Teachers' Experiences of Effective Strategies for Managing Classroom Misbehavior in Hong Kong

June 2016

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 46, (2015), p. 94-103
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was to examine what effective strategies for managing student behavior meant to the teachers through their classroom experiences.

The participants were 12 secondary school teachers in Hong Kong.
The sample included five male teachers and seven female teachers.
The participants' average teaching experience was 9.25 years.

The author used a self-constructed semi-structured interview guide to explore the interviewees' perceptions of classroom misbehavior and their own management strategies.

The findings revealed that the participants commonly used eight strategies to manage student misbehavior, of which seven were perceived to be effective, i.e., rules-setting, hinting, directive statements, punishment, after class talks, relationship building, and instructional engagement.

The author argues that the first four strategies were effective because they not only controlled student behavior, but also nurtured students' responsibility for managing their own behavior.
The author also argues that instructional engagement was effective as it raised student participation in classroom learning which in turn thwarted misbehavior.

These results showed that Hong Kong teachers did not simply respond to student misbehavior in a knee-jerk manner, they integrated discipline, guidance and teaching strategies that were beneficial to student learning and development.
The author found that the most commonly-used behavioral control strategy was punishment. She explains that this is understandable as Chinese parents and teachers value a punitive approach in training a good child. The author argues, however, punishment was perceived to be more than a negative reinforcement having a deterrent effect on reducing undesirable behavior in Chinese classrooms.
She also found that a reprimand was a kind of verbal punishment that showed both disapproval of misbehavior and moralization of proper behavior and values.
The findings also revealed that directive commands were also given out as a warning or threat to force students to comply with the teachers' expectations or rules. The author argues that some teachers also used nonverbal to verbal hints, such as looking, naming and questioning, to stop student misbehavior, as well as to assist students with developing a sense of awareness and responsibility for managing their behavior in accordance with the rules and norms.

The author concludes that Hong Kong Chinese teachers played an authoritarian role inside the classroom while playing a caring role outside the classroom in managing student behavior. The Chinese teachers have the dual role of stopping misbehavior and promoting positive behavior, and thus they have integrated discipline and guidance strategies in managing students. 

Updated: Dec. 13, 2018