Teachers’ Sanction in the Classroom: Effect of Age, Experience, Gender and Academic Context

Jan. 02, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 1-11

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The moral judgment of sanction in teaching and disciplinary practices was studied in a group of 222 teachers to determine the factors that affect sanction in the classroom.


64 males and 158 females, (Mean age 37.9 years), took part in this experiment. The small number of men in the entire sample (29%) was representative of the current school reality. The participants were aged from 22 to 60 years and were divided into three different age groups according to their age and their teaching experience.

The first group was comprised of 107 teachers either in pre-service (n = 43) or with less than 10 years of teaching experience (n = 64), aged from 21 to 34 years (Mean age 26.7 years). The second group was comprised of 80 teachers all in service with a teaching experience from 10 to 20 years, aged between 35 and 49 years (Mean age 42.9 years). The third group was comprised of 35 teachers all in service with more than 20 years of teaching experience and aged from 50 to 60 years (Mean age 52.8 years).
In this sample of 222 teachers, 179 were in-service and 43 in pre-service with a few weeks to one year of teaching experience. All the 179 in-service teachers taught in regular education classrooms, 91 in primary school, and 88 in secondary school.

Factors studied included pupils' intent, consequences, recidivism, pupils' academic level, and family stability in two contexts: discipline and schoolwork. Results showed the significant effects of these factors for each context. Age of teachers, gender and teaching level (primary or secondary school) were also investigated in the judgment of sanction. Results showed a significant main effect of age, and specific differences in the moral algebra of teachers according to gender and teaching level.

In this study the relationship between child and teacher is more important in primary school than in secondary school. The youth of the primary school child may reinforce the empathy the primary school teachers have with their pupils, and could explain differences observed in their judgment with that of teachers in secondary school, as well as the possible difference in emphasis on “care” or “justice ” in their moral orientation when judging pupils.

Updated: Jan. 05, 2009