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Disruptive behaviour negatively impacts teacher recruitment and retention, survey says

A survey revealed that two-thirds of teachers are currently, or have previously, considered leaving the profession because of poor pupil behaviour. Source: Shutterstock

Well-behaved students can inadvertently facilitate their learning in the classroom, but the opposite can happen when they misbehave.

A survey by UK think tank, Policy Exchange, suggests that persistent disruptive behaviours exhibited by secondary school students can negatively impact teacher recruitment and retention.

The report, titled It Just Grinds You Down, found that almost two-thirds of teachers are currently, or have previously, considered leaving the profession due to poor pupil behaviour.

This can be detrimental as it prevents effective teaching from taking place and drives teachers out of the classroom.

A total of 1,051 parents, 1,043 pupils and 743 secondary school teachers of varying experience levels were surveyed.

Teachers say they commonly experience a disruption in their school, such as students talking over them. Source: Shutterstock

It notes that almost three-quarters of the teachers polled agreed that potential teachers are reluctant to join the profession out of fear of becoming victim to poor behaviour from pupils, while just under half of the teachers polled claim their training did not prepare them to effectively manage pupil behaviour.

The report describes disruptive behaviour as the following: arriving late for lessons, talking at the same time as a teacher, inappropriate use of mobile phones, chewing gum and not completing the work set.

The problem has become serious in English schools, with the report noting that three-quarters of teachers say they commonly experience disruptions throughout their working day.

Some of the problems highlighted in the report include poorly implemented behaviour management policies in schools, while teachers also lacked confidence in the support offered by senior staff when they discipline a pupil, fearful they may be deemed to have poor teaching abilities.

Only 23 percent of teachers polled felt parents fully respected a teacher’s authority to discipline their child.

Some of the recommendations highlighted in the report claimed that higher standards of pupil behaviour should be required for schools to achieve good or better Ofsted ratings, while Ofsted inspectors need to be better trained in how best to evaluate and rate pupil behaviour.

It added that, “Policies must be applied and interpreted consistently by all members of staff including senior managers. Ofsted needs to evaluate not just a school’s behaviour management policy but, importantly, its implementation.”

It suggests staff should also have a refresher course on knowledge and motivation for institutional behaviour management policies, while clearer policies are needed in schools on smartphone use.

This includes either restricting devices from schools or limiting their use to clearly delineated times and circumstances.

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