The interpersonal process of teaching is complex, difficult and demanding requiring enormous patience, empathy, higher order thinking, parallel processing of multiple sources of information in real time and the ability to relate to dozens of “clients” at once. Despite these demands, teaching is not well paid and can be seen as a thankless task. It is, in short, even for the most dedicated and “natural” teachers, a highly stressful occupation at least some of the time. It is not surprising therefore that attrition rates amongst teachers with fewer than 5 year's teaching experience are very high (Centre for Innovative Thought, 2006). The way some teachers respond to the stress integral to their chosen profession is by interacting with students in a way that can be conceptualised as misbehaving. It is this kind of teacher behaviour which will be the focus of this chapter.
Classroom behaviour has been widely researched for well over 40 years. Teacher actions designed to facilitate the quality and level of student engagement and on-task behaviour, and therefore learning are plentiful. Less common are studies of teacher behaviour leading to increased levels of student disengagement in the classroom, and with education as a whole. Such behaviour can be characterised as teacher misbehaviour. Within this chapter, teacher misbehaviour will be defined and its prevalence and effects on students will be considered. In clarifying the causes of teacher misbehaviour, three potential theoretical explanations will be proposed. Finally the discussion will focus on the implications for teacher education and teacher support.
KeywordsClassroom Management Attachment Theory Student Behaviour Teacher Behaviour Attribution Theory
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