The Changing Face of Classroom Violence: Occurrence Rates of Teacher Directed Abuse on Early Career Teachers

International research has identified Teacher Directed Abuse (TDA) as a worldwide phenomenon. TDA is defined as, aggressive behaviour towards an acting teacher by students or the legal guardians of students that is deliberate and aimed to harm either physically, emotionally, socially and/or professionally, including obscene gestures and remarks, intimidation, or physical assault which can be perpetrated in person, in a cyber environment such as emails and social media. Teachers victimized by TDA report negative effects on their mental health and wellbeing along with a lowered intent to stay at their current position and increased attrition. Rarely discussed in academic circles and not understood by most ITE lecturers, TDA is commonly ignored. A short meta-analysis of Teacher Directed Abuse studies creates a firm foundation to understand the seldom discussed phenomenon. This research identifies: the occurrence rate of TDA on early career teachers throughout Scotland.

Data was gathered through a PROSPERO registered meta-analysis of the Teacher Directed Abuse. An extremely limited number of studies recording the experiences of Teacher Directed Abuse have been carried out in the UK. To compensate for a lack of research, studies were taken from throughout Europe and United States.

Only research that utilized teacher self-reported occurrences and the resulting effect from TDA were included in the meta-analysis. The Newcastle – Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale was used to form a basis for exclusion by using selection criteria derived from individual studies. Resulting data was then complied with specific attention paid to occurrence rates of TDA, and forms of TDA experienced. These findings were then compared to the only TDA study ever carried out in early career Scottish teachers.

Surveys were electronically delivered to first year teachers throughout Scotland using official lines from the General Teaching Council of Scotland. The fully anonymous survey asked occurrence rates experienced and observed, forms of TDA experienced and observed and effects of TDA on the victims mental health.

Main Findings
The lingering effects of Teacher Directed Abuse has a long-term negative impact teacher attrition statistics, and teacher mental health and wellbeing. The occurrence rates of TDA were compared to statistics from international studies. Never before have early career teachers experiences with TDA been targeted for research. This study establishes TDA rates within the Scottish population of early career teachers and is the first academic study to record TDA occurrences in Scotland.