Strategies For Changing Undesirable Classroom Behaviour In Secondary School In Enugu North Local Government Area Of Enugu State

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Since undesirable behaviour are in a high rate among our student.. Presently it is given teachers a lot of problem. As a result of these bad behaviours there is ineffective learning in the classroom. The researcher decided to carryout some study on behaviour modification techniques in secondary schools. Indepth study was also made to find out if there is difference in behaviour modification technique. The study was carried out in secondary schools in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State. Teachers were mainly used for the study.  Questionnaires were used to elicit the relevant information needed. For a teacher to be effective, He/she has to have all the tools to practice his Profession. One of the skills/techniques needed is the behaviour Modification technique. This study focused on the use of behaviour modification  technique for managing classroom Undesirable Behaviour by teachers in secondary schools with a view to find out whether the appropriate behaviour modification technique is being used to modify undesirable behaviour or not. Findings made from the study show that undesirable behaviour that are common in all the schools includes:- noise making, truancy, cheating in examination, inattentiveness, disobedience, lying, lateness and incensing dressing to mention but a few. According to E.L. Thorndike, “Anything that exist must surely be measured”. Hence the researcher carried out this study on behaviour modification techniques use by teachers.  Data collected were being analysed using mean and standard deviation. Research questions were used and two hypotheses were used. Five very unpopular approaches of behaviour modification techniques were identified. Male and female teachers make used technique in modifying undesirable behaviour.  Majority of teachers combine the approaches of behaviour modification technique when they want to deal with undesirable behaviour.

1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Research questions/hypothesis
1.4 Purpose of the study
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Scope of the study
1.7 Limitation of the study
2.1 Conceptual framework/ Theoretical framework
2.2 Empirical studies
2.3 Literature appraisal
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population of the study
3.3 Sample and sampling techniques
3.4 Instrument for data collection
3.5 Validity and reliability
3.6 Administration of instrument
3.7 Method of data analysis
5.1 Summary of findings
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Implication of the study
5.4 Recommendation
5.5 Suggestions for further research
5.6 Contribution to Knowledge



Background of the Study

Every individual all over the world has one form of  behaviour or the other.

Behaviourial attitude is one thing every one exhibits and it is our nature to do so. Most of our behaviour, left to it, is biased, partial or prejudiced, yet the quality of our life and that of what we build depend on the quality of one behaviour. It is important to differentiate between undesirable classroom behaviour that which directly interferes with the ability of the instructor to teach or the ability of other students to benefit from the classroom experience from behaviour that is merely rude or uncivil. While the latter may become undesirable when it is repetitive or persistent, it usually is best addressed by example and influence.

Behaviour modification, behaviour therapy and behaviour counseling are often used interchangeably in literature. However, the major concern is on Behaviour modification. Onwuasoanya (2006), viewed behaviour modification as a behavioural science technique, which involves the application of principles derived from research in experimental psychology to alleviate human suffering and increase human functioning. Mahoney (2006), also looked at behaviour modification as any technique, which involves the use of broadly, defined set of clinical procedure whose descriptive and rationale often rely on the experimental finding of psychological research. All behaviours follow a set of consistent rules


that guide behaviour modification in classroom sector which help the teachers. Omabe (2005) pointed out that behaviour modification is systematic arrangement and scientific process of altering behaviours, the alteration of which could be from undesirable to desirable or improving existing one. In agreement with the above, Uba (2006) opined that behaviour modification refers to the application of behaviour principles of human situations including child rearing, education, psychotherapy, vocational preparation, business and social movements. Research over the years has led to the formulation of certain techniques that are used for behaviour modification. Students’ behaviours are managed and changed by the consequence of the classroom behaviour.

Furthermore Ekeruo (1990) is of the opinion that behaviour modification is the use of the principles of operant and classical conditioning, to change a given undesirable behaviour to a desirable one.

Behaviour could be very difficult to define in precise terms because of cultural differences. Every culture has its own accepted standard or norms of behaviour. A behaviour regarded as appropriate in one culture may be abnormal or inappropriate in another culture. It is a systematic way of changing an undesirable behaviour to a desirable one. Behaviour modification is presently seen as a process of helping people to learn how to solve certain inter personal, emotional and decision problems. According to Steer and Porter (1981) there are force that serves in three functions of human behaviour; it energizes or causes people to act; it directs behaviours towards the attainment of specific goal and it sustains the effort expanded in reaching those goals. The control importance of motivation in the classroom is for learner to emulate good behaviour. This will foster effective learning in the classroom.

Essuman, Nwaogu, Nwachukwu (1990), agreed that learning is a practical application of the principles of psychology in behavour modification. Ngwoke (1995) asserted that learning is the establishment of stimulus-response bonds between initially unconnected stimuli or events. In a broad sense, learning is a process, which causes a change in behaviour of an individual. This change in behaviour results in experiences or interaction between the individual and his environment. Teachers have been accepted as behaviour moulders so they are responsible for whatever is happening in the classroom. (Pear and Martin, 2007) opined that teachers should employ the techniques and strategies that are appropriate in managing classroom undesirable behaviours amongst secondary school students. Behaviour as the way some one behaves. Behaviour can be good or bad, desirable or undesirable, undesirable behaviour may be seen as a deviation from acceptable desirable and appropriate behaviour, which interferes with the individual growth, development, and those of others around him. Essuman, Nwaogu and Nwachukwu (1990) defined behaviour as a way we behave  which is either overt or covert. An overt behaviour is that behaviour which can be observed and its frequency recorded example talking aloud, laughing, crying, running, standing etc.

Behaviour is the function of interaction of heredity and environment. From this definition, it is worthy to note that behaviour is modifiable, by proper manipulation of the learning process. When behaviour is modified, learning will be more effective. Therefore, learned behaviours are patterns of behaviour that are learned in an environmental milieu. Behaviour can be either desirable or undesirable. In behaviour modification, it also stated that boys always dominate in science-learning activities in co-educational schools when the instruction strategy adopted is competitive. Obianyo (2000) reported that teachers, Overt and covert instructional behaviour influence learners’ achievement. The effect is that teachers, unconsciously teach science and other courses that are difficult to make boys excel thereby creating the impression that the girls and boys can’t learn in the classroom situation, Nzewi and Onimisi (2008), asserted that boys and girls have equal opportunities for learning. The teacher equipped with the principles of psychology, which he derives from his/knowledge of Educational psychology delves into the task of molding students minds, learning involves the learner, the learning process and the environment. These factors influence each other and equilibrium among them is necessary process is that process through which student acquire positive changes in their behaviour, improve their performance recognize themselves and discover new ways. The environment includes the teachers, the school and the classroom. The school is regarded as a socializing agent for children, each of these aspects of the environment must co-operate with each other in order to facilitate learning. To make learning adoptive to individual needs and interests, it is necessary that teachers posses through knowledge of psychological, social and biological factors basic to growth and achievement. It is important that teachers should have good knowledge of principles of behaviour modification, so as to provide conducive environment for effective learning. Maintenance of order in the classroom is one of the professional challenges of teachers. Many teachers cannot maintain order in the classroom because of their inability to control the class and manage behavioural problems. Classroom behavioural problems in secondary school includes inappropriate study habit, truancy, fighting, cheating, bullying, quarrelling, conversing, chorus answers, lateness, and eating/chewing etc.

Omebe (2005) agreed that techniques of modifying behaviour are derived from principles developed from learning theories which includes both cognitive, and stimulus response associating learning processes. They are classical and operant condition learning by imitation or modeling, cognitive or intellectual learning (insightful learning). These theories allow the individual to actively participate in finding solutions to his/her problems. Teachers should be able to use behaviour modification techniques such as verbal reinforcement, private chat, fading, ignoring, ear shooting, proximity control, and modeling, tokens to correct erring students who exhibit undesirable and maladaptive behaviour in the classroom setting

Essuman (1990). In controlling undesirable behaviour in classrooms, teachers have mastered specific techniques for planning an optimal number of meaningful activities for anticipating potential problems and for creating an enriched inviting environment.

Student in such classroom appear to know what to do when they require assistance, they know what is expected of them and they are seen satisfied with their own progress. The ideal teacher while monitoring the student progress and anticipating behaviour problems are able to provide students with meaningful options matched to students learning needs. This statement points to the need of pre-planning, lesson planning and planning how to avoid common classroom occurrences that motivate misbehaviour, Ezeocha and Enwuezor (1990) agreed that if teachers are aware that when students misbehave thee should be reasons for that and the teacher should try to identify these reasons. Some students are attention seekers and in their efforts to be recognized, disrupt the class by their descriptive behaviours. Some students misbehave because they are frustrated by their academic performance while others are un-co-operative in the classroom Bandura and Walters, (1969).

Through the use of behaviour modification technique it is believed that the individual has to be forced to learn on what to learn and devil has to be driven out from some of the students who bully other as to show that are, they do these because they are not intelligent, they have something to show to the weaker ones, who may be more intelligent and well behaved in the classroom. In secondary schools, most teachers use harsh traditional punishments on students who misbehave. They often kneel them down for hours. Some of the teachers go as far as giving students knock on the heads. The erring students may be suspended from the school and this lead to many becoming dropouts from school. Infact, it is necessary that the teachers should review their approach to behaviour modification strategy as harshness in correcting unwanted behaviours has far reaching psychological implications on the future of the student. Teachers should try to control and mange their classrooms by being kind, humane, and fair but firm to students. The teachers should not loose their temper easily on the student. Teachers should try to control and manage their classrooms by being kind, humane and fair but firm to students. The teachers should not loose their temper easily on the students, fairness should be their watchword. Teachers should involve their students in effective lesson and the thereby generate their confident in the teacher.

As a result of the forgoing, it will be agreed that student’s undesirable behaviour is a problem of both Educational planners, parents, counselors, Educators, school administrators, students themselves and indeed all segments of the entire society at large.  From the foregoing, the researcher is interested in finding out how teachers make use of behaviour modification technique in managing undesirable behaviour in classroom.

Finally, time brings change. Things are not static but dynamic. Due to the school location, gender and type of school. Behaviour modification technique is needed in managing classroom undesirable behaviour. It not the way you handled students in rural area that handle students in urban area because their perceptions are not the same. Things change with changing years, such that the use and applications of the techniques of behaviour modification years ago, as well as the problems confronted by those who used them as reported in literature, may not be the same at present. The way and manner the techniques of behaviour modification were applied many years ago may be different from the present practice. Also, location or environment can make a difference with regards to the use of the approaches of behaviour modification techniques.

The result will enable teachers to know whether the use of behaviour modification techniques had contributed to resolve the problem of undesirable behaviour among secondary school student. The aim of this study is geared towards identifying the best strategy teachers should use in controlling and managing their classroom.




Statement of the Problem

Behaviour modification techniques are very powerful tools for bringing out positive change in human behaviour and facilitate good and conducive learning atmosphere in the school system.

Undesirable behaviours abound among students, for example, we find

students indulging in noisemaking, some students are sighing in class, some loiter, shuffling, students even answer calls in class, some students’  indulge in conversation during teaching and learning, some students come to class late, during examination some of them indulge in exam malpractice. All these undesirable behaviour cause problem in the classroom and if not handled properly will affect teaching and learning since these behaviour have negative effect on the school as a whole. It is necessary to identify solutions to these problems. Several theories have been advanced to explain why individuals, including student misbehave, yet the problem is still on.

Many works have been done in research, several methods have been devised on how to put a stop to these undesirable behaviours yet students manifest undesirable behaviours with increasing frequency. This research work attempts to adopt negative reinforcement as behaviour modification technique. Since it is undisputed fact that undesirable behaviour has psychological and educational effect on student, it needs to be tackled.

The problem of this study posed  in a question form is; To what extent does teachers make use of adequate behaviour modification technique in managing undesirable behaviour among secondary school students in Afikpo education zone of

Ebonyi State?

The Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to:

  1. Identify the classroom undesirable behaviours exhibited by students.
  2. Identify behaviour modification techniques teachers’ use in managing classroom undesirable behaviour.
  3. Ascertain the effect of gender difference in students’ undesirable behaviour in classroom and.
  4. Determine factors that contribute to students’ undesirable behaviours.

Significance of the Study

This study seeks to find out the best behaviour modification techniques used by teachers in managing classroom undesirable behaviour among students. This study will serve as a resource material to teachers, students, counselors, educationists, and the school administrators. By keeping abreast of the events, and developments in the field of behaviour modification technique, one will be able to ascertain which approaches are gaining currency and widely use, and those that are loosing recognition and patronage.

This will instigate enquires into the factor responsible for the popularity or otherwise of the behaviour modification technique.  It will also help the teachers to know correct technique/strategy to use to modify undesirable behaviour in their classroom. The information obtained from this study will be of beneficial to both students and the teachers in their battle for improved the management of the classroom.  Use of behaviour modification techniques for managing classroom undesirable behaviours by teachers in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State will help to improve teaching and learning. The result of this research is of great benefit to teachers, counselors, Educationists, school administrators, parents and indeed to all those who will prepare students for adjustment in the homes, churches in controlling the undesirable behaviour that exist amongst the students in secondary schools.

The study will help the teachers to understand their own level of tolerance in managing classroom behaviours. The study will help the counselor to control the process of counseling and accepts responsibility for the outcome of their negative behaviours. It will enable them to identify the problems of student, causes and decides what kind of technique to use in eliminating the students problem. The counselor may decide to involve himself in the individuals environment outside the counseling office or involve in help of significant others in the students environment just to have desired result on the student negative behaviour. It will help the counselor to provide the student with the skills to mange his/her own life within and outside the classroom.

Educationists will benefit from the research because it will help to emphasize on cultural integration in our schools to help our students to know the norm of our society, e.g. respect for elders, truthfulness and obedient right from home to the classroom. Today Education is universally accepted as a form of investment in human being, the educational planners will derive information on the cause of misbehaviour in the students from this research work and would therefore map out adequate comprehensive programme that would engage students and it will properly assess this on both academic and character dimensions.

School administrators are those heads of the school which help them to make required assignment and evaluation on the need for behaviour intervention or modification plans for students whose undesirable behaviour impedes their learning or learning of their classmates.

Scope of the Study

The geographical scope of the study involved all the government secondary schools located in the three Local Government Area, namely Afikpo South, Ivo and OnichaLocal Government Education Areas. All located in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State.

The content scope focused on four aspects that include: the classroom undesirable behaviours exhibited by students, the behaviour modification technique use in managing classroom undesirable behaviour, Extent gender difference contributed to students undesirable behaviour in classroom and the factors that contributed to students undesirable behaviour in the classroom.

Research Questions

  1. What are the classroom undesirable behaviours exhibited by students?
  2. What are the behaviour modification techniques teachers use in managing classroom undesirable behaviour?
  3. To what extent does gender difference contribute to student’s undesirable behaviour in classroom?
  4. What are the factors that contribute to students’ undesirable behaviour in the classroom?



The following null hypotheses have been formulated to guide this study.

The hypothesis will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the mean rating of male and female respondents in identifying classroom undesirable behaviour exhibited by student.
  2. There is no significant difference between the mean rating of male and female respondents on the behaviour modification techniques teachers use in managing classroom undesirable behaviour.


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