Sydney, February 9, 2017:Â Almost half of all Australian school students are either bored or struggling in the classroom, a report has found.
The report, released by the Grattan Institute on Monday, called for a major overhaul of Australia’s education system to deal with the “hidden issue” of widespread student disengagement in the classroom.
The report found that approximately 40 percent of Australian schools students are regularly unproductive, bored and struggling to keep up with their peers.
Pete Goss, director of the Grattan Institute’s school education program, said these “passively disengaged” students can be one to two years behind their peers in their work.
“When a student switches off, there is the risk of a downward spiral,” Goss told the Guardian Australia.
“If the teacher responds badly, more students can become distracted and the momentum of the class can be lost.”
Goss said aggressive or violent behavior in the classroom was not the main distraction, rather that it was ongoing minor disruptions that was causing mass disengagement.
By studying more than a decade of academic research the Institute established that the major distractions were students talking out of turn, avoiding work, being late for class and moving around the classroom.
“Australian classrooms are not out of control,” Goss said. “But student disengagement is a hidden issue in schools.”
The report said teacher training was not doing enough to help teachers build the skills required to deal with distractions with only half of new teachers saying their training was helpful.
Teachers overwhelmingly responded to distracting behavior by yelling, a response which only made matters worse.
The report recommended that classrooms be made more engaging for distracted students, including fostering stronger relationships between teachers and students based on mutual respect.