Understanding Pupil Behaviour

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Views about the causes of a pupil’s inappropriate classroom behaviour can be placed along a continuum. At one end is the belief that the behavior has to do entirely with some deficiency in the pupil. The assumption is that pupils only behave inappropriately because there is something wrong with them. This explanation, commonly referred to as a deficit model, highlights the pupil’s problematic psychological make-up, or sociological factors which contribute to his or her lack of conformity. Under the deficit model, solving problems associated with a child’s lack of conformity involves a variety of approaches ranging from exercising control over the pupil’s behaviour, to counselling. At the other end of the continuum is the belief that the child’s lack of conformity is an expression of genuine and justifiable dissatisfaction with an educational institution that fails to cater for his or her legitimate needs. It proposes that if pupils behave unacceptably, it is entirely the fault of the curriculum. Either the material being covered is not seen as sufficiently relevant or interesting, or the process of instruction is not stimulating enough to maintain the interest and attention of pupils. This view focuses on solutions that require institutional changes to curriculum content and processes, timetabling, resources, staff–pupil relationships and pupil–pupil relationships. Paraphrase:

There is a continuum along which different opinions about what causes pupils to behave inappropriately can be placed. One of the extremes is the opinion that the fault lies only with the student. This belief tells us that only a deficiency in them can be the cause of problems. The deficit model, as this opinion is called, puts the blame for the pupil’s behavior on their social and psychological background, which supposedly causes them not to respect authority. According to this model, the way to solve the problems involves things like making the student obey rules and...
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