South Australia. His research interests include pedagogy, social justice, leadership, school reform and the management of learning environments.

Bibliographic information