Primary School educators' beliefs about suspension and exclusion of students with challenging behaviours

Howard, Judith (2005) Primary School educators' beliefs about suspension and exclusion of students with challenging behaviours. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


A growing international research base is suggesting that there can be no more serious sanction taken against children of primary school age than to withdraw their rights to attend school through suspension and exclusion - referred to in Queensland as School Disciplinary Absence (SDA). The short and long-term detrimental consequences of SDA to student recipients, their families, and social structures are well documented. Yet, SDA remains as a controversial, often policy-supported means to manage challenging student behaviour increasingly used by Queensland government schools. To contribute to this growing research, this project examines the potential influence of an array of principals' and teachers' beliefs on their decisions regarding the use of SDA within five government primary schools in Queensland. The study adopts a multi-method, case-study approach and is informed by social constructionist and critical theory perspectives. It draws from Rokeach's (1968) conceptualisation of the human belief system as having a number of sections where particular stated beliefs may be influenced by more powerful beliefs situated within another part of the system, which may (in turn) influence decisions and actions. Data were drawn from school documents, surveys, and interviews. Survey data revealed strong support for the use of SDA but interview data suggested that most participants believed that SDA was ineffective and held overriding concerns for the wellbeing and education of students exhibiting challenging behaviours. In some cases, particular beliefs were shown to override this unfavourable view of SDA and cause educators to become more likely to endorse its implementation. The study examines the complex construction of a variety of educator beliefs regarding SDA in general, the types of students who are more at risk of SDA, school and educator responsibility for supporting these students, and factors believed to prevent or make it difficult to avoid the use of SDA. Also, participants' concerns and recommendations regarding SDA are examined and implications for professional practice and school reform are considered.

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ID Code: 16152
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Irving, Kym & Carrington, Suzanne
Keywords: Primary school, educators, suspension, exclusion, student behaviour, Queensland, School Disciplinary Absence (SDA), Milton Rokeach
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Judith Howard
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:57
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:44

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