Teacher Talk: The Role of Teacher Language in Increasing Engagement and Managing the Behaviour of Students with Behavioural Problems

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The findings reported in this study arose from a broader study of the management and instructional strategies used by mainstream teachers of primary-aged students with behavioural problems. The ten students (in ten different classrooms) involved in the study had been diagnosed with conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder and had a range of additional difficulties such as language problems and learning difficulties. All were experiencing significant disruption in their learning, as were their peers. This paper reports specifically on the language used by those teachers who were more successful in both maximising student engagement (as measured by time on task) and reducing behaviour problems. The use of positive rather than negative “teacher talk”, the use of direct and explicit language, giving "take-up time", using initiating rather than terminating commands, using signaling words and issuing instructions in serial order are some of the points highlighted. The study revealed that many students with a potentially damaging diagnosis respond very positively to appropriate “teacher talk”.

Keywords: Teacher Language, Behaviour Management, Increasing Learning, Academic Engaged Time
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Teacher Talk

Dr. Deslea Konza

Director - Fogarty Learning Centre, Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education, Edith Cowan University

Joondalup, WA, Australia

Deslea Konza has had experience teaching students of all ages with a range of special needs, including those associated with blindness, profound hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and multiple disabilities. She is currently Director of the Fogarty Learning Centre at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. She has published in the areas of special education policy, teacher education, hearing impairment, gifted education and dual exceptionality. Current research interests include reading disability, students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, students with dual exceptionalities, (including gifted students with social and emotional problems) and effective teaching.

Ref: I08P0573