Teacher Sensemaking of Student Discipline Practices in a Small Town Texas Middle School
Russell, William F
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.This study examined teacher decision making regarding issuing student referrals using qualitative case study methodology. A single middle school was used for the case study to locate all data under a single institutional culture. A purposeful sample of six teachers was chosen, and each teacher was interviewed. These interview data sets were analyzed using Weick?s sensemaking theory regarding how individuals decide to resume flow of activities in a process once the flow has been disrupted. This theory was applied to the specific situation of how teachers resolved misbehavior within a classroom. Research participants were asked to describe the factors influencing teachers? decisions to write a referral for misbehavior, the benefits students receive from receiving a referral, and faculty responses to escalating misbehavior in their classrooms. This study attempted to give voice to teachers? reflections of attending to common classroom misbehavior and to find differences among teachers with different rates of student referrals. Participating faculty were generally satisfied with their referral rate and were effective in resuming the flow of classroom instruction after student disruptions. Although faculty members reported similar procedures for attending misbehavior, each instructor used these procedures in strikingly different ways.