Year: 1997-1998
Month: November
Leader: Group F

Situation/Case Study:
STUDENT BEHAVIOR

Description:
Students challenge and question everything the teacher says and does. The teacher is becoming defensive and is concerned about avoiding this reaction. The group selected the cases related to students who challenged the authority of the teacher and were not motivated to do their work.

Hypotheses:
Students do not see consequences for their disrespectful behavior. Students do not see any rewards for coming to class and doing the work. Teachers are given responsibility for student success but some students do not uphold their responsibility for learning. There is a problem of student motivation. Pressure to pass students along. There is little motivation when all must succeed. Motivation must come from the students. A teacher without motivated students feels frustrated. How to make them take learning more seriously is beyond me. I have tried (withholding points, reinforcement, etc. The teacher feels frustrated because they are doing what they can. The teacher feels frustrated because the school does not support high expectations, parents don't support them and students won't work toward them. Parents and students know the school's attitude and work the system. Too much is being done for the students. They do not own the problem. Are there consequences that encourage appropriate self-reliance and follow though on the part of students? Students learn that they are not held responsible and are given too many chances. Teachers feel that they are in a lose-lose situation and feel manipulated by students, parents, and counselors (deans).

Theories behind practice:
Motivation theory may come in here both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Middle school students seem less motivated than elementary. Lack of motivation is the result of limited consequences either at home or school. Apathy results from lack of relevant consequences or inconsistency. The teacher feels frustrated because the school does not support high expectations, parents don't support them and students won't work toward them. Parents and students know the school's attitude and work the system. Too much is being done for the students; they do not own the problem. Are there consequences that encourage appropriate self-reliance and follow though on the part of students? Students learn that they are not held responsible and are given too many chances. Teachers feel that they are in a lose-lose situation and feel manipulated by students, parents, and counselors (deans).

Impact on others:


Solutions:
The students need to see consequences and consistency. The system needs to support high expectations and results. "Parents need to get involved. A systems approach is necessary. What can we do to be more explicit to parents and students? How can we collectively send the same message -- a syllabus with an agreement that needs to be signed by parents and students and returned to school? Develop some elements of common expectations across courses and let everyone know. Teachers need time to discuss common expectations for students. With the graduation rule, teachers are setting up learning situations but it depends on students engaging in the learning.

Comments:
Reasons why students aren't motivated: they simply forget, its not a motivation problem; they don't see the relevance; they don't care; their friends aren't motivated; the teacher does not stress the importance of the learning; the teacher is not clear enough about expectations; the teacher is not clear about assignments; the students think it is too hard (or easy); they do not think they have enough time; they do not have long term goals; they don't like the subject or the assignment; they don't get any reward for being accountable; the teacher doesn't give the students the necessary help; and students are not held responsible and the behavior continues.