Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Maryann Longo


This research study addressed the problem of aggressive and disruptive behaviors for kindergarten through Grade 12 students in a school district located in Southeastern United States. The study examined classroom teachers' daily lived experiences with student aggression. Using a phenomenological design and guided by the frustration aggression theory and the social learning theory, the research questions explored teachers' responses to what can be done to help with disruptive and aggressive students and how social learning could help students with these behaviors. Data were collected from interviews with 5 individual teachers who had experienced aggressive and disruptive behaviors; data were also gathered from a focus group of 6 to increase credibility of the final interpretations. Both interview and focus group data were color-coded and thematically analyzed. Emergent themes revealed that aggressive disruptive behaviors included extreme disrespect toward teachers with physical and verbal abuse, and low teacher efficacy. The results indicated that social learning, through positive modeling, was needed to help aggressive disruptive students change their behavior. Teacher recommendations included professional training on social learning strategies, reducing class size, instilling a zero tolerance policy, increasing administrative support, and providing social learning programs for aggressive students. These recommendations could lead to social change by implementing constructive measures to reduce aggression and nurture positive teacher-student relationships by which students are empowered to learn and grow.