Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Cornelious, Linda

Committee Member

Prince, L. Debra

Committee Member

Mathews, Jerry

Committee Member

Alexander, Mary

Date of Degree

5-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare middle and high school teachers’ perceptions of the discipline methods used in public schools in Jackson, Mississippi. Specifically, this study examined teachers’ perceptions of their schools’ climate, discipline issues, and the preventive measures used to combat discipline issues. Out of a target population of 430, only 239 teachers participated. The survey consisted of 4 parts. Part I was designed to collect demographic data and to determine participation in violence prevention programs. Part II was designed to collect data related to school climate. Part III was designed to collect data related to discipline issues that existed, and Part IV was designed to collect data related to discipline preventive measures. The research design was descriptive and comparative. Descriptive statistics and a Mann Whitney U were the statistical tests utilized to analyze the data and answer the research questions. After the data were collected and analyzed, the researcher determined that there were significant differences in middle and high school teachers’ perceptions of their school’s climate impact on their ability to implement effective discipline strategies. The respondents indicated that some of their students participated in violence prevention programs (29% middle and 27% high), and approximately half (42% middle and 53% high) of the teachers participated in violence prevention programs. High school teachers’ responses revealed that student tardies, students cutting classes, theft, vandalism, student alcohol/drug use, possession of weapons, verbal/physical abuse of teachers by students, and gangs were discipline issues that had an impact on their ability to implement effective discipline strategies; whereas middle school teachers indicated that these items had less of an impact on their ability to implement effective discipline strategies. Conclusions based on the findings in this study indicated that approximately half of high school teachers (58%) and even fewer middle school teachers (42%) participated in school-based programs aimed at curtailing school violence. Since teachers are the single most important factor in creating a well managed classroom, it is the responsibility of the school principal to ensure that teachers are active participants in school-based efforts that are both proactive and preventive in nature.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/15191

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