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Who's bad?

The latest reports examined by Reva Klein. Teachers are to blame for children's bad behaviour in primary school, according to pupils who were asked think back to earlier experiences.

A Year 7 group asked to recall disruptions in their primary school and identify the causes attributed their misbehaviour to unjust teachers, with a smaller emphasis on family circumstances and strict classroom regime.

The pupils also blamed bad behaviour on children's vulnerability. They felt pupils who misbehaved had been pressurised to join gangs, or had acted badly after provocation. Children thought this vulnerability was associated with family background andparticularly resulted from fights and arguments at home.

In previous studies teachers put much of children's classroom misbehaviour down to family background and attributed little of it to their own influence and what happened in school.

The gulf in opinions between teachers, parents and pupils will not improve with the signing of home-school agreements, warn the authors of the study.

Pupils' Causal Attributions for Difficult Classroom Behaviour by Andy Miller and Eamonn Ferguson, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, and Irene Byrne, Lancashire Educational Psychology Service. Contact: am@psychology.

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