Date of Award

1-1-2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Rod Chadbourne

Abstract

The aims of this study were to determine the personal effects of student assault upon a teacher and what assaulted teachers feel that they need in the way of support. In particular, I wanted the study to focus on the personal aspects of the cases as I was convinced that assaulted teachers experience similar anxieties, fears and barriers to support and similar difficulties in having those feelings recognised. Many clinical studies of assault victim support have been conducted, however, seemingly none of them are specifically related to assault by a student upon a teacher. This specific type of assault involves distinctive factors which effect the victim, such as the assailant being a minor and the victim an adult and the student being an inescapable part of the teacher's vocation. Given these aims, narrative form was considered the most appropriate methodology for the study. Narrative form uses emotive, context-specific language to build meaning, a plot based upon some form of conflict and the use of multiple voices. Thus the participants of the study became characters within the framework of an academic study. The idea that from the telling or reading of a story a type of truth can be developed is gradually becoming more accepted within the social sciences. This 'truth' is created by the reader actively constructing knowledge from constant reflection on the experiences of the characters and then modifying these experiences within the story by using cultural knowledge as a basis for comparison (Gray, 1996, p3). In this study three individual stories were collected during extensive interviews and were blended by the narrator (researcher) into a story of teacher assault that highlights the effects of workplace violence on the victims and their support needs. The story format allowed the portrayal of the assaulted teacher's perception and a brief insight into the frustrations experienced by members of the assaulted teacher's family. The study also developed a program of the types of support that should be provided for teachers when they have been assaulted by a student. The study revealed that the assaulted teachers experienced many similar anxieties, fears and barriers to support. The need for a specific support program for assaulted teachers was verified, as was the fact that support is currently nut being provided. Using information from the interviewed participants, a program of necessary support was formulated. A plan for schools to follow in order to establish effective support programs was also established.

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