A Reflexive Case Study Addressing the Relationship between Teacher Stress and the Inclusion and Exclusion of Disruptive Pupils in a UK Secondary School

Authors: Hussain, H.

Start date: 8 September 2007

Place of Publication: Leeds.ac.uk

Research focused on disruptive students and the impact on teacher stress, with the aim being to assess the relationship between teacher’s workload, their health effects in relation to job burnout and stress in relation to the inclusion/exclusion of disruptive students in class. In relation to this, the research used a researcher-practitioner approach to addressing stress in teaching practice. A reflexive stance was therefore adopted to underpin the research methodology. Cunliffe (2003) suggests that reflexive inquiry provides valuable insights into organisational practices by stimulating a critical exploration of knowledge. A Phenomenological case study approach was adopted using a qualitative multi-method design. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were used on 20 teachers to assess the proposed research objectives and classroom observations and student interviews were carried out for a year 10 class to complete the data collection. Comparative Thematic Analysis was employed to analyse the data. The findings relayed how students felt caught up in a self-fulfilling prophecy with teachers seeing them negatively leading to a spiral of failure and lack of motivation. The interviews illuminated how different coping strategies were adopted by different teachers and management of disruption varied. The most important findings came from middle managers who claimed there was poor communications between senior and junior teaching tiers with a strong sense of bureaucracy ruling their decisions. To bridge this gap a phenomenological collaborative action group for middle-managers was attempted (after Baird, 1999), offering teachers the chance to self-reflect on their practice in order to encourage meta-cognition. The idea being to encourage teachers to gain control over their personal teaching practices, their knowledge and awareness of their classroom delivery and student evaluations of their teaching practices. In this way a self-reflective process was encouraged allowing for both personal and organizational growth (Baird, 1999; Musselwhite and Vincent, 2005).

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