Teachers' Management Styles in a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Framework: A narrative inquiry
The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore teachers’ perspectives on management styles in a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework, in order to identify teacher behaviors that facilitated reduced school-wide office discipline referrals (ODR’s). Using narrative inquiry, the study explored specific tenets of PBIS, from participant’s perspectives, that impacted the reduction of office discipline referrals for all students, particularly African American males. All participants, including researcher, were employed at the same suburban Texas elementary school, during the three-year PBIS implementation. European American participants were two teachers and the principal, of varying ages, experiences, and parental statuses. Field notes and transcriptions were developed from one-on-one audio-recorded interviews. Storied experiences of management practices, perceptions and observations were sketched. Using narrative analysis, emerging themes, tensions, and researcher reflections were summarized. Findings support existing PBIS research that identifies consistent school-wide use of positively stated common expectations as most influential tenet toward reduced ODR’s., for all students and specifically for African American males. However, findings also suggest the need for ongoing school-wide acknowledgments and announcements, which served as reminders not catalysts for changed adult behaviors. Moreover, findings suggest unvoiced discipline expectations among administrators and teachers, create misalignments in discipline practices. Initial recommendations include state, district, and campus transparency in discipline data to increase collaborative participation by students, families, and communities. Also recommendations include district and campus development of; specific classroom discipline expectations, adult inventory of discipline beliefs and discipline styles, and individualized teacher discipline plans. Consideration for PBIS staffing, in order to discharge consistent school-wide communications and acknowledgements, is vital in school-wide initiatives. Future research could include qualitative research into adult learning and outcomes in school-wide programs such as PBIS. Comparative studies of adult outcomes in schools, between successful versus unsuccessful school-wide implementation, could also add to the body of PBIS knowledge. Furthermore, both qualitative and quantitative studies are needed on the alignment of administrator’s, teachers’, and parent’s discipline beliefs and expectations. I encourage all districts and schools, in the midst of school-wide initiatives, to continue dialectical practices and action research.