Connecting School Policies and Praxis to the Development of Violent and Aggressive Behaviors in Elementary School Children: Locating the Voice of the Student.Reportar como inadecuado

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This ethnographic study examined students' definitions of violence and aggression, the context in which threatening situations occur, and the strategies and consequences that a group of 30 urban African-American elementary school children used when they were in threatening situations. Data were obtained from several sources, including participant observations, formal and informal interviews, and interviews/conversations with parents/caregivers, the school principal, and school staff. Findings revealed more similarities than differences among school staff, parent/caregiver, and student definitions of violence. However, children over 9 years and their parent/caregivers gave more emphasis to nonphysical or emotional injury, specifically acts of disrespect toward a person or their family, than did school staff. School staff and parents/caregivers had very little positive interaction that might help them develop a transformative relationship that would incorporate conflict positively, value participants and their skills, and have a problem-solving process. Rather, each group's words illustrate the negative, stereotyped images they formed as a result of the lack of contact with one another. Conflicting messages to children regarding what to do when other children are aggressive were noted. Although the principal and professional staff located the source of violence outside the school, students identified violence and aggression as occurring regularly at school. Staff encouraged competition without recognizing that it might foster conflict. Parents/caregivers believed that most teachers cared only about their paycheck and did not have respect for the parents/caregivers. Implications of the study's results relate to several potential changes in the approach used to prevent violence and aggression, including changing the relationship between student and teacher, emphasizing higher order thinking skills, stressing children's capacities, and building upon the community-based knowledge of children and their parents/caregivers. (Contains 65 references.) (KB)

Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Age Differences, Aggression, Black Students, Conflict Resolution, Educational Policy, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Teachers, Ethnography, Family School Relationship, Low Income Groups, Parent Attitudes, Problem Solving, School Community Relationship, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Teacher Attitudes, Violence

Autor: Kleckley, Bettie Joyner


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