Challenging behaviours in primary classrooms: examining causal attributions and strategies used by primary school teachers in India

Susmita Patnaik, Pearl Subban

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In this study, we examined 535 primary classroom teachers’ causal attributions about challenging behaviour in West Bengal, India. The participants completed a questionnaire that collected information about their perceptions, causal attribution, and proposed strategies to address a range of challenging behaviours that were presented through five vignettes. The participants identified student-related and family-related factors as the main causes of challenging behaviour more frequently compared to teacher-related causes. They reported using proactive strategies more often than reactive strategies to address challenging behaviours in their classrooms. The findings provided insight into teachers’ causal attributions influencing their choice of classroom-management strategies, which helped to understand teaching practices and how they affect students. The implications of the study are presented to improve professional learning and practice for teachers and guide them to adopt strength-based strategies to address challenging behaviour in primary schools in West Bengal, India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-95
Number of pages18
JournalAustralasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • causal attribution
  • challenging behaviour
  • primary school
  • strategies
  • teacher education

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