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Middle school student perspectives about misbehavior in physical education classes

Salee Supaporn, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Misbehavior is a research topic that most researchers investigate from teachers' points of view. This study, in contrast, was designed to explore misbehavior from the students' and the teacher's perspectives, using Doyle's ecological approach. A male teacher, Mr. Softball, and 14 seventh and eighth graders (ten males and four females) volunteered to participate during a two-week basketball unit. Data were collected through shadowing the teacher, critical incidents, student and teacher interviews, videotaped class sessions, and audiotaped stimulated recall sessions with the videotapes. Data from all sources were analyzed using constant comparison to identify common themes. Findings indicated that Mr. Softball's classes included overlapping instructional, managerial, and social task systems (Doyle, 1986; Siedentop, 1991) and his overall program of action could be classified as casual. Misbehavior was situation specific and occurred throughout these overlapping task systems. Students and the teacher noticed few misbehaviors during the actual classes and the misbehaviors recognized did not interrupt the flow of his teaching. When they noticed misbehavior incidents, either during class or when reviewing videotapes, they reacted differently from case to case based on who misbehaved, when it happened, and how it affected them or the class. Misbehaviors were common events in Mr. Softball's classes and most students admitted that they misbehaved. Misbehaviors could be classified as verbal, physical, or rules, routines, and expectations (RRE)-related. These students defined misbehavior as doing something that they were not supposed to do or not doing something that they were supposed to do. Mr. Softball's (a) weak RREs, (b) lack of effectiveness in organizing and delivering instructional tasks, and (c) loose accountability and the lack of intervention, allowed many opportunities for students to misbehave. Further, he created a class environment in which students engaged more often in social agendas at the expense of completing instructional and managerial tasks. Finally, the norm of this workplace did not support Mr. Softball in helping students learn or in maintaining order to insure that students were on-task and well-behaved. In summary, less effective teaching appeared to be the major issue that encourages students to misbehave.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education|Teacher education|Physical education

Recommended Citation

Supaporn, Salee, "Middle school student perspectives about misbehavior in physical education classes" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823780.