1.1 Background of the study
The issue of undesirable behaviours among children today is a cause of concern among parents, teachers, governments and even children themselves. This is because in recent times there has been a general outcry about undesirable behaviors among children in the society at large and particularly in schools. Cruickshank, Jenkins and Metcalf (2003) comment that, a common persistent problem among teachers, and perhaps the greatest fear of new teachers, is student misbehavior. This problem has also been found to be responsible for many teachers leaving the teaching profession. There is the belief among experts that there is a link between behaviour and learning and as such behaviour should not be considered in isolation from teaching and learning (Grigg, 2010). Undesirable behaviors are believed to have the tendency to impede learning rather than promote learning. Other terms used to refer to undesirable behaviors include, abnormal behavior, misbehavior, inappropriate behavior, disruptive behavior, among others. Efforts have therefore been made to develop strategies that can be used to control undesirable behaviors. To this end there is what experts call behavior modification theories. These are used as guides to control/modify children’s behavior. Every individual all over the world has one form of behavior or the other. Behavioral attitude is one thing every one exhibits and it is our nature to do so.
Most of our behavior, 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 behavior. It is important to differentiate between disruptive classroom behavior 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 behavior that is merely rude or uncivil. While the latter may become disruptive when it is repetitive or persistent, it usually is best addressed by example and influence. Behavior modification, behavior therapy and behavior counseling are often used interchangeably in literature. However, the major concern is on Behaviour modification. Onwuasoanya (2006), viewed behavior modification as a behavioral 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 behavior 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. It is worthy of note that the causes of many undesirable behaviours in schools are beyond the scope of the school. Factors such as poverty, lack of social support and parenting patterns contribute a lot to pupils’ behaviours. It might therefore be difficult for teachers to influence such factors but they can seek for ways of controlling them, especially in the classroom. Undesirable behaviours can impact on the efficiency and productivity of the class in a situation where the classroom teacher is unable to maintain effective classroom control. Some common undesirable behaviours among pupils in the classroom include noise making, failing to do assignments, not paying attention, chewing or eating during lessons, missing classes, bullying and lying among others (Machumu, 2011). The notion of whether behaviour is good or bad is not static because it varies from place to place and from time to time. This is why Grigg (2010) comments that one of the difficulties in assessing the extent of disruptive behaviour in schools is that it is context-specific. Johnston, Halocha and Chapter (2007) also opine that good behaviour in children is not a fixed or definite thing, any more than the good life is an agreed notion among adults. What we require of children will differ from one society or age to the other; therefore our present expectations must be seen as temporary rather than certain solutions. This is why there have been concerns about standards of pupils’ behavior. This notwithstanding, there are certain behaviors that are actually undesirable especially in the classroom irrespective of the place, the time and even the culture. Therefore concerns about undesirable behaviors in schools are being expressed all over the world today