Received 5 June 2016; accepted 1 August 2016; published 4 August 2016
1.1. Verbal Aggressiveness
Verbal aggression is defined as the attack a person’s self-concept of the other in order to cause psychological pain as attack on character, competence, physical appearance, teasing, ridicule, threats, swearing, and profanity (Infante & Rancer, 1996) . In all types of relationships, research consistently shows that verbal aggressiveness leads to negative outcomes (Anderson & Martin, 1995; Bekiari, 2012, 2014; Bekiari & Hasanagas, 2015, 2016; Bekiari & Manoli, 2016; Bekiari & Sakellariou, 2002; Hasanagas & Bekiari, 2015; Infante, Myers, & Buerkel, 1994; Infante & Rancer, 1996; Manoli & Bekiari, 2015) . Concerning education system, it has been supported that verbal aggressiveness is a demotivating force in the classroom (Gorham & Christophel, 1992) that is negatively related to social, task and physicalattraction (Syrmpas & Bekiari, 2015) , perceptions of immediacy (Martin, Weber, & Burant, 1997; Rocca & McCroskey, 1999) , student affect toward the course content, the teacher and the recommended course behaviors (Bekiari, 2012; Myers & Knox, 1999; Wrench & Richmond, 2004) , motivation climate and satisfaction (Bekiari, 2014; Bekiari, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2005, 2006; Bekiari, Perkos, & Gerodimos, 2015; Bekiari & Syrmpas, 2015; Claus, Chory, & Malachowski, 2011; Manoli & Bekiari, 2015; Myers, Edwards, Wahl, & Martin, 2007; Myers & Rocca, 2001; Schrodt, 2003) , student prosocial fair play (Hassandra, Bekiari & Sakellariou, 2007) and behavior, thinking, motivation (Bekiari & Hasanagas, 2015; Mazer & Stowe, 2016; Richmond & Gorham, 1992) . Additionally, students consider teachers verbally aggressive as less reliable than teachers avoid unconstructive communication in the classroom (Bekiari, Koustelios, & Sakellariou, 2000; Edwards & Myers, 2007; Mazer & Stowe, 2016; Schrodt, 2003) .
Moreover, students who consider that their physical education instructors are verbally aggressive present a tendency to learning loss (Bekiari & Sakellariou, 2002) adopting a similar aggressive behavior (Bekiari, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2005) . In a similar context, it has been supported that instructors’ verbal aggressiveness has a negative effect on the students’ satisfaction, intrinsic motivation factors (such enjoyment and interest, effort/ importance and competence) and discipline factors related to intrinsic and caring reasons (Bekiari, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2006) . Also, Bekiari (2012) found a negative relationship between perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and students’ affective learning and satisfaction in physical education context. Furthermore, verbally aggressive coaches are likely to be considered as less credible and they probably make athletes feel less motivated (Mazer, Barnes, Grevious, & Boger, 2013) . Moreover, researchers mainly examined the relationship between athletes’ aggressiveness and the type of sport (contact or non-contact) (Bredemeier, Weiss, Shields, & Cooper, 1986; Huang, Cherek, & Lane, 1999; Lemieux, McKelvie, & Stout, 2002) . Additionally, Bekiari, Digelidis and Sakellariou (2006) argued that athletes who participated in a noncontact sport perceived their coaches as emitting less verbal aggressiveness compared to athletes participating in a high-contact sport. Moreover, male volleyball players rated somatic anxiety higher and were more affected by coaches’ verbal aggressiveness than female volleyball players (Bekiari, Patsiaouras, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2006) .
1.2. Personal Orientations
The concepts of goal orientation and motivation are referred generally to the way with which each person conceives his ability, defines success and prompts himself to achieve his objectives. Related researches in this field were based on the perception that the individual’s achievement targets are determined by whatever the individual considers important and desirable (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Nicholls, 1984, 1989; Duda, 1989; Duda & Nicholls, 1992) . The better comprehension of motivation however, requires that the target of behavior should be recognized. According to the theory of Nicholls (1989) , inter-personal differences exist in the way with which the people perceive their ability and define success. Thus, in environments of achievement such as the school and sports, two different objectives independent with each other are revealed, the objective of task and ego reinforcement (Duda & Nicholls, 1992; Li, Harmer et al., 1998; Nicholls, 1989; Williams & Gill, 1995) . Individuals, who are task-orientated conceive success and judge their ability on the basis of their own efforts and personal improvement. On the contrary, individuals who are ego-oriented compare themselves with others or with certain norms in order to decide how good they are. For them, success means the surpassing of others and the demonstration of a high level of abilities.
Treasure and Roberts (1995) argues that when children realize that the course of physical education is directed toward learning, they adopt targets that concern their personal improvement and demonstrate higher motivation. So, they participate more actively and have more fun, because they do not worry about their errors or they probably know that when somebody wants to learn it is natural to make mistakes. After all, they all accept that everyone can accomplish his/her goals through practice. On the contrary, in the case of children realizing that the physical education course is directed toward performance, their feeling of success depends on their perception of how good they are compared to others. As a consequence, the errors become sources of stress and the children tend to avoid their participation in physical education classes, especially when they believe that they do not demonstrate the skills to accomplish a task.
It is supported that children with high task orientation demonstrate higher and more constant in time motivation, whereas children directed toward “ego” demonstrate a low or moderate perception for their athletic abilities (Fox, Goudas, Biddle, Duda, & Armstrong, 1994; Kokaridas, Bekiari, & Sakellariou, 2005) . Research of Linnenbrink and Pintrich (2002) noted that people who are task-oriented believe that slow progress but not meeting expectations is a good opportunity to improve more, while the people who are ego-oriented thought that these problems are an indication of the low competence in relation to others. Furthermore, the instructors’ task-orien- tation associated with students’ reports that teachers actively supported the formulation of questions and seeking help (Butler & Shibaz, 2008; Shim, Sho, & Cassady, 2013) .
The achievement goal framework in terms of task-ego and approach-avoidance dimensions has also been intensively discussed, exploring the possible role of gender, athlete status and psychological parameters (Wang, Biddle, & Elliot, 2007) . Interesting profiles have also been suggested concerning goal orientation, motivation climate and relationship perceptions in young athletes (Smith, Balaguer, & Duda, 2006) . The high perceived sport ability group was featured by an engagement of task-based motivation to enjoyment. In this concept, the relevance of effort, personal development and improvement was pointed out. Task orientation and enjoyment in physical education are emphasized as salient factors inhibiting decline in physical activity (Yli-Piipari, Barkoukis, Jaakkola, & Liukkonen, 2013) . Goal orientations seem to remain independent from the course of the season, as late season task orientation appears to depend on early season and coach task orientation (McPherson, 2015).
Task-based motivation constitutes a predictor of enjoyment in physical education through perceived physical competence and intrinsic motivation. This supported previous findings (Vallerand, Brière, Blanchard, & Provencher, 1997) , involving self-determination and the achievement goal theory and excluding ego-involving climate as rather irrelevant factor (Gråstén, Jaakkola, Liukkonen, Watt, & Yli-Piipari, 2012) .
1.3. Reasons for Discipline
Acceptable behavior and discipline is an issue of concern for the educational community (Bekiari & Hasanagas, 2016) as learning takes place in a well-organized and peaceful atmosphere (Good & Grouws, 1977; Evertson, Anderson, Anderson, & Brophy, 1980) . Placer and Dodds (1988) argued that a well-disciplined class is one of the most important indices of successful teaching. Hellison (1985) developed strategies to help students take responsibility for their own behaviour and to increase their self-determination. It was proposed a model-an active inclusion of an undisciplined student in class through a series of steps-levels (from 0 to 4). Level 0 is characterized as a level of irresponsibility, where the student behaves antisocially and impedes the smooth functioning of both the classroom and the school. With the right assistance, the student can go to level 1, the level of participation, where the student is uninvolved in the classroom, but without harassing his classmates. Then, there is an effort to get to level 2, the level of self-control, where the student participates in class and controls himself, his feelings and reactions. Then the student passes to a higher level 3 of responsibility in which there is self-control and will participate without the direct supervision of a physical education teacher. The goal of this model is for the student to be found on level 4. There, there is care for others, the highest level of responsibility. At this level, the student not only controls himself but he actively participates without the presence of the teacher and cares, helps and offers to others Hellison (1985) . Similarly, Deci and Ryan (1985a, 1985b) in their self-determination theory identified self-responsibility and caring reasons along with external, introjected, intrinsic and no reasons as the six internally consistent factors that describe the reasons for being disciplined. Moreover, Giannoudis, Digelidis and Papaioannou (2009) who examined the perceived behavior of physical education teachers to students designated disciplined-undisciplined, in the context of perceived motivational climate. The results showed that the disciplined students, compared unruly adopted a more personal orientation in learning and personal improvement, entertained and disciplined more, they had higher perceived athletic ability and were adopting more self-determined reasons for discipline in class (internal, self-responsibility, caring reasons).
2. The Present Study
From the above, it is obvious that the concepts of verbal aggressiveness, personal orientations and discipline reasons have been sufficiently examined. However, students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons during physical education lessons has not yet being linked with verbal aggressiveness of physical education instructors as perceived by students. This study intended to examine the relations among perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and students’ personal orientations and reasons for discipline during physical education lessons.
In particular, this study intends to answer the following research questions:
- Are there significant differences noted between the sexes and classes regarding verbal aggressiveness, personal orientations and discipline reasons?
- Is there a positive or negative relationship between instructors’ verbal aggressiveness as perceived by students with students’ self-reports of personal orientations and their perceptions of reasons for discipline in physical education classes?
- To what extent the perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness could be a significant predictor of the students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons?
- Can a students’ typology regarding parameters of verbal aggressiveness perception, orientation and discipline be extracted?
In the light of the findings, useful conclusions is expected to be drawn regarding the relation of instructors’ verbal aggression as perceived by students with personal orientations and reasons for being disciplined.
3.1. Participants and Procedures
The sample of the study consisted of 283 students (124 males, 159 females) aged 10 - 14 years old (M = 12.6, SD = .94) in four cities of central Greece and Athens. All the participants were between the 5th and 6th grade of public primary schools and between the 1st and 2nd grade of public secondary schools and belonged to different socio-economic status. All students completed questionnaires referring to the instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons, during their physical education lessons, in winter 2015. The completion of questionnaires lasted for 20 - 30 minutes approximately and flowed freely. The anonymity of the participants was ensured and student participation in the process was voluntary in order to obtain sincere answers. The study was conducted in accordance with the best practice rules and research ethics.
Verbal aggressiveness. The Greek version (Bekiari & Digelidis, 2015) , which was used to assess physical education teacher verbal aggressiveness, relied on the theoretical framework and the Verbal Aggressiveness Questionnaire (20 items) developed by Infante and Wigley (1986) . Preliminary examination (Bekiari & Digelidis, 2015) supported the psychometric properties of the instrument. In particular, confirmatory factor analysis indicated satisfactory fit indices (confirmatory factor analysis: .97, SRMR: .02), and internal consistency of the scale (α = .96). The scale consisted of eight items (e.g., “the teacher insults students,” “the teacher makes negative judgments of students’ ability”). Participants were asked to respond on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1: Strongly disagree to 5: Strongly agree.
Personal orientations. The Task and Ego Orientation questionnaire (Duda, 1989) , adapted in Greek population ( Papaioannou & Macdonald, 1993; Papaioannou & Theodorakis, 1996), was used to assess students’ task and ego orientation. The scale consisted of two factors (“task” and “ego” orientation) and includes a total of 13 questions. Specifically, it is consisted of 7 questions describingtask orientation (e.g. I learn a new exercise trying hard) and 6 questions describing the ego orientation (e.g. I am the only one who can do the exercise). Participants were asked to respond on a 5 point Likert scale (from 1 = never to 5 = often).
Reasons for discipline. The Greek version (Papaioannou, 1998) , which based on the self-determination theory of Deci and Ryan (1985a, 1985b) , was used to assess students’ perceptions of reasons for discipline. The scale consisted of 26 items and six factors: external reasons (4 questions), introjected reasons (3 questions), intrinsic rea- sons (8 questions), no reasons (3 questions), self-responsibility reasons (4 questions), and caring reasons (4 ques- tions) for being disciplined. Following the stem “When I am disciplined in PE class, it is because…” responses to the items were indicated on a 5-point Likert-type scale, from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree.
3.3. Data Analysis
Data analysis included the use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 21.0). Cronbach’s α reliability analysis was used to examine the internal consistency of the factors of each questionnaire. Differences in students’ perceptions about the verbal aggressiveness, personal orientations and discipline reasons respectively with the gender and class, were examined by performing a two-way MANOVA analysis. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to measure the correlation between the subscales of the questionnaires.Moreover, regression analysis was conducted in order to explore the extent to which the perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness could be a significant predictor of the students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons.The level of statistical significance was set at .05.
Finally, a students’ typology regarding parameters of verbal aggressiveness perception, orientation and discipline will be formulated using principal component analysis.
Cronbach’s α reliability analysis for the Verbal Aggressiveness Scale (Bekiari & Digelidis, 2015) was .92. The factors of task orientation (α = .89) and ego-orientation (α = .91) for the Task and Ego Orientation Questionnaire (Duda, 1989) showed a high level of reliability. The factors of external reasons (α = .88), introjected reasons (α = .89), intrinsic reasons (α = .87), no reasons (α = .85), self-responsibility reasons (α = .79), and caring reasons (α = .81), for the Reasons of Discipline Scale (Papaioannou, 1998) showed a high degree of reliability.
Moreover, two-way MANOVA was performed to examine differences in verbal aggressiveness, personal orientations and discipline reasons between gender and school class (5th-6th class of primary school and 1st-2nd class of secondary school). The findings showed statistically significant multivariate effect on gender (Wilk’s λ = .918, F[9,268] = 2.06, p < .05) and on school class(Wilk’s λ = .811, F[9,268] = 1.96, p < .01), but no interaction between gender and school class was detected (Wilk’s λ = .917, F[9,268] = .69, p = .921). The examination of the univariate effects revealed no significant effect of gender on verbal aggressiveness, personal orientations and discipline reasons, but revealed significant effect of school class on verbal aggressiveness (F[3,273] = 2.96, p < .05), on ego-orientation (F[3,273] = 4.27, p < .05, on intrinsic reasons (F[3,273] = 3.74, p < .05) and on caring reasons (F[3,273] = 3.76, p ≤ .05). An examination of the mean scores indicated that the 2nd class of secondary school (ΜΟ = 3.05, SD = 1.24) proved to have the lower score in verbal aggressiveness, the 2nd class of secondary school (ΜΟ = 3.03, SD = 1.28) the higher score in ego-orientation, the 1st class of secondary school (ΜΟ = 2.86, SD = 1.31) the higher score in external reasons of discipline and the 5th class of primary school (ΜΟ = 2.24, SD = 1.13) the lower score in caring reasons.
In addition, a correlation analysis was conducted, the results of which are presented in “Table 1”. As it can be seen, there was a negative significant relationship between instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and task orientation (r = −.83), intrinsic reasons (r = −.49) and caring reasons for discipline (r = −.86). Moreover, there was a positive significant relationship between instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and ego orientation (r = .89), external reasons (r = .74), indrojected reasons (r = .35), no reasons (r = .46) and self-responsibility reasons for discipline (r = .50).
Table 1. Correlations between variables.
*p < .05, **p < .001.
Moreover, linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the extent to which students’ personal orientations and reasons for discipline could be predicted from the ratings of instructors’ verbal aggressiveness. The results indicated that perceived instructor verbal aggressiveness could predict significant variance in personal orientations (F(2,280) = 623.16, p < .001) with an R2 of 81.7%. Perceived verbal aggressiveness explained 2.6% of the variance in students’ task-orientation (β = −.30, t = −6.25, p < .001) and 12.4% of the variance in students’ ego-orientation (β = .58, t = 13.76, p < .001). Another linear regression analysis was conducted to predict student discipline reasons based on teacher verbal aggressiveness. The results indicated that perceived instructor verbal aggressiveness could predict significant variance in reasons for discipline (F(6,276) = 74.17, p < .001) with an R2 of 61.7%. Verbal aggressiveness explained 19.2% of the variance in students’ external reasons (β =. 55, t = 11.76, p < .001), 1.3% of the variance in students’ introjected reasons (β = −.15, t = −3.03, p < .05), 1.6% of the variance in students’ intrinsic reasons (β = −.31, t = −3.36, p < .001) and4.5% of the variance in students’ self-responsibility reasons (β = .21, t = 5.68, p < .001). The results of the regression analyses are presented in “Table 2”.
Moreover, in the “Table 3”, two types may be distinguished, according to the sources of discipline. The “obedient” is a student who is extensively disciplined due to a wide variety of discipline factors (external and internal ones as well as responsibility). Simultaneously, such a disciplined student is targeted for verbal aggressiveness by the instructors and oriented to learning (task). The “altruist” appears not to be very different. He feels also verbally assaulted by the instructors and patiently interested in learning.
The aim of this study was threefold: 1) to explore the relationship between perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and students’ personal orientations and reasons for discipline, 2) to investigate the influence of instructor verbal aggressiveness on student personal orientations and reasons for discipline and 3) to propose students’ typology. The results of the study indicated that perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness was positively related to students’ ego orientation, external reasons, introjected reasons, no reasons, and self-responsibility reasons for discipline, but was negatively related to students’ task orientation, intrinsic reasons and caring reasons for discipline. Moreover, perceived instructors’ verbal aggressiveness could significantly predict the variables of students’ personal orientations and external reasons, intrinsic reasons and self-responsibility reasons for discipline. Distinct types of disciplined students are also proposed: the “obedient” and “altruist”. Furthermore, the 2nd
Table 2. Regression analysis results according to verbal aggressiveness.
*p < .05, **p < .001.
Table 3. Mixed typology.
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. a. 2 components extracted.
grade of secondary school proved to have the lower score on verbal aggressiveness, the 2nd grade of secondary school the higher score on ego-orientation, the 1st grade of secondary school the higher score on external reasons of discipline and the 5th grade of primary school the lower score on caring reasons.
Previous study’s findings argued that instructors’ personality plays a determinant role in the interrelationship with their students (Rancer & Avtgis, 2014) . In this specific case, students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons were influenced by instructors’ verbal aggressiveness. Instructors’ verbal aggressiveness emerged as the most important negative predictor of students’ task-orientation and intrinsic reasons for discipline. This is in accordance with previous findings which suggested that teachers’ verbal aggressiveness is negatively related with physical education students’ intrinsic motivation and satisfaction (Bekiari, 2012, 2014; Kassing & Infante, 1999) . Similarly, the findings of a previous study argued that instructors’ verbal aggressiveness has a negative effect on the students’ satisfaction, intrinsic motivation and discipline factors related to intrinsic and caring reasons (Bekiari, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2006) . A reasonable explanation of this finding could be the fact that task-orien- tated and internal disciplined students prefer to receive positive and encouraging feedback from their instructors (Sinclair & Vealey, 1989; Smith & Smoll, 1990).In any case, instructors’ verbal aggressiveness could be perceived by students as negative reinforcement, reporting also lower levels of intrinsic motivation, task orientation and increased stress levels (Digelidis & Papaioannou, 1999) .
Moreover, previous studies suggested that learning takes place in a well-organized and peaceful atmosphere (Good & Grouws, 1977; Evertson, Anderson, Anderson, & Brophy, 1980) as most physical education instructors believe that a well-disciplined class is one of the most important indices of successful teaching (Placek, 1983; Placer & Dodds, 1988 ). It seems that instructors’ verbal aggressiveness guides students to discipline. However, students’ discipline due to verbal aggressiveness is negatively associated with students’ intrinsic reasons and caring reasons for discipline in the classroom. It could be said that the distinctions between students’ discipline which leads to an organized and peaceful atmosphere and instructors’ verbal aggressiveness as a form of discipline are not yet clear. It is obvious that verbal aggressiveness is a demotivating force in the classroom (Gorham & Christophel, 1992) leading the students to the forced discipline, negatively affecting their behavior,task orientation, intrinsic motivation, learningenvironment and satisfaction ( Bekiari, 2014; Bekiari & Syrmpas, 2015; Bekiari, Kokaridas, & Sakellariou, 2006; Myers & Knox, 1999; Myers & Rocca, 2000; Myers, 2002). The study indicates the negative outcomes associated with physical education instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and it is consistent with the findings of other research ( Bekiari et al., 2015; Bekiari & Manoli, 2016; Bekiari & Hasanagas, 2015; Infante & Wigley, 1986; Infante & Rancer, 1996; Syrmpas & Bekiari, 2015 ).
Moreover, two types may be distinguished, according to the sources of discipline. The “obedient” is a student who is extensively disciplined due to a wide variety of discipline factors (external and internal ones as well as responsibility). Simultaneously, such a disciplined student is targeted for verbal aggressiveness by the instructors and oriented to learning (task). The emergence of the “obedient” type may attribute to the fact that a strongly disciplined student easily becomes a target of verbal aggressiveness due to his tolerance and no reaction. At the same time, he is so tolerable because he is really oriented to task and not just to obtain degrees and marks. These typology results seem to be complementary to the previous findings (Bekiari & Hasanagas, 2015; Bekiari, Hasanagas, Theoharis, Kefalas, & Vasilou, 2015; Bekiari & Spyropoulou, 2016; Hasanagas & Bekiari, 2015) which have also proposed a connection of interpersonal relationships and verbal aggressiveness measured as a structural phenomenon.
The “altruist” appears not to be very different. He feels also verbally assaulted by the instructors and patiently interested in learning. The slight different in the “altruist” type consists in the sources of discipline seem to be quite different, namely internal factors and caring others. Thus, the two types seem differ from each other regarding the sources of discipline and similar to each other regarding being targeted for verbal aggressiveness and dedication to learning.
Furthermore, the 2nd grade of secondary school proved to have the lower score on verbal aggressiveness, as they have been passed in a mature stage and are more strongly concerned by future carrier interests and stimuli, the 2nd grade of secondary school the higher score on ego-orientation, as they have started to discover their skills and subsequently are interested in being distinguished, the 1st grade of secondary school the higher score on external reasons of discipline, as they still have not strongly adopted social-or institution-based behavioural patterns, and the 5th grade of primary school the lower score on caring reasons, as they children at this age are still quite individualistic and not strongly-embedded in any organized milieu or value system and they have not internalized and behavioral pattern based on any concept of social accountability.
The study results echo the view of Infante and Rancer (1996) , that the effects of verbal aggression are destructive, confirming and reinforcing also a moral attitude which has recently been adopted in education for the need for development of verbal aggressiveness control techniques. However, due to the small number of the results of this study sample should be interpreted carefully. Furthermore, future studies on a larger sample should examine and verify the results of this research on the relations of instructors’ verbal aggressiveness to students’ personal orientations and discipline reasons in physical education.
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