Managing and Handling Indiscipline in Schools.

3608 Words May 3rd, 2011 15 Pages
MANAGING AND HANDLING INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS
A RESEARCH PROJECT
ISABEL FREIRE, UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA JOÃO AMADO, UNIVERSIDADE DE COIMBRA

ABSTRACT
The research project we present here in (entitled GERLINDES, in Portuguese) is set out with the assumption that there is a link among the representations and the actions within the members of the interstitial groups of schools, the practices in action and social and disciplinary environment at schools. This research project is focused on eight case studies held in schools of different grades, located in the centre of Portugal. Both qualitative (interviews and ethnographic observation) and quantitative methodologies (pupils’ questionnaires) have been used.

KEYWORDS
Indiscipline ; School ethos
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Schools are “complex, formal organisations that, as such, include behaviours of diverse actors, organised and interconnected by a structure of authority and a network of relationships that allow partial and unfinished information, resources and products pass from one group to another" (Bates and Murray, 1981, 58). According to these authors, school is structurally grouped in two kinds – the "elementary groups" and the "interstitial groups". The former constitutes “basic structural elements” or “social units” (for example, the class, the group of teachers of a certain subject or field of knowledge, the administrative sector, etc.), while the latter, formed by the representatives of the elementary groups, are “connexion groups” which origin a network of links in the system’s structure (for example, the pedagogical council, the school and/or school group assembly, the class councils, the board of the parents’ association). It is inside these interstitial groups that the contact between the members of the isolated elementary groups is established. Research has not given much attention to the role of the interstitial groups, although the organisation of schools in the Portuguese educational system assigns them a strong leading role. The organisation of these groups, established in Portuguese schools, holds a potential of collective work to promoting a favourable school environment to students’ learning

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