Understanding Student-Teacher Conflict

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Abstract

The present article provides a study of the justice-related perceptions in educational settings by examining conflict issues. It is based upon the assertion that conflict experience may provide key to understand how justice functions in the classroom. This study aims to investigate what issues of injustice arise during teacher-student conflicts. What teacher treatments do students find unfair? What student actions are perceived as unfair by the teacher? This study is based on narratives of Lithuanian students and teachers. Sixty-eight students and thirty-one teachers participated. Respondents were asked to remember a conflict they experienced and answer several questions of the survey. Respondents reported that they experienced interactional injustice more frequently than they experienced distributive or procedural injustice. Also, both teachers and students reported conflict situations where two or even three types of justice had been violated. In terms of classroom practice, findings suggest that to avoid destructive conflicts, teachers should be aware of students’ understanding of justice.