Objectives: the present study seeks to determine to what extent is the relationship between verbal abuse by a teacher, class participation, academic achievement and problem behavior in the Tbilisi public schools.
Method: Survey design was used and questionnaires were administered to gather information: the “Pupils self-reporting questionnaire of verbal abuse by the teacher” was worked out in the framework of this study. Two well tested questionnaires, “The student participation questionnaire” (Finn 1991) and “Problem behavior measurement scale” (Gresham & Elliott, 1990) were translated from English into Georgian and modified based on our research problems. Research was conducted in ten public schools from all (10) districts of Tbilisi including both, central and outskirt parts. 384 seven and ten graders and twenty teachers participated in the study. Results: The study found out, that different forms of verbal abuse by a teacher take place in Tbilisi public schools. Public humiliation, as one of the four forms of verbal abuse discussed in the present study was stated by the students at the highest rate. The number of students who reported their not active participation in the class activities was quite high. The percentage of pupils with low academic achievement and problem behavior (externalized and internalized) was also not low. Verbal abuse by a teacher appeared to be positively connected to externalized problem behavior and negatively related to the academic achievement and students’ class participation. No correlation was found between students’ class participation and problem behavior. However, strong connection appeared to be between non participation and externalized problem behavior.Seemingly unexpected results were found about relation between the students’ classroom participation and academic achievement. High per sent of children with low academic achievement and low per sent of students with high academic achievement proposed to be high participants in class.
Conclusion: The present study like past empirical findings show that existence of verbal abuse by a teacher decreases the level of students’ class participation. On the contrary it can rise problem behavior in the class and hinder students’ academic achievement. The negative connection between the class participation and academic achievement was explained by the supposition that students’ grading process in Tbilisi schools is still based on the old assessment criteria like understanding and memorizing the subject matter by students. Class participation stays ignored by teachers and is not reflected in the marks. On the other hand, students with low academic achievement could be subjunctive when proposing about their participation in class and overestimate their level of participation.