2. Misbehaviour and educational achievement among Arabic children

Yousuf Almurtaji1

1 Public Authority for Applied Education & Training, Kuwait

Abstract

Poor levels of behaviour can have deleterious effects on the prospects of children, as well as on fellow students and the ability of teachers to carry out their duties. Relationships between behavioural problems and educational achievement have been identified; however, perceptions of negative behaviours are culturally loaded, and a child’s age (school grade) may influence effects since development (or school systems) can lead to variance in behavioural responses. This study set out to measures such relationships across school years in a cultural context (Kuwaiti Arabic) that has received relatively little attention. Participants were children, and their parents and teachers, from primary school grades 4 and 5 and intermediate school grades 6 and 7. Parents/teachers completed an attention-hyperactivity questionnaire, designed specifically for an Arabic setting, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which has been widely used internationally. Children performed measures of literacy and mathematics, scores on which were associated with the questionnaire data. The results showed associations between educational measures and negative behaviours (particularly hyperactivity/inattention and emotion problems) across parent/teacher data, but a potential focus on influences in the primary grades. Findings are discussed in terms of the need for intervention strategies, and similarities with other studies varying in cultural contexts.

Keywords: misbehaviour, educational attainment, cultural context, Kuwait

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