Strategies For Changing Undesirable Classroom Behaviour

Project and Seminar Material for Guidance and Counselling

Strategies For Changing Undesirable Classroom Behaviour


The study entitled “Strategies for changing undesirable classroom behaviour in secondary school in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State”, had the aim of identifying the strategies for changing undesirable classroom behaviours of secondary school students in Enugu North Local Government Area. For the purpose of this study, the sample consists of 5% of the entire secondary school students population, which is 13,667 students, which resulted to 100 students, from the nine secondary school in Enugu North Secondary School, in Enugu State.

Data were collected through questionnaire instrument and analysis was carried out, the researcher developed questionnaire for the students, it is called “strategies for changing undesirable classroom behavior rating”(SCUCBR). The instrument is made up of section A and B, to answer the research questions the responses of students were tallied and their mean scores and standard deviation calculated. The decision has been determined using the cut-off mark of 2.50. The researcher used the Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient method to estimate and analyze the data collected. It was upon this findings of the study which essentially revealed the undesirable classroom behaviours of secondary school students in Enugu North Local Government Area, and the various strategies employed by secondary school teachers for changing the undesirable classroom behaviours, and factors that hinder the successful implementation of these strategies for modifying undesirable classroom behaviours, and through this recommendations were made.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Every individual all over the world has one form of behaviour or the other. Behaviourial attitude is one thing every one exhibits and it is our nature to do so. Most of our behaviour, left to it, is biased, partial or prejudiced, yet the quality of our life and that of what we build depend on the quality of one behaviour. It is important to differentiate between disruptive classroom behaviour that which directly interferes with the ability of the instructor to teach or the ability of other students to benefit from the classroom experience from behaviour that is merely rude or uncivil. While the latter may become disruptive when it is repetitive or persistent, it usually is best addressed by example and influence.

Behaviour modification, behaviour therapy and behaviour counseling are often used interchangeably in literature. However, the major concern is on Behaviour modification. Onwuasoanya (2006), viewed behaviour modification as a behavioural science strategy, which involves the application of principles derived from research in experimental psychology to alleviate human suffering and increase human functioning. Mahoney (2006), also looked at behaviour modification as any strategy, which involves the use of broadly, defined set of clinical procedure whose descriptive and rationale often rely on the experimental finding of psychological research. All behaviours follow a set of consistent rules that guide behaviour modification in classroom sector which help the teachers. Omabe (2005) pointed out that behaviour modification is systematic arrangement and scientific process of altering behaviours, the alteration of which could be from undesirable to desirable or improving existing one. In agreement with the above, Uba (2006) opined that behaviour modification refers to the application of behaviour principles of human situations including child rearing, education, psychotherapy, vocational preparation, business and social movements. Research over the years has led to the formulation of certain strategies that are used for behaviour modification. Students’ behaviours are managed and changed by the consequence of the classroom behaviour.

Furthermore Ekeruo (1990) is of the opinion that behaviour modification is the use of the principles of operant and classical conditioning, to change a given undesirable behaviour to a desirable one.

Behaviour could be very difficult to define in precise terms because of cultural differences. Every culture has its own accepted standard or norms of behaviour. A behaviour regarded as appropriate in one culture may be abnormal or inappropriate in another culture. It is a systematic way of changing an undesirable behaviour to a desirable one. Behaviour modification is presently seen as a process of helping people to learn how to solve certain inter personal, emotional and decision problems. According to Steer and Porter (1981) there are force that serves in three functions of human behaviour; it energizes or causes people to act; it directs behaviours towards the attainment of specific goal and it sustains the effort expanded in reaching those goals. The control importance of motivation in the classroom is for learner to emulate good behaviour. This will foster effective learning in the classroom.

Essuman, Nwaogu, Nwachukwu (1990), agreed that learning is a practical application of the principles of psychology in behavour modification. Ngwoke (1995) asserted that learning is the establishment of stimulus-response bonds between initially unconnected stimuli or events. In a broad sense, learning is a process, which causes a change in behaviour of an individual. This change in behaviour results in experiences or interaction between the individual and his environment. Teachers have been accepted as behaviour moulders so they are responsible for whatever is happening in the classroom. (Pear and Martin, 2007) opined that teachers should employ the strategies and strategies that are appropriate in managing classroom disruptive behaviours amongst secondary school students. Behaviour as the way some one behaves. Behaviour can be good or bad, desirable or undesirable, disruptive behaviour may be seen as a deviation from acceptable desirable and appropriate behaviour, which interferes with the individual growth, development, and those of others around him. Essuman, Nwaogu and Nwachukwu (1990) defined behaviour as a way we behave which is either overt or covert. An overt behaviour is that behaviour which can be observe and its frequency recorded example talking aloud, laughing, crying, running, standing etc.

Behaviour is the function of interaction of heredity and environment. From this definition, it is worthy to note that behaviour is modifiable, by proper manipulation of the learning process. When behaviour is modified, learning will be more effective. Therefore, learned behaviours are patterns of behaviour that are learned in an environmental milieu. Behaviour can be either desirable or undesirable. In behaviour modification, it also stated that boys always dominate in science-learning activities in co-educational schools when the instruction strategy adopted is competitive. Obianyo (2000) reported that teachers, Overt and covert instructional behaviour influence learners’ achievement. The effect is that teachers, unconsciously teach science and other courses that are difficult to make boys excel thereby creating the impression that the girls and boys can’t learn in the classroom situation, Nzewi and Onimisi (2008), asserted that boys and girls have equal opportunities for learning. The teacher equipped with the principles of psychology, which he derives from his/knowledge of Educational psychology delves into the task of molding students minds, learning involves the learner, the learning process and the environment. These factors influence each other and equilibrium among them is necessary process is that process through which student acquire positive changes in their behaviour, improve their performance recognize themselves and discover new ways. The environment includes the teachers, the school and the classroom. The school is regarded as a socializing agent for children, each of these aspects of the environment must co-operate with each other in order to facilitate learning. To make learning adoptive to individual needs and interests, it is necessary that teachers posses through knowledge of psychological, social and biological factors basic to growth and achievement. It is important that teachers should have good knowledge of principles of behaviour modification, so as to provide conducive environment for effective learning. Maintenance of order in the classroom is one of the professional challenges of teachers. Many teachers cannot maintain order in the classroom because of their inability to control the class and manage behavioural problems. Classroom behavioural problems in secondary school includes inappropriate study habit, truancy, fighting, cheating, bullying, quarrelling, conversing, chorus answers, lateness, and eating/chewing etc.

Omebe (2005) agreed that strategies of modifying behaviour are derived from principles developed from learning theories which includes both cognitive, and stimulus response associating learning processes. They are classical and operant condition learning by imitation or modeling, cognitive or intellectual learning (insightful learning). These theories allow the individual to actively participate in finding solutions to his/her problems. Teachers should be able to use behaviour modification strategies such as verbal reinforcement, private chat, fading, ignoring, ear shooting, proximity control, and modeling, tokens to correct erring students who exhibit disruptive and maladaptive behaviour in the classroom setting

Essuman (1990). In controlling disruptive behaviour in classrooms, teachers have mastered specific strategies for planning an optimal number of meaningful activities for anticipating potential problems and for creating an enriched inviting environment.

Student in such classroom appear to know what to do when they require assistance, they know what is expected of them and they are seen satisfied with their own progress. The ideal teacher while monitoring the student progress and anticipating behaviour problems are able to provide students with meaningful options matched to students learning needs. This statement points to the need of pre-planning, lesson planning and planning how to avoid common classroom occurrences that motivate misbehaviour, Ezeocha and Enwuezor (1990) agreed that if teachers are aware that when students misbehave thee should be reasons for that and the teacher should try to identify these reasons. Some students are attention seekers and in their efforts to be recognized, disrupt the class by their descriptive behaviours. Some students misbehave because they are frustrated by their academic performance while others are un-co-operative in the classroom Bandura and Walters, (1969).

Through the use of behaviour modification strategy it is believed that the individual has to be forced to learn on what to learn and devil has to be driven out from some of the students who bully other as to show that are, they do these because they are not intelligent, they have something to show to the weaker ones, who may be more intelligent and well behaved in the classroom. In secondary schools, most teachers use harsh traditional punishments on students who misbehave. They often kneel them down for hours. Some of the teachers go as far as giving students knock on the heads. The erring students may be suspended from the school and this lead to many becoming dropouts from school. Infact, it is necessary that the teachers should review their approach to behaviour modification strategy as harshness in correcting unwanted behaviours has far reaching psychological implications on the future of the student. Teachers should try to control and mange their classrooms by being kind, humane, and fair but firm to students. The teachers should not loose their temper easily on the student. Teachers should try to control and manage their classrooms by being kind, humane and fair but firm to students. The teachers should not loose their temper easily on the students, fairness should be their watchword. Teachers should involve their students in effective lesson and the thereby generate their confident in the teacher. As a result of the forgoing, it will be agreed that student’s disruptive behviour is a problem of both Educational planners, parents, counselors, Educators, school administrators, students themselves and indeed all segments of the entire society at large. From the foregoing, the researcher is interested in finding out how teachers make use of behaviour modification strategy in managing disruptive behaviour in classroom.

Finally, time brings change. Things are not static but dynamic. Due to the school location, gender and type of school. Behaviour modification strategy is needed in managing classroom disruptive behaviour. It not the way you handled students in rural area that handle students in urban area because their perceptions are not the same. Things change with changing years, such that the use and applications of the strategies of behaviour modification years ago, as well as the problems confronted by those who used them as reported in literature, may not be the same at present. The way and manner the strategies of behaviour modification were applied many years ago may be different from the present practice. Also, location or environment can make a difference with regards to the use of the approaches of behaviour modification strategies.

The result will enable teachers to know whether the use of behaviour modification strategies had contributed to resolve the problem of disruptive behaviour among secondary school student. The aim of this study is geared towards identifying the best strategy teachers should use in controlling and managing their classroom.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Behaviour modification strategies are very powerful tools for bringing out positive change in human behaviour and facilitate good and conducive learning atmosphere in the school system.

Disruptive behaviours abound among students, for example, we find students indulging in noisemaking, some students are sighing in class, some loiter, shuffling, students even answer calls in class, some students’ indulge in conversation during teaching and learning, some students come to class late, during examination some of them indulge in exam malpractice. All these disruptive behaviour cause problem in the classroom and if not handled properly will affect teaching and learning since these behaviour have negative effect on the school as a whole. It is necessary to identify solutions to these problems. Several theories have been advanced to explain why individuals, including student misbehave, yet the problem is still on.

Many works have been done in research, several methods have been devised on how to put a stop to these disruptive behaviours yet students manifest disruptive behaviours with increasing frequency. This research work attempts to adopt negative reinforcement as behaviour modification strategy. Since it is undisputed fact that disruptive behaviour has psychological and educational effect on student, it needs to be tackled. The problem of this study posed in a question form is; To what extent does teachers make use of adequate behaviour modification strategy in managing disruptive behaviour among secondary school students in Enugu north local government area, Enugu.

1.3 Objectives of Study

  1. Identify the classroom disruptive behaviours exhibited by students.
  2. Identify behaviour modification strategies teachers’ use in managing classroom disruptive behaviour.
  3. Determine factors that contribute to students’ disruptive behaviours.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the classroom disruptive behaviours exhibited by students?
  2. What are the behaviour modification strategies teachers used in managing classroom disruptive behaviour?
  3. What are the factors that contribute to students’ disruptive behaviour in the classroom?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The hypothesis will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the mean rating of male and female respondents in identifying classroom disruptive behaviour exhibited by student.
  2. There is no significant difference between the mean rating of male and female respondents on the behaviour modification strategies teachers use in managing classroom disruptive behaviour.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study seeks to find out the best behaviour modification strategies used by teachers in managing classroom disruptive behaviour among students. This study will serve as a resource material to teachers, students, counselors, educationists, and the school administrators. By keeping abreast of the events, and developments in the field of behaviour modification strategy, one will be able to ascertain which approaches are gaining currency and widely use, and those that are loosing recognition and patronage.

This will instigate enquires into the factor responsible for the popularity or otherwise of the behaviour modification strategy. It will also help the teachers to know correct strategy/strategy to use to modify disruptive behaviour in their classroom. The information obtained from this study will be of beneficial to both students and the teachers in their battle for improved the management of the classroom. Use of behaviour modification strategies for managing classroom disruptive behaviours by teachers in secondary schools in Enugu north local government area, Enugu.will help to improve teaching and learning. The result of this research is of great benefit to teachers, counselors, Educationists, school administrators, parents and indeed to all those who will prepare students for adjustment in the homes, churches in controlling the disruptive behaviour that exist amongst the students in secondary schools.
The study will help the teachers to understand their own level of tolerance in managing classroom behaviours. The study will help the counselor to control the process of counseling and accepts responsibility for the outcome of their negative behaviours. It will enable them to identify the problems of student, causes and decides what kind of strategy to use in eliminating the students problem. The counselor may decide to involve himself in the individuals environment outside the counseling office or involve in help of significant others in the students environment just to have desired result on the student negative behaviour. It will help the counselor to provide the student with the skills to mange his/her own life within and outside the classroom.

Educationists will benefit from the research because it will help to emphasize on cultural integration in our schools to help our students to know the norm of our society, e.g. respect for elders, truthfulness and obedient right from home to the classroom. Today Education is universally accepted as a form of investment in human being, the educational planners will derive information on the cause of misbehaviour in the students from this research work and would therefore map out adequate comprehensive programme that would engage students and it will properly assess this on both academic and character dimensions.

School administrators are those heads of the school which help them to make required assignment and evaluation on the need for behaviour intervention or modification plans for students whose disruptive behaviour impedes their learning or learning of their classmates.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The study was constrained in a number of ways. However, the obvious limitations of the study include the followings.

The study was limited in area of determining the actual respondent of teachers who have full knowledge the disruptive behaviour students exhibit in the classroom.

The study was centred on Behaviour modification strategy teachers use to manage classroom disruptive behaviour. The inclusion of counselors will further validate the finding of future studies for greater generalization.

Possibly there could have been some faking of responses to the items on the questionnaire provided by the researcher. The extent it occurs may influence the findings of this study if care is not taken.

1.8 Scope of the Study

The geographical scope of the study involved all the government secondary schools located in Enugu north local government area. All located in Enugu State.

The content scope focused on four aspects that include: the classroom disruptive behaviours exhibited by students, the behaviour modification strategy use in managing classroom disruptive behaviour, Extent gender difference contributed to students disruptive behaviour in classroom and the factors that contributed to students disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

Chapter Five

Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1. Research Findings

The research questions and the hypothese used in this study have been put in a way that the researcher has done quite a lot on this work; However the researcher will be discussing on the following sub-headings

  1. The classroom disruptive behaviour exhibited by students.
  2. The behaviour modification strategies teachers use in managing classroom disruptive behaviour
  3. The factors that contribute to students disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
5.1.2 The classroom disruptive behaviour exhibited by students.

The finding of the study on the classroom disruptive behaviour revealed that behaviour modification strategies help teachers to change student’s disruptive behaviour. Also this study create awareness to available teachers in the classroom to be able to manage their classroom well. Students attend school to become educated members of society, capable of making informed decisions and increasing future career possibilities. However, some children have difficulty adjusting to the classroom environment and act out with disruptive behaviours.

Disruptive classroom behaviours not only detract from your child’s education experience, but may also lead to social isolation. Understanding the types of disruptive classroom behaviours, and the possible causes and solutions, may help you problem-solve your child’s behaviour problems, and reduce the likelihood that he will suffer from social isolation.

What one teacher considers disruptive, another teacher may not. No set criteria or definition exists to determine which behaviour qualifies as disruptive. However, some behaviours generally qualify as unacceptable no matter which teacher runs the classroom.

Disruptive classroom behaviours include aggressive behaviours, defiant behaviours, social disruptions and emotional disturbances. Aggressive behaviours include intimidating peers, engaging in physical altercations or damaging property. Defiant behaviours include blatant and sometimes vocal disregard of rules, as well as devaluing the teacher’s expertise and judgment. Examples of social disruptions include interrupting discussions with off-topic information, engaging in private conversations or passing notes during instructional time. Emotional disturbances are temper tantrums.

The Parent Report explains that a child’s disruptive classroom behaviours may result from the significant change in environment between the home and school. Children go from a small home environment to a classroom with 20 to 30 children, one authority figure and more structure than they have at home.

Not knowing how to cope with these new demands, your child may act out. Exploring your child’s disruptive behaviour through communication with the teacher and your child can help you identify strategies for changing disruptive behaviours before they get out of hand.

A chronic pattern of disruptive behaviour may indicate a mental health disorder. Possible disorders indicated by such behaviour include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder. ADHD, characterized by an inability to pay attention and impulsive behaviours, often causes behavioral problems in class. Arinze and Ojoru (2009) support the above finding. The author mentioned that cognitive Behaviour modification strategy had a positive and significant effect on the youth. They believed that the use of behaviour modification strategies will enable teachers to change the disruptive behaviour students exhibit.

These disruptive behaviours have pose serious consequences on the students, their families, teachers and society in general; students who associate with such bad behaviour can neither become sound in their life nor effective can neither become sound in their life nor effective in any undertaking, when they leave school and enter the large society as mature men and women may find it difficult to cope in the society. The researcher sees the need to adopt correct behaviour modification strategy in managing classrooms. In agreement with the findings Anagboso (2009) also supported that disruptive behaviour can affect good learning in the classroom. However author advised that teachers should motivate good behaviour so that others will emulate. The above result of the data analysis shows that some of the respondents reject that there is disruptive behaviour, since the calculated t- value is low than the table value the null hypothesis is rejected, therefore, there is signfant different between the mean ratings of respondent on classroom disruptive behaviour

5.1.2 The Behaviour Modification Strategies Teachers use in changing Classroom Disruptive Behaviour

Behaviour modification strategies include a series of teacher-implemented activities and actions aimed at improving classroom behaviour. Encouraged behaviours might include staying seated, requesting permission to talk, remaining on task, proper care of classroom books and tools, and treating other students with respect. Discouraged behaviours might include loud or disruptive behaviour, wandering around the classroom and not completing assignments. Melissa Stand ridge from the University of Georgia reminds teachers that behavioral modification works because students work for positive response and for approval from individuals they admire.

The major finding of the study of the responses of the respondents on behaviour modification strategies teachers use in the classroom, it shows that the various behaviour modification strategies were all accepted by the respondents.

Behaviour modification works because students copy positive responses and for approval from people the admire. Therefore teachers should try to be role models so as show good example to the students.

The table of t-test analysis of data shows that there is significant difference between the mean responses on the behaviour modification strategies teachers use to change disruptive behaviour in classroom. The above findings are in agreement with Ukwueze (2010) modeling strategy on student study behaviour and academic achievement will enable student to cope with their studies thereby making the students better. In his result he revealed that modeling strategies is effective in improving the academic performance of students who are talented in extra curricular activities.

Findings form school counselor as behaviour engineers and facilitators of good learning environment in the school system see it as their duty to help classroom teacher by making use of teacher to maintain conducive learning environment this is in agreement Bailey. (1976).

5.1.3 The Factors that Contribute to Students Disruptive Behaviour

It is not encouraging to know that most these students do not have good orientation from their various homes. Most teachers don’t know the skill/strategy of behaviour modification they will use to control the class.

The finding of the study, the researcher revealved some factors that could lead students to misbehave.

The result on table 3, indicate that the listed items were factors that would cause student disruptive behaviour. This study has also demonstrated that common behave problem occure in different secondary school in Enugu north local government area, Enugu.

Causes of student disruptive behaviour tend to weaken the family influence on the students. This will result in adolescent being left to work out their own desire among their peers and they form a superficial personality. The student find comfort in their peers because that is where fill they belong in their group they have status prestige, recognition and other roles to play among their peer. When these group of students tries to make teachers fill they belong to society it will make them to exhibit some disruptive behaviour. In way to conform and be like their peers, it will bring conflict among them which will affect other students, the family, and the society. Johnson (1972) in agreement with the study believed that family is stone of human society so all patterns of behaviour established in childhood and adolescence make an important contribution to adult social behaviour. Children mould their behaviour after their parants. Students copies, their behaviours irrespective of their behaviour being good or bad.
However Okorie (2005) supported that cognitive of teachers should employ the cognitive behaviour strategies in managing students in his findings of the study he showed teachers cognitive therapy that it had a positive impart on the teachers to improve on their education. It was find out that teachers in urban area go to school more than the teacher in rural area.

Furthermore disruptive behaviours are inimical to the life of the students especially in the ability to attain higher academic success as it is now. It will bring about unbearable and irreparable damage to our educational system and the capability of these youths as future leaders. Hence there is need to adopt and implement some of the recommended behaviour modification strategy finally the result of the analysis of hypothesis on shows that the calculated t value is less than the table value.

Since the calculated critical value is less than the table value the null hypothesis is accepted. Therefore, there is no significant different between the mean score of factors that could contribute to disruptive behaviour among students in secondary school.

5.2 Conclusion

Conclusively from the above analysis and interpretations done and the information from related literature, it is implies that

  1. There are all sorts of disruptive behaviours exhibited by students in the classroom.
  2. From the findings secondary school teachers use both traditional and scientific approaches to control disruptive behaviour in their various classes.
  3. Teachers in secondary school generally make use of traditional approach more. Like (Flogging and kneeling down) than scientific approach.

The general preference kneeling down and flogging by teachers in controlling classroom disruptive behaviour despite the evident advantages of the scientific approach is an evidence that these teachers are either Lazy or have refused to grow on the use of modern way of handling disruptive behaviour. Some of the teachers refuse to apply psychological principles which they learnt during their further education in colleges of Education or universities.

From authors it believed the these approaches of behaviour modification strategies are being taught to student in education department.

The researcher concludes that there many committing and compelling factors affecting teachers on approach to control of classroom disruptive behaviour.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. In view of the fact that there are many approaches of behaviour modification strategies that are yet unknown to school counselors and teachers from which they would have benefited if it were the other way round, it is therefore recommended that teachers and official of guidance and counseling unit of the ministry of education and state education commission should be consulted with the colleges of education and universities in organizing yearly conferences on the use of behaviour modification strategy as is done in overseas. Qualified and dedicated guidance counselors should be posted to all secondary schools in Nigeria this time not limited to a particular state.
  2. Parents/families should be encouraged to bring up their children in the appropriate manner, though seminars and lectures to be organized by specialists at the local government levels.
  3. The government should direct the Ministry of Education schools before the implementation.
  4. Specialists in Education should be consulted and be made to supervise the implementation of policies concerning education so that they can stand the test of time.
  5. The P.T.A, and the School Board of Directors should be used effectively to foster harmony and strict discipline among students and the schools.
  6. Zonal conferences in behaviour modification therapy should be held once a year in each of the five educational zones of Anambra State.
  7. Since the watchword in the use of approaches of behaviour modification strategy is effectiveness, the following are recommended to practicing school counselors for effectively transmitting the skills to teachers, prefects/school functionaries and others.
    1. The teachers should be sure that everything he needs is readily available before demonstration begins in group counseling or group guidance.
    2.  He/ she should be sore that the learners can see and hear him from their positions.
    3. He/she should ask questions every now and then to see if they do understand.
    4. Where a group demonstration is given, let each learner repeat the presentation to other members of the group.

This not only gives a feeling of accomplishment to the performer, but helps others to realize that the performance is not beyond their capabilities as learners.

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