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Violence against teachers is more likely to occur in schools that focus on grades and test scores than in schools that emphasize student learning, a new study has found.

Researchers surveyed more than 9,000 U.S. teachers about their perceptions of instructional emphasis in their schools shortly before and during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants also reported whether they had been subjected to physical, verbal, or property violence—by students, parents, peers, and/or administrators.

The results show that a A performance-focused culture was associated with higher levels of teacher-reported violence before and during COVID-19, while a school’s emphasis on content mastery was associated with lower levels of violence aimed at It happens on teachers.

“What was really surprising was that this culture of performance predicted all kinds of increased violence by students, whatever it was. verbal intimidation or property violence,” said Eric Anderman, lead author of the study and professor of educational psychology at The Ohio State University.

“It wasn’t part of the skill. It was when it was focused on. And -‘You have to get good grades, school is only about grades’ – that’s when the kids took action against the teachers.”

Proving that Nearly half of American teachers are extremely dissatisfied.the authors concluded that fostering a school culture of deep engagement in learning can make students happier and teachers safer.

The study was published in Journal of School Violence.

Anderman and colleagues surveyed a total of 9,363 teachers of pre-K through high school classes in suburban, urban and rural districts across the United States: between 2019 and March 2020 and during the 2020-2021 school year.

Types of violence teachers reported included having objects thrown at them, blocking their way with obscene comments or gestures, and damaging personal or classroom property. When assessing school culture, they rated statements such as “teachers believe that all students can learn,” indicative of a mastery-focused climate, or “teachers believe that children “behaves who get good grades from other children,” indicative of a performance-focused climate. Grades

Statistical analysis of data controlled for multiple variables specifically to explore the relationship between school environment and teacher violence.

In addition to these connections, the study showed that this violence did not stop during and immediately after the COVID-19 lockdown. About 65% of teachers surveyed reported at least one incident of verbal threats or property damage by students before the pandemic, compared to 32% and 26% respectively in 2020-21. Reported the same incidents. More than half of teachers reported violence by parents before COVID-19, a figure that dropped to 29 percent early in the pandemic.

“Rates are down, but rates are still there,” Anderman said. “People say no one was in the schools at the time. That’s not true. Most of the time the teachers were in the building, but the students were at home. And some of the violence happened on Zoom.”

Student violence against teachers was more common overall, but the study showed a similar relationship between school culture and rates of teacher-directed violence by parents, peers, and administrators.

“If the school was really focused on grades, you’d have more examples of parents, peers, and administrators doing things that were detrimental to teachers,” Anderman said. “But if the school focused on mastery—if people in the school said this is a place where we really encourage kids to learn as much as possible to master the content—you, for the most part, For, peers and parents and administrators get less. Engaging in any form of violence against teachers.”

Anderman defined a mastery climate as one in which students who take longer than their peers to solve math equations are not considered worse students and where students who perform poorly on tests may be given a do-over to try to bring their grade up. . As with skills, grades still matter—but motivating kids to actually learn is the bigger goal.

On the other hand, pressuring students to get good grades can lead to frustration, which is an important predictor of aggressive behavior, he said.

“This is something we can change that doesn’t cost millions of dollars to change,” Anderman said. “It’s taking time to really think about, when we’re talking to kids, how much emphasis are we putting on grades? It’s about changing the way we talk to kids about what learning is and what Really important.”

More information:
Eric M. Anderman et al., School Target Structures and Violence Against Teachers Before and During COVID-19, Journal of School Violence (2024). DOI: 10.1080/15388220.2024.2318703

Reference: School Focus on Grades and Test Scores Linked to Violence Against Teachers (2024, Feb. 23) Accessed 23 Feb. 2024 at https://phys.org/news/2024-02-school-focus-grades-scores-linked. Retrieved from html

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