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We can all learn from each other: An ethnographic study of disruptive behavior in middle school classrooms

Kimberly Ann Connors-Douglas, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The socio-cultural norms of middle school classrooms, seventh through ninth grade, are described and analyzed. The primary focus is disruptive student behavior and a secondary focus is the role of the teacher in setting and defining the socio-cultural norms of the class. A qualitative research approach was utilized to frame the study and micro-ethnographic methods of inquiry were used for data collection. Goffman's theory of social interaction in bound institutions is used as a frame of analysis as well as critical theory. Two interloping structures of classroom interaction were found to be present in the classroom. One emanated from the official structure, consisting of the teacher, the administrators and the school district, and the other emanated from the student infrastructure. The study suggests to educators that there is much to be learned from the classroom interaction patterns between students and teachers. Students' thoughts and feelings about the social interaction patterns that they create and maintain must be analyzed and taken seriously by educators. There is much to be gleamed and understood about the relationship between the official structure's imposed structure of classroom interaction on students and students' responses to the imposition of this structure. ^

Subject Area

Education, Sociology of|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Connors-Douglas, Kimberly Ann, "We can all learn from each other: An ethnographic study of disruptive behavior in middle school classrooms" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9997005.