Causes Of Lack Of Attention During Lesson Among Primary School Pupils In Delta State

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Background of the Study

Children and adult respectively are found to be reactive in character and behaviour at times. Mostly, children of nowadays as a result of their quick exposure to social networks, media networks, electronics and printed media tends to quickly emulate and adapt to certain way of life such as fighting, bullying, telling lies, restiveness, loitering among others which conjunctively amount to disruptive behaviour. However, this may be informed by the rate at which they are exposed to some violent movies, plays, among others. In many public primary schools in the contemporary society and Asaba Central Education Authority in particular, there have been report of alarming rate of lack of attention among the pupils. In this effect, teachers and significant others have been reporting the alarming rate of this lack of attention exhibited by primary school pupils to be on the increase and as well its obstructions to teaching and learning process. This trend continues to deteriorate and metamorphose to other forms of antisocial acts/demeanours and deviations from societal norms and values such as thuggry, stealing, kidnapping, assassination, among others for lack of proper attention/orientation and management to ameliorate the aforementioned issues in order to catch them (pupils) young in the classrooms.

However, every Society across the globe had always had interest in the ways in which their young ones are prepared and how they learn to take active part in civic life (Anih and Ogoke, 2014). Buttressing further, the authours noted that education has been often conceived to mean the activities of the teacher and learners in a school environment which is narrow and misconception of education since what takes place in the school is a fraction of education. Education indeed is a process thatstarts from the family in which the child is born till the time he


attains the official age of formal education.  Ogbonnaya (2009) opined that education is the process by which every society attempts to preserve and upgrade their accumulated knowledge, values, and skills. Stressing further, authour stated that apart from the home, the primary school is another educational institutions where children learn and socialize. Traditionally, education is a medium through which the society inculcates its values and culture to the young (Asebe, 2012).

In the context of this work, education is the process whereby adults members of a society carefully guide and manage the process of the development of infants and young children (pupils), initiating them into the culture of the society until they attain the age of formal primary education. Primary education according to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (2004) is the education given in institutions for children aged 6 to 11. The National Policy on Education document further maintained that since the rest of the education system is built upon the primary level, it is the key to the success or failure of the entire system. With this prospect, and the need for solid foundation, primary education becomes a focus of national importance. Thus, primary education has always been regarded as a vital stratum in the nation’s education system (Adepoju and Fabiyi, 2006). This being the case, the goals of primary education according to FRN (2004: 14) are to: inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively, lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking, give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society among others.

From the foregoing, it is pertinent to emphasize that quality primary education that realizes the above objectives has the capacity to improve young children’s learning potentials and prepare them for further school success. In Enugu state however, primary education is seen as a vital instrument for social and economic mobility and an instrument for transforming the society, the state has made effort in implementing policies that can realize the above objectives through the Universal Primary Education (UBE) programme. The objectives of this programme and many others may however been hindered by several occurrences in the classroom where learning is expected to take place. Such incidence as prevalent lack of attention in the classroom may inhibit optimum learning experience.

Primary school pupils exhibit some kind of behaviours. Behaviour refers to the way in which one acts or conducts one’s self, especially towards others (Mclnerney, 2008). Behaviour can also be defined as the way in which an animal or a person acts in response to a particular situation or stimuli.   It is also a way in which one acts or conducts one’s self, especially towards others. Behaviour is a broad term for any type of action; such actions as blinking an eye, smiling, whistling, crying, walking, talking, eating, praying are all behaviours” (Umeano 2012). This implies that behaviour is the activity of an individual or group of individuals as a result of interaction with the environment which may be normal or disruptive.  Lack of attentioninclude a situation whereby the students failed to respond to teacher’s requests, indulge in noise making, moving out of their seats and staring in a direction other than the teacher or their work. (Wille, 2002). Justifying the above assertion, Ghazi, Gulap, Tariq and Khan (2013) maintained that disruptive behaviour is simply the behaviour which does not allow the teachers and pupils for effective teaching and learning process. Buttressing further, the authours stated: with reference to the fact that learners have their fundamental right to have a safe and respectful environment for learning, hence disruptive behaviour should be seen as a disciplinary problem and must be dealt technically.


In the context of the present study, disruptive behaviour in the classroom is that behaviour which interrupts, obstructs, or inhibits the teaching and learning processes. Disruptive behaviour in classrooms would, therefore, denote an activity by an individual or group of individuals, which hinders or inhibits the rich and stimulating environment needed for meaningful learning activities from taking place. Disruptive behaviour can be exhibited physically or emotionally. Buttressing on this assertion, Puram and Chennai (2012) stated that children or adolescents with conduct disorder may exhibit some of the following physical lack of attention such as aggression to people and animals, bullies, threatens or intimidates others, often initiates physical fights; use a weapon that could cause serious physical harm to others.. Buttressing on emotional disruptive behaviour, Puram and Chennai posited that it is inability of pupils to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behaviour or feelings under normal circumstances, a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression and a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The above mentionedlack of attentionmay also constitute prevalent lack of attentionin the classroom.


In virtually all classrooms, lack of attentionoften hamper pupils’ achievement (Gesinde, 2000). Buttressing further, the authour stated that prevalent disruptive behaviour may take many forms such as persistent questioning, incoherent comments, verbal attacks, unrecognized speaking out, incessant arguing, intimidating shouting, and inappropriate gestures. Contributing to the above points, Rachel and Daniel (2012) opined that the prevalent disruptive behaviour in the classroom is talking out of turn, followed by non-attentiveness, daydreaming, and idleness. Stressing further, the authours asserted that the most unacceptable disruptive behaviour is disrespecting teachers in terms of disobedience and rudeness, followed by talking out of turn and verbal aggression. In the context of this work, prevalent disruptive behaviour can be defined as those anti-social behaviours exhibited by primary school pupils that obstructs and inhibits the process of teaching and learning. Such anti-social behaviours include talking out of turn, noise making, pushing of fellow pupils among others.


From the above highlighted views, one may ask what the causes of disruptive behaviour especially among pupils are. In other words, disruptive behaviour in primary schools can be perpetrated by many factors, pupil or by the collaboration of many pupils. Contributing to the above point, Gesinde (2000) observed that classroom management could pose a problem to the teacher. Especially when the teacher lacks the competence to create the setting, decorate the room, arrange the chairs, speak to pupils and listen to their responses, putting routines in place and then executing, modifying and reinstating them, developing rules and communicating those rules to pupils. Aimee (2003) posited that children who view televised media violence are more likely to have increased feelings of hostility, decreased emotional response to the portrayal of violence and injury that lead to disruptive behaviour through imitation. According to Ghazi et al (2013) disruptive behaviour can be caused by factors such as inconsistent parenting, uncaring parents, over-protective parents and bad influences on a student’s local community.  Stressing further, the authours posited that poverty, poor quality teaching, repeating the same class, teachers’ negative attitude towards pupils, lack of motivation from teacher and poor classroom condition such as lighting and ventilation among others are the major causes of disruptive behaviour in the classroom.


From the foregoing, it could be deduced that some disruptive behaviour reflects bad manners and a lack of consideration of others. Disruptive behaviour may on the other hand, result from overzealous classroom participation, lack of social skills, or inappropriately expressed anger among others which may be disadvantageous to the process of teaching and learning and may invariably influence academic objectives negatively. Disruptive behaviour may cause harm within the classroom on several different levels.  Highlighting on the above point, Finn, Fish and Scott (2008) stated that disruptive behaviour affects individual learning, interferes with academic achievement, and reduces the chance of higher education. Disruptive behaviour also becomes a burden on the classroom when both instruction and the normal functioning of the classroom are interrupted. Hence, as disruptive behaviour increases within schools, an unbalanced atmosphere is created, causing teachers and administrators to spend more time moderating, managing and controlling the pupils instead of performing duties consistent with the creation of a positive learning environment.


From the above highlighted points, children with disruptive behaviour may face challenges. Contributing, Kauffman (2005) stated that due to pupil’s disruptive behaviour, peer rejection may be common for the child.  Buttressing further, the authour, noted that it is unclear whether academic difficulties precede behavioural problems or if behavioural issues create academic difficulties but that researchers currently believe that there is a reciprocal influence of both. It is however, the function of the teacher to effectively manage the classroom in order to guide learning experience. This is because managing the classroom environment is one of the primary responsibilities of every teacher. Management is independent of ownership, rank, or power. It is objective function and ought to be grounded in the responsibility for performance. Management is a function, a discipline, a task to be done. Terry (2002) defined management as a process “consisting of planning, organizing, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources.” In consonance with the above assertion, Ogbuonu (2014) stated that management is referred to as a procedure in which people’s efforts are directed towards achieving their established objectives in groups such as classrooms. This implies that management is the process of planning, organizing and directing a certain group of individuals for the attainment of a certain goal in a certain organization such as classroom. For the purpose of this study, classroom is a place where the teachers meet the pupils and guide the pupils to interact with subject matters and material in order to facilitate learning. According to Evertson and Weinstein (2006) classroom management is any action a teacher takes to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning. In the same vein, Oliver (2009) defined teacher-mediated classroom management practices as classroom procedures implemented by teachers in classroom settings with all students or pupils in order to teach positive social behaviour and reduce negative behaviour. From the above illustrations, the term classroom management covers the whole spectrum of management issues that a teacher has to contend with in the classroom in order to create an environment devoid of obstruction and inhibition for effective teaching and learning.


In the context of this work, classroom management is the effort made by the teacher to ensure that pupils in the classroom are controlled and guided for the purpose of creating enabling environment that facilitates and fosters academic achievements. According to Oyinloye (2010) the way a teacher manages all the different aspect of classroom will have a powerful influence on how effectively the children learn and also on how well they behave. This is true because a teacher who portrays reputable personality, masters his/her subject matter among other classroom management skills may likely influence the behaviour of the pupils positively to act in such direction. Most teachers have a pattern of setting up classroom in the way that best facilitates learning so that they instinctively manage the classroom environment and classroom routines without too much stress.


There exists a variety of management strategies/interventions to help manage the behavioural problems such as disruptive behaviour among pupils. This includes behaviour modification therapy such as skills /assertive training, cognitive-behavioural techniques among others. Assertive training is a form of behaviour therapy designed to help people (pupils) stand up for themselves, to empower themselves, in more contemporary terms in such that disruptive behaviour and other anti-social behaviours will be averted (Albert and Emmons, 2001). According to Onwuasoanya (2006) assertive training is a preferred approach for individuals who have difficulty in the appropriate expression of various emotions, and who lack the confidence to stand up for themselves without experiencing intense anxiety or exhibiting disruptive behaviour. According to Lipsey and Cullen (2007) cognitive-behavioral therapy is a technique that is used on its own, it uses exercises and instruction that are designed to alter the dysfunctional thinking patterns exhibited by many offenders (pupils). Stressing further, the authours stated that this technique helps pupils become aware of the existence of dysfunctional thinking patterns such as disruptive behaviours, or negative thoughts, attitudes expectations and beliefs, and to understand how negative thinking patterns contribute to unhealthy feelings and behaviours (Wolfe, 2007).              A recent addition to the repertoire of behavioural interventions involves a multicomponent intervention model. This model includes the use of many behaviour modification tools such as precision requests, mystery motivators, token rein forcers, response cost techniques and antecedent strategies (Wille, 2002). Marshal (2001) opined that discipline without stress, punishments or rewards is designed to educate young people about the value of internal motivation. The intention according to the authour is to develop within youth (pupil) a desire to become responsible and self-disciplined and to put forth effort to learn. However, to create and preserve a classroom atmosphere that optimizes teaching and learning, all participants (teachers and pupils) share a responsibility in creating a civil and non-disruptive forum within the classroom. Thus, pupils are expected to conduct themselves at all times in the classroom in a manner that does not disrupt teaching and learning. In the absence of a well managed classroom with cooperation from the pupils, the action perform by a teacher on each of these variables mentioned above will determine the academic achievement and behaviour of the pupils (Nayak and Rao, 2008). The authours further stated that behaviour management is necessary in order to maintain discipline in the classroom while suggesting that every loving teacher must exhibit firmness, tenderness and gentleness which could inform effective strategies in order to cope with and curb pupils’ misbehaviour.


Application of effective management strategies in classroom organization and behaviour management are necessary to address these challenging behaviours of pupils and support successful efforts in the teaching and learning processes. Strengthening the above idea, Emmer and Stough (2001) asserted that teachers often find it more challenging to meet the instructional demands of the classroom without the expertise and competency to address disruptive pupils’ behaviour. Such poor classroom management typically leads to less instruction and worse student outcomes (Cameron, Connor, Morrison, and Jewkes, 2008). Research has been developing an understanding of disruptive behaviour in order to improve effective strategies which can be employed within the classroom to assist the teacher in dealing with such behaviour (Porter, 2000). Justifying the above point, Porter posited that the subject of disruptive pupils in schools has become an issue which is now more widely acknowledged and since lack of attention may impede the pupils learning and instruction, it is imperative that effective classroom interventions be empirically verified and implemented to decrease such disruptive behaviours.


From the foregoing in line with Haim Ginott (1922) classroom management theory which highlighted communication and the importance of positive relationships among pupils and between pupils and the teacher in the classroom with basic interest on the respect for children’s’ basic rights listening to pupils, brevity, acceptance, asking questions to identify their needs and empathy. The question now is, have teachers and educational stakeholders taken cognizance of this theory as major preponderance regarding classroom management for effective teaching and learning.

Statement of the Problem

Educational programmes of every nation are tailored towards the attainment of certain objectives. The attainment of these objectives could, however be hindered by factors within the classroom such as pupils’ disruptive behaviours. A classroom may be affected by a variety of distracting, impulsive and inattentive pupils’ behaviour. The learners who are expected to benefit directly from the educational programmes may also manifest certain behaviour patterns, which threaten the orderly pursuit of academic excellence. In primary schools, such lack of attentionmay impede the student learning and instruction. Moreover, the lack of attentionof pupils may require teachers to spend more time on classroom management, control and discipline while less time may be allotted to academics. One may ask what are the causes of disruptive behaviour among primary school pupils due to rate at which it is prevailing today. Or could it be as a result poor parenting and lack of management strategy by the teachers and curriculum planners among others.


The consequence of this may be predictable on educational prospects of the learners, parents and the society at large given that the primary school has been identified by the NPE as the foundation for further learning. However, the way a teacher manages the classroom will dictate the stress he may pass through, his pupils’ achievement, behaviour and the tone of the school. It is therefore imperative that effective classroom management be adopted and utilized in order to control and effectively manage the issue of prevalent lack of attention among primary school pupils and promote a conducive classroom environment prerequisite for a meaningful teaching and learning process. Though a global phenomenon, not much has however been done in managing pupils’ lack of attention in Enugu state primary school and Asaba Central Education Authority in particular. Some of the measures employed by teachers could be ineffective or may literally be subduing the behaviour for some time and this informed the quest of the researcher to embark on this study. The problem of this study therefore is that there is the need for empirical basis for managing disruptive classroom behaviours among primary school pupils for optimum classroom interaction and rich learning experience in primary schools in

Asaba Central Education Authority.


Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the classroom management of lack of attention among primary school pupils in Asaba Central Educationa Authority. Specifically, this study will seek to determine the:

  1. Prevalent lack of attention exhibited by primary school pupils.
  2. Causes of lack of attention exhibited among primary school pupils.
  3. Classroom management strategies adopted by teachers to manage lack of attention in primary school.
  4. Effective strategies available for use in management of lack of attention among primary school pupils.


Significance of the Study

This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, this study will contribute to the existing knowledge on measures that best optimize teaching and learning and the objectives of children to education with regard to managing lack of attention among primary school pupils. Moreover, the findings of the study will validate or invalidate Haim Ginott classroom management theory and Bandura’s Behavioural theory.  In other words, the findings of the study will either approve or disapprove the relevance of the theories on which the study is anchored as it pertains to management of disruptive behaviour among primary school pupils.


Specifically, the relevance of the theory to this study is that people learn disruptive behaviour in the same way they learn football, emulates successful students and positive ideals. Children learn from models that they regard as significant such as colleagues and peers. Peers establish basic patterns at the school or playing ground which in spite of possible changes is never completely extinguished as the child grows.  From this theory, it stands to reason that the behaviour of a child is a reflection of the type of peer influences under which the child grew up. Hence, deficiency in proper socialization both by parents and teachers may likely encourage disruptive behaviours. This thereafter prevents positive socialization processes.Practically, the study will be beneficial to the Government, Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ESUBEB), curriculum planners, pupils, teachers/teacher trainees, parents, Teachers training institutions and future researchers.


It is expected that the findings of this study will highlight empirical measures in the areas of strategic classroom management for the curbing and managing disruptive behaviour when made available to the government through her agencies (Ministries of Education, UBEC, supervisors and school administrators) will go a long way on informing evidence based policies on the incidence of lack of attentionin the classroom. This is because the result of the study will also inform the government on the need to embark on in-service training for teachers on effective management practices to curb the effect and interference of disruptive behaviour in classroom activities vis-avis on the academic performance of pupils.


The results from this study when made available through published articles, news papers, journals among others will be of immense benefit to the Enugu State Universal Basic Education board ESUBEB in its policy formulation and implementation, taking cognizance of all measures necessary to ensure effective classroom management in the state across all the primary schools for effective classroom teaching and learning. This  is because any study that find out the prevalent lack of attentionamong primary school pupils, its causes, management strategies and effective teachers’ strategies will create an avenue for stakeholders to come in with policy formulation and effective implementation procedures for amelioration.


The findings of the study will also be of great importance to curriculum planners. This is because the study will serve as an eye opener to them such that they will be able to articulate all the necessary measures and strategies for effective classroom management in the education plansto ensure conducive teaching and learning environment. In order to fast-track the realization of  effective and strategic classroom management, it is expected that the results of the study will enable the curriculum designers while designing and planning the curriculum to take appropriate steps towards ensuring that pre-service teachers are equiped and aided with the procedures requisite for managing classroom that are prone to pupils disruptive behaviours.


The findings of the study will also be of immense benefit to the pupils because when the teachers and the rest of others stakeholders take cognizance of the findings of this study, the implementation will be very beneficial to the pupils as it will guide teachers in establishing some rules and regulations for the class activities and ensure that measures that will enable the pupils participate actively in maintaining them are fully ascertained for a conducive classroom teaching and learning environment.


Also to benefit from the findings of this study are teachers. The exposition of teachers’ classroom management skills and strategies will enable the teachers to gain the requisite skills necessary to execute their duties effectively in the areas of listening to the pupils, controlling and responding to their questions as and when due among others. The study will as well help teachers gain competence as regards to effective classroom management such as arrangement of seats, and positioning of the pupils in the class for effective participation in the process of teaching and learning. Disruptive behaviour in the classroom is a concern for teachers because conducive classroom for teaching is paramount for learning. The findings of this study when communicated to teachers through workshops and conferences would be of utmost important to classroom teachers in order to carry every child along. The findings of the study will equally be of utmost important to the teacher trainees in that they would be better prepared for the classroom challenges of meeting the learning needs of learners with diverse abilities and requisite skills.


Parents of the pupils also stand to benefit from the findings of the study when made available to them through Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings, seminars, workshops among others. This is because parents will be exposed to the various causes of lack of attentionexhibited by pupils and as well be guided on how to take active roles regarding their parental responsibilities in the rearing of their kids in order to avert their anti-social behaviour.

The result of this study when disseminated can also help teacher training institutions to reform their programs in order to meet the challenges of disruptive pupils’ behaviour in the classroom.

Finally, the findings from this study will contribute to the literature that is most effective in managing pupil’s disruptive behaviour in the classroom. This study would thus serve as a source of information and bank of knowledge for other researchers who may wish to embark on research from a related perspective in this field. It is obvious that this work will provide them direction and guideline for their study.


Scope of the Study

The geographical scope of this study will cover Asaba Central Educational Authority of Enugu state, Nigeria. The content scope is limited on the disruptive behaviour exhibited among primary school pupils. It was restricted to the primary level of basic education. Urban and rural schools will be involved in the study to determine the prevalent lack of attentionexhibited by primary school pupils, the causes of lack of attentionexhibited among primary school pupils, classroom management strategies adopted by teachers to manage lack of attentionin primary schools and effective strategies available for use in managing disruptive behaviour in primary school.


Research Question

In line with the purpose, this study is premised on the following research questions:

  1. What are the prevalent lack of attentionexhibited by primary school pupils?
  2. What are the causes of lack of attentionexhibited among primary school pupils?
  3. What are the classroom management strategies adopted by teachers to manage lack of attentionin primary school?
  4. What effective strategies are available in managing disruptive behaviour in primary school?




HO1.There is no significance different in the mean ratings in urban and rural primary schools on           causes of disruptive behaviour.

HO2. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings in urban and rural primary schools             on the classroom management strategies adopted by teachers in managing disruptive





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