National Benefit

This research project will significantly increase our understanding of the nature and causes of productive and unproductive student behaviour in schools. As such, it will contribute to the development of more sophisticated explanations of one of the key educational concerns in this country- student disengagement and misbehaviour at school. It will combine an examination of productive behaviours and unproductive behaviours, with an analysis of the ecological conditions under which each occurs. The focus on both productive and unproductive behaviours will contribute to a growing trend away from punitive approaches to student behaviour management to more educative models that require a better and more sophisticated understanding of the ecological conditions that influence student behaviour. This type of analysis has only occurred to a limited extent in Australia and provides us with an opportunity to challenge other research approaches that focus only on unproductive behaviour and its consequences (see for example Spaulding, et al., 2010). Identifying the positive ecological factors that encourage student engagement in learning is a key positive benefit of this research.

As the study addresses all education locations and types across the state, through the collaboration and partnership of the three education sectors (Government, Catholic and Independent) and samples across all educational demographics, the study has clear implications for all Australian education systems nationally.

The focus on three clear stages of research will provide a level of coherence and linkage not achieved before in Australia or internationally.

The outcomes of the research will have particular credibility at the national level because they will be the result of dialogue and collaboration across two universities and seven industry partners who are the key stakeholders in schooling in South Australia. The involvement of so many stakeholders in the research will facilitate the implementation of recommendations at the local, state and national levels. It is anticipated that the research will result in new knowledge and improved practice and policy in the areas that have already been identified as significant in promoting student engagement and productive student behaviour at school.

Finally, the research will make a unique contribution to our understanding of the ways local schools reconcile the complex demands of different stakeholders to develop and implement positive student behaviour policies. This is a significant benefit given the need to ensure more of our students remain engaged at school so that they, and the nation, can realise the social and economic advantages associated with high academic achievement.


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