Educators’ views of a local system-based model for addressing student behaviour through school partnerships: The LMG model

Author: Judith Christenson-Foggett

Christenson-Foggett, Judith, 2017 Educators’ views of a local system-based model for addressing student behaviour through school partnerships: The LMG model, Flinders University, School of Education

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Student problem behaviour in schools is an issue for teachers, schools, and education jurisdictions. It is one of the principle issues of discussion for teachers, pre-service teachers, principals, and policymakers. Problem behaviour is associated with learning and social difficulties and impacts on access to school education and school completion rates. Teachers report that there has been an increase in problem behaviour, and studies have indicated that teachers in secondary and in primary schools are just as concerned with low-level minor disruptive behaviour (such as work avoidance and lack of engagement in class) as with the more serious behaviours such as violence and verbal abuse.

The purpose of this study was to examine a model that supports schools in managing available resources. It examined 12 principals' experiences and perceptions of primary schools and high schools working together in six Local Management Groups (LMGs) for the management of behaviour in school settings. In addition, there were six Assistant Principals Behaviour interviewed who support the LMG specifically for behaviour. Surveys were also obtained from 150 staff working within the LMG schools, examining their perceptions of management of student behaviour in their school. The study examined both internal school management strategies as well as strategies across schools. The study employed a convergent parallel design, and the methodology was a mixed method design characterised by a nested approach.

While problem behaviour continues to be a major issue for staff and educational jurisdictions, there is a paucity of published research addressing high schools and primary schools working together to effect change in managing student behaviour across a cognate set of schools.

This study has shown the value of high schools and primary schools working together to achieve a consistent approach for managing behaviour. A successful and operational LMG model considered all schools as equal partners and that schooling was a continuum of learning and engagement from Kindergarten through to Year 12 within that specific local community.

The results of this study concluded that the LMG model develops opportunities for schools to establish common links and practices in both behaviour and learning to ensure that students’ needs are met throughout their schooling. The LMG model supports schools working together and supports teachers’ professional learning through effective leadership practices and consideration of the needs of students and teachers within the school community. This study also found that individual schools need four systems that incorporate schoolwide, non-classroom, classroom, and individual systems to be implemented simultaneously within each school to support both teachers and students. Lastly, this study supports principals, community, and teachers working collaboratively together to develop locally targeted learning and behaviour programs that are focused on Kindergarten through to Year 12. The LMG model allows schools to provide their own professional learning opportunities for teachers that are supported by expert teachers from within the LMG schools.

Keywords: Behaviour, engagement, systems, principals, classroom, collaboration, professional learning, K to Year 12

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2017
School: School of Education
Supervisor: Professor Robert Conway