Positive behaviour support and parental involvement: What do teachers think?

Year: 2012

Author: Rose, Michelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Teachers have always supported both learning and behaviour in the classroom. Whilst student problem behaviour, in some instances may be considered typical for the developing child, persistent disruptive or violent behaviour can produce serious consequences. Teachers may suffer stress and burnout, parents may suffer anxiety, frustration and even depression, and the child may be walking the path to academic failure, delinquency, or incarceration. Recently school-wide systems to support positive behaviour to enable focused engagement with the learning were introduced to consenting schools across New South Wales and more widely throughout Australia. The goals of public education state that educating a child is a shared responsibility between educators and parents, and the goals for positive behaviour support encourage parental involvement. However, only limited research has been undertaken to critically analyse the extent of and effectiveness of parent involvement in relation to the behaviour support systems operating within schools. The purpose of this research is to explicate teachers' and principals' perspectives of the effectiveness of their current behaviour support system, how and to what extent parents have been involved in the school's positive behaviour support system, and what might be needed to improve the effectiveness of their current system.
Participants were twelve teachers and two principals from two Department of Education and Communities primary schools in the South Western Sydney Regional area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant and the narrative examined for recurring themes.
The findings suggest that multiple factors exist, that segregate parents from the school and their involvement in programs that school staff implement to support positive behaviour that enables learning. Further findings indicate a need for adult education that may involve teachers and parents learning together across areas of understanding child development, special needs and behaviour management.
Current and longstanding research recognises that parents are significantly influential in the academic and social development of their children. The teachers interviewed acknowledged this and provided important comment for the future direction of positive behaviour support within their particular schools. The findings have practical implications for the reconceptualization of structured support systems which forge stronger links between the stakeholders within a school and their local community services and resources. The findings have implications for the development of future models of implementation for positive behaviour support systems.