Goodbye Mr. Chipps, Hello Dr Phil? A Move To Diagnose Behaviour Problems

Year: 2015

Author: Slee, Roger

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Reportage of serious problems of student indiscipline have been a constant in school education. Attribution for indiscipline has been directed variously: ineffective teaching and classroom management; poor parenting or familial dysfunction; oppositional and destructive youth sub-cultures; clashes between hegemonic Eurocentric middle-class cultures of schooling and working class children; emotional deficits; compensation for and distraction from academic underperformance; and so the list compounds. This paper will trace evolving explanations for disruptive student behaviours and disengagement from schooling and apply particular focus to the escalation of biopolitics as a way of thinking about trouble in schools. Hyper awareness of the growing compendium of behaviour and attention disorders as listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) may be linked to increasing prevalence of and discovery of new behaviour disorders. The impact of a new biological frames of reference for trouble in school is profound and raises new sets of dilemmas and challenges for education workers. Understanding this process of change invites us to apply different and more expansive analytic tools if we are to reform education to meet the requirements of all students in new times.