Attribution Theory

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Psychological research into causal attributions began in the early twentieth century with the work of Fritz Heider, an Austrian psychologist. Attribution theory focuses on how one makes sense of other people’s behaviour as well as their own behaviour. Firstly behaviour is observed, secondly, people consider why the behaviour occurred and thirdly attribution seeks to perceive or understand the causality of why something occurred. Another factor on how people attribute other people and their behaviour is on internal and external factors. Internal factors focus on the causes relating to the individual such as personality and external factors focus on the causes of behaviour outside the individual such as family or school. These inferences are…show more content…
Depending on what school personnel attribute the cause of student behaviour, will determine the action or intervention used in discipline of the student. Weiner reported that teachers’ attribution beliefs are related to their actions as teachers’ and determine solutions to problem (Nutter, 2015). If teachers believed that the behaviour was related to home issues, they believed that parental involvement was more appropriate in dealing with discipline. Another element in the research indicated that teachers’ emotional reactions to students’ performance affects students’ perceptions. It is of the belief that this can also affect how students perceive discipline Erbas, Turan, Aslan and Dunlap,…show more content…
For instance Woolflolk and Perry (as cited in Neumann, 2012) posited that when administrators and teachers assumes that student behaviour is attributable to factors beyond the student’s control, the teacher usually responds with more softer approaches. If, however, behaviour is attributing to factors that can be controlled, the teacher is usually more harsh and punitive. This application may explain how administrators and teachers perceive discipline as the approaches used will be based on the factors associated with the behaviour whether controllable or uncontrollable factors. Additionally, this application of attribution theory has helped to explain how teachers’ perceptions and behaviours might impact student outcomes and

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