Ho, I.T., The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
Teachers' approaches to student discipline were studied in terms of a cognitive-motivational model integrating causal attribution theory and personal efficacy theory. The model was tested in two cultural contexts: Hong Kong and Australia. Two hundred and seventy-three Hong Kong teachers and 208 Australian teachers responded to a questionnaire depicting six common discipline problems. They were asked to rate with regard to each problem the importance of four causes (student ability, student effort, family background, teacher/teaching factors), level of self-efficacy in their management of the behavior, and the extent to which they were likely to use different strategies to manage the behavior. Measures of teachers' general sense of personal efficacy and attribution tendencies regarding teaching were also obtained. Path analyses showed that regardless of cultural context, a higher sense of personal efficacy and attribution to teacher factors for discipline problems were associated with rule-based or student-centered approaches in the management of such problems, while external or uncontrollable attributions and a lower sense of efficacy were associated more with punitive approaches. The results also showed that teachers' more general sense of personal teaching efficacy was more predictive of discipline approach than situation-specific self-efficacy. The findings of the study have important implications for teacher education in the area of classroom management and student discipline.