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Teachers' and administrators' perspectives on banning students from using mobile phone in their classrooms at secondary schools in Hai Phong city in Vietnam.
It is hoped that by examining the reasons why school staff ban students from UMPIC, viable alternatives and suggestions to improve practice will be able to be created.
By examining and exploring the perspectives of teachers and school administrators on banning students from UMPIC, this study aims to provide answers to some of the questions that ask why mobile phone continues to be used or banned in schools when there appears to be little evidence of its efficacy.
Statement of purpose.
The proposed study aims to collate the beliefs of teachers and administrators in regards to
banning students from UMPIC and to discover themes that could enable schools to make better use of this disciplinary practice and improve the outcomes of the students concerned.
The central question that will be addressed by this study is as follows:
"What do teachers and administrative staff believe is the rationale for banning students from using mobile phone in their classrooms at secondary schools in Hai Phong city in Vietnam?"
There are five guiding questions that will shape the study. These are:
1. What are the perspectives of teachers and administrative staff on the use of this ban as a behaviour modification tool? Why?
2. What are the behaviours that are identified in the research schools that lead to ban? Why? (The existing questions is an interview question)
3. What do teachers and administrative staff believe are the students' perceptions of
4. What do teachers and administrative staff believe is the parents'/community's
perception of this ban? Why?
5. What impact do teachers and administrative staff believe this ban has on student
As the aim of the proposed research is to understand how teachers and administrators
make meaning pertaining to ban, the type of inquiry needed lens itself to a qualitative
approach that is aligned with interpretive theory. The interpretivist looks to understand the meanings that constitute the actions (Schwandt, 1994) and this is the core of the proposed research. When using this approach the emphasis is on the importance of the processes which lie between social structure and behaviour. The central character in these processes is the person who is active in the construction of social reality (Reid, 1986).
It is anticipated that by utilising this theoretical perspective more relevant themes will emerge that both address the central research question and give light to alternative or improved practices in Hai Phong secondary schools.
By investigating the perspectives of teachers and administrators in regards to how the ban is implemented in their schools and why they believe it is part of the discipline available, this research will emphasise the professional knowledge of educators in the context they are most familiar with. Thus far, no other research located has taken this trend in Hai Phong.
To maximise richness and accuracy of data, as well as transferability of the findings, case studies will be carried out at two different school sites. Case studies are an excellent method to use when endeavouring to understand the phenomenon being studied in depth.
They allow the researcher to become familiar with the data in its natural setting and fully appreciate the context (Punch, 2005). In regard to this study, to understand why ban is used, it is necessary to understand the viewpoint of the school as a whole and how it fits within the context of discipline in that school.
Each school site will be approached as a separate case study with the following characteristics, consistent with Punch (2005):
1. The boundaries of the case will be defined as the schools themselves and the teaching and administrative staff who work there. Even though the wider community (such as parents) have some influence on how schools operate and students are obviously central to the school environment, only teachers' and administrators' beliefs will be examined throughout this study. This boundary has been created for two reasons. Firstly, there is a dearth of research in the area of teachers' and administrators' perspectives on ban and secondly, to assist in creating finite boundaries to make the research manageable.
2. Each case is about the beliefs held by teachers and administrators within that particular school. All phenomena that either influence or reflect these beliefs that are controlled will be examined, such as each school's behaviour management policy, classroom management policies, alternatives to ban and allocation of staff to pastoral care.
3. In order to preserve the unity of the case, the data from each school will be analysed with the unique context of the school in mind, including location, socio-economic factors, the number of students who use mobile phone in their classrooms and alternative programs. Cross-case analysis will formally occur only after the individual site analyses are complete.
4. Multiple sources of data will be accessed, not the least of which is the interviewing of staff with different duties at the school, from classroom teachers to principals. In addition, school records pertaining to effects of UMPIC, socio-economic standing and general discipline records will be collected in order to gain an overall perspective of the suspension and behaviour management in the school.
Secondary schools have been chosen due to the fact that the majority of students who are using mobile phone excessively and inappropriately are in many Hai Phong secondary schools.
Kien An and Hong Bang districts each have secondary schools that will pilot programs concerning the ban. These schools can be considered special cases (Punch, 2005).
One school is piloting a program to ban students from UMPIC is located in Kien An district. This program will be in its infancy, therefore the opinions and beliefs of the staff will be interesting to examine, especially considering the changes to discipline that will evolve in the school due to the program's implementation.
The second school that allow their students to use mobile phone in their classrooms will be selected as a direct contrast to the first school. The beliefs of this school's staff will be interesting to compare with the first school that will be undergoing changes in their disciplinary practices.
Teachers from different learning areas will be interviewed from each site to maximise variation. It is anticipated that at least five will be interviewed, as this will hopefully enable "option" learning areas (Technology and Enterprise, Languages, The Arts, Health and Physical Education) to be included as well as the core learning areas. Teachers who are team leaders or are involved directly in the pastoral care of students but also carry a teaching role will make up the second group of participants. It is anticipated that there will be at least two of this type of participant from each school. These people are involved with the students at the most base level - in the classroom - and must contend with disciplining as well.
Finally, the representatives from the administration team will comprise the final group. These representatives will very much depend on the structure of the school but it is probable that they could include the Principal, the Deputy Principal in charge of Student Services. The only stipulation of these participants is that they have been delegated the power to ban students. The beliefs of these people will be valuable as they choose the final consequence for the student's behaviour, regardless of the teacher's preferences. They are also primarily responsible for any alternatives to ban that the school offers.
The school which agree to be a pilot school will refine the data gathering process. It may also be possible to include this school in the study if relatively little modification of the processes has to be made.
Confidentiality will be assured to all participants. All transcripts, notes and audiotapes will be stored in a lockable cabinet at the researcher's home. Names of schools will be disguised, as will names of participants.
When the principals have consented, permission will be sought to address a staff meeting or other gathering to explain the research and ask for volunteer participants. These volunteers will be contacted either via email or phone and interview times will be finalised.
There will be two stages of data collection. The first stage will consist of interviewing the participants. Participants who consent to be interviewed will be given the opportunity to view the basic interview schedule prior to the interview in order to have time to consider their responses, with the explanation that this schedule is a guide for the interview and questions may not necessarily be asked in that order. It is hoped that this will encourage more meaningful replies, which, in turn, will provide richer data. Spontaneous replies will be able to be included by asking clarifying questions. Thus, it will be possible to elicit both planned and unplanned responses that will again aid in gathering meaningful data. It is intended that the interviews take no longer than thirty minutes and permission will be sought from each participant to use a tape-recorder to record the interview.
It is anticipated that most interviews will take place at the participant's place of work and at a time that is most suitable for them. The interview itself, although based around the guiding questions, will be conducted in a more conversational manner in order to place the participant at ease and to aid rapport.
The type of interview technique that will be employed is that of the semi-structured or focused interview. Minichiello, Aroni, Timewell and Alexander (1995) argue that this style of interviewing allows researchers to use both a structured approach as well as a more 'conversational' style in order to answer the research questions. This style of in-depth interviewing - "conversations with a purpose" (Burgess, 1984) - is appropriate for this study as the purpose is to glean as much information pertaining to the participants' perspectives on banning students from UMPIC. The researcher will be familiar with techniques in creating rapport, which is expected to be substantially aided by the fact that the researcher is a member of the teaching profession. At the conclusion of the interviews at a school, each participants will each receive a written transcript of their interview and will be invited to make any changes they deem to be necessary.
The second stage of data collection will occur once the initial data has been analysed and themes emerged. It is intended that a focus group interview will take place at each site to confirm or refute these themes. Those who had participated in the one-on-one interviews will be invited to take part. The raw data itself will not be discussed but any other information that is revealed during these sessions will also form part of the final analysis.
As the purpose of this study is to develop themes regarding the beliefs of school staff, it is necessary to choose the most suitable methods of data analysis to ensure that the data is treated thoroughly and the conclusions drawn can be substantiated. Miles and Huberman
(1994) developed a model of data analysis that assists the researcher by providing a visual reference as to how data can be tackled.
This model presents analysis as a continuous, iterative process that involves four phases that constantly impact upon each other and are carried out simultaneously. These four phases will be integral to this study and their application is outlined as follows:
1. Data collection: As described in the previous section, data for this study will be collected by building a profile of the behaviour management at the schools through examining their processes, procedures and alternatives to ban students from UMPIC; and interviewing those who participate in the teaching, pastoral care or disciplinary roles.
2. Data display: When dealing with the data from schools such as the number of incidents relating to mobile phone that have occurred over one school year, tables will be constructed to facilitate cross-case analysis and to be able to determine the policies and practices regarding behaviour management that a school employs. This will assist in profiling the school and will give context to the beliefs held by the practitioners there.
Interview data and school's behaviour management policies will be transcribed firstly into a Word document with margins down either side for future analysis. Inductive coding techniques will be employed, aimed at discovering the codes from within the data itself. The reasoning behind not creating a database of codes prior to analysis is to eliminate as much researcher bias as possible. As the researcher currently works with at-risk students, it can be assumed that some bias and preconceptions may infiltrate the process so taking precautions is logical. Codes will be written in the left hand margin and memos in the right, in different colours, so as to aid the visual representation of the data.
3. Further into the analysis, these codes will be displayed without the transcripts in order to group together like-phenomenon and begin to advance the analysis conceptually to the level where themes can be crystallised. Visual displays such as matrices, concept maps and spreadsheets will assist in formulating the concepts as connections are made. Continually re-displaying the data visually will assist in a stronger, more meaningful analysis.
4. Conclusions - drawing/verifying: As the displays of the data are constantly being refined, it will be possible to begin to draw conclusions. These conclusions will be verified by looking back at earlier stages of the data analysis, including the raw data, and confirming the significance of the suppositions.
During each of these stages, especially as data is being coded, the researcher will check for consistency by taking random pages of the transcripts or policies and re-coding them. In addition, the central and guiding questions will always be displayed so as to reiterate the focus of the study and prevent the analysis from straying.