Teacher Perceptions of Distress and Disturbance Regarding Student Behaviors in an All-Male Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva Elementary School Classroom
Gross, Karen Golda
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Substantial empirical data indicates that elementary school teachers are disturbed by student behavior problems in a classroom. The current study was conducted in order to determine which behaviors teachers report to be most disturbing, whether there are any teacher gender differences, and what teachers report as being most effective in handling the behavior problems in an all-male yeshiva classroom. The participants consisted of 149 elementary school teachers from 5 all-male Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva elementary schools in the New York Metropolitan area. Two instruments were used, a modified version of Algozzine's Disturbing Behavior Checklist as well as a questionnaire for teachers, which includes a modified version of the Elliot and Dweck questionnaire which surveys teacher attitude and behavior interventions. In addition, three scenarios based on vignettes from a previous study were used, followed by a list of behavior interventions. Heads of schools were contacted for agreement to distribute the surveys to the teaching staff. Analyses indicate that teachers in an all-male Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva elementary school find externalizing behaviors and behaviors causing a contagion effect in the classroom to be most disturbing, and female teachers were found to be more disturbed by internalizing behaviors than male teachers. Findings also reveal that teachers with a wider array of intervention use are more disturbed by problem behaviors than teachers who use fewer interventions. Teachers report that with improved student behavior, teacher acceptance of behavior will improve as well. Implications of this study emphasize the importance of effective management and early ascertainment of problem behaviors.