Paul Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Student Behavior 
developmental stages of social development


In stage 1, the main issue is dependence. 
Students are generally dependent and submissive, and do what the   teacher  says. The students'  interaction is mostly through the teacher, so there is low covert interaction among students.There is little disruptive behavior, but some "attention getting."  Order is fairly high. anxiety levels high in some students. Some students are bored. Motivation is extrinsic; approval, praise and encouragement from teacher and parent/caregiver(s) is important. There is fear of punishment.

                   STAGE 2   REBELLION
                    In stage 2 the main issue is rebellion. 
                    The students test, challenge and try out the teacher. The student group 
                    separates into two camps, one in opposition to the teacher, the other seeking 
                    to maintain dependent group behavior. Some students challenge or ignore the
                    teacher's efforts to control the class. Noise level tends to be high. Trust level
                    among students is low, and aggressive interactions and put-downs are common. 
                    The rebellious sub-group is extrinsicly motivated by peer group approval, moderated 
                    by fear of teacher punishment. The intrinsic motivation is for autonomy, moderated by
                    dependency needs.
                    STAGE 3   COHESION
                    In stage 3, the main issue is cohesion. 
                    Students are friendly and trusting to each other and the teacher. 
                    There is very little disruptive behavior. There is lots of interaction but of an orderly
                    type They conform to group norms. There is little disagreement, as this is seen as 
                    disruptive to the harmony of the group. 
                    This inability to handle conflict results in some covert bad feeling. 
                    Extrinsic motivation comes from praise and encouragement from peer group 
                    and teacher. Breach of class norms brings strong group disapproval.
                    STAGE 4   AUTONOMY
                    Autonomy is the main issue at stage 4. Individuals are self-directed, 
                    able to seek and give support but function well without it. 
                    Students take responsibility for their own learning.
                    There is a high level of interaction. 
                    Agreement and discussion are the norm; 
                    agreement occurs in the context of disagreement.

       School Violence and Conflict Programs
       Paper Presentation
       Dr. Paul Gathercoal,  Associate Professor & Director,
       Educational Technology Specialization
       in Curriculum and Instruction
    School of Education California Lutheran University