Children accept blame for behaviour

17th March 2000 at 00:00
PUPILS are far more willing than teachers to take the blame for bad behaviour in the classroom, researchers have discovered.

Both have different views about the causes of disruptive behaviour, but the children were at least prepared to shoulder some of the responsibility.

They put bad classroom behaviour down to both teachers' unfairness and to pupils' own vulnerabilities. In contrast, teachers are more likely to blame the home and family, rather than school-related factors.

One study found that even where parents had been involved in joint initiatives to tackle poor behaviour, teachers were reluctant to give them credit for success.

The latest findings come from Year 7 pupils at a North-west secondary school who were asked about the causes of bad behaviour in their feederprimary.

Researchers from Nottingham University found they blamed teachers and pupils far more than parents and family, or the strictness of the classroom regime.

Misbehaviour was attributed to teachers when they were felt to have behaved unfairly - picking on pupils or shouting. Blame was levelled at pupils when children were seen as vulnerable, because they could not keep up with work or were led astray.

Researcher Dr Andy Miller, of Nottingham University, said: "These findings will be unpalatable to teachers."

"Pupils' causal attributions for difficult classroom behaviour", by Andy Miller and Eamonn Ferguson, of Nottingham University, and Irene Byrne, of Lancashire educational psychology service, British Journal of Educational Psychology, published this week

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