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Challenging behaviours in Saudi Arabian Schools

Overview of the paper
The main focus of this paper involves the analysis of early childhood in Saudi Arabia. It focuses on the curriculum that is used in schools in Arabia and the influence of curriculum on child development. It also focuses on the history of education in Saudi Arabia by providing a review of curricula used in the country. The main focus of this paper involves the analysis of challenging behaviours in preschool children in Saudi Arabia. It provides an overview of some of challenging behaviours that parents are likely to observe in their children. The paper then focuses on aggressiveness and lack of attention as the main challenging behaviours in preschool children. It gives the symptoms that can be observed in children to know that they have challenging behaviours. Finally, it gives a recommendation on the methods that can be used to manage children with challenging behaviours such as aggressiveness and lack of attention.
1.0. Introduction to Challenging behaviours in Saudi Arabian Schools
Challenging behaviours amongst the primary pupils has been one of the biggest priorities that the schools’ stakeholders try to address (Denmark, 2005). This is in line with improving the performance of the children academically through enhancing proper behaviour that would promote their academic development. The various forms of behaviours have an impact in the child’s development stage (Weston, 2008). The behavioural challenges occur as a result of emotional, social and medical disorders that affect the children. This is mainly portrayed in the manner that they exhibit withdrawal and passive tendencies. In a classroom setup, the challenging behaviours may be expressed by the way the pupils exhibit abnormal behaviour such as withdrawal symptoms, low self-esteem, and poor performance (Ruff & Rothbart, 1996).
These behaviours may cause interference in class and hence cause distraction as the teacher is teaching. Teachers ought to deal with such behaviours. For instance, the norms of the pupils may be different to those of the teacher. This brings the disparity in the manner of handling such situations. This has been one of the major issues that has faced Saudi Arabia. This is manifested in the aggressiveness and intimidating behaviours (Kaduson & Schaefer, 2006).
Management of challenging behaviours calls for an initial effort of enhancing positive behaviour among the pupils. In the realm of the education set up, the standards of the behaviour that are practiced in school are based on what was not acceptable (Gaudin, 2004). As a result, the discipline measures put in place sanctioned such behaviours.
In most school indiscipline cases, there are a number of pupils who would behave in a manner that is not accepted by the level of their development. There is need to develop systems that would be vital in the behavioural development (Campbell, 2006). The teachers are also guided by the school stakeholders in the manner that would be beneficial in handling such pupils.

Saudi Arabia is a country that is found in the original nation of Arabian Peninsula in South west of Asian continent. It was commissioned by Abdul Aziz Bin Saud. This was followed by a series of approximately 32 years in which the kingdom was declared liberated. Saudi Arabia is managed by a monarchial system in which a council from one of the royal families selects the leader (Saudi medical journal, 1979). Saudi Arabia has emphasized the development of the educational sector through the development of curricula that focus on early childhood education.
2.0. Introduction to Saudi Arabian Education System
Today, the education system of Saudi Arabia includes 24 universities, 8 private universities and other public universities and private universities being planned. There are also numerous colleges in the country (Rubin, & Tregay, 1989). These institutions provide students with
education system that enhance proper child development skills. Essentially, Saudi Arabia has evolved substantially in the past 80 years. Initially, education was considered a privilege for children from elite families and wealthy families (Rosenfeld & Bluestone, 2003). Presently, there is an increase in equality in education by construction of facilities that enable children from various backgrounds gain knowledge in various fields. A total of twenty five thousand schools have been constructed within a span of 70 years. Currently, children from various backgrounds are able to get education and government plays a major role in ensuring children get education by catering for their school fees (Quarenghi & Angelo Tondini, 2011). There is a mix of curricula and includes traditional Islamic religious education as well as lessons learned in additional fields depending on the curriculum of a school in foreign countries such as the U.S or the U.K. The schedules for these schools is similar to those used in American schools covering a period of 10 months broken down into a number of breaks such as summer breaks and religious holidays (Neighbour, 2009).
In Saudi Arabia the pre-schools were introduced in 1965 at Jeddah city. Saudi Arabia has experienced rapid social changes that have made it possible for most parents to emphasize on the importance of education to their children. By the year 1998, there were approximately, 332 PGE government preschools while, there were 425 private pre-schools (International Labour Conference, 2007).
In Saudi Arabia, the level of educational standards affects the type of education that is practiced in Saudi. Audi manly has the foreign labor that work with the family members. This has necessitated the influence of foreigners to the children in the manner that they socialize (Harrison & Dye, 2008). This makes the children to experience an easier life that makes them to be given virtually everything they require, unlike the previous generations in which they were obliged to work with the rest of the family to participate in the social growth.
In Saudi Arabia, the government provides the education free of charge (Parke & Slaby. 1983). The private schools perform better as compared to the government schools. The educational curriculum that is followed bases on the Islamic approach. On the other hand, the kind garden mainly focuses on the doe’s base on the Muslim principles (Miller, 1996). Apparently, the kindergarten children use the curriculum developer to ensure that, they develop proper skills in social and psychological skills.
Very few children attend the government preschool as most of the available governments in the preschool are meant for teachers and the students who are the children only . Additionally, the locations of most of the preschools are mostly not suitable (Feller & Diebold, 2004). Most of them are located far away and make the walking distance to be far. The pupils find it a challenge o walk at long distances that mainly affect their learning process (Harris & Fuqua, 2000). Additionally, the buildings which are used do not have ample space, hence giving insufficient space for the playing activities for the pupils.
Education in Saudi Arabia is controlled by the Ministry of e ducation. This ministry is responsible for providing the right education to all students, providing facilities which assist learning process, establishing new schools and providing the curricula that should be used (Faull, 2000). The ministry also ensures that training programs are provided to in-service teachers as well as ensuring adult education is conducted. The ministry also ensures that special education services are provided to students with disabilities. The Ministry of Education also represents the kingdom in international organizations and ensures beneficial education cultures are incorporated into the education system as well as promoting cultural exchange (Denmark, 2005).
Elementary education for girls was initiated in early 1960s and can be obtained at both the intermediate and secondary levels. The General Presidency of Girl’s education was partitioned into the Directorate General of girl’s College to include junior colleges, bachelors and masters level of studies as well as specialized trainings and technical education in various fields such as nursing, teacher training and adult education (Weston, 2008).
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Arab Gulf Programme for United Nation (AGFUND) have come up with projects that focus on the development of the preschool curricula that relies on the current prevailing situation on the child’s development process (Ruff & Rothbart, 1996). Moreover, there has been the development of the three in-service that involves the training centers in the areas around Saudi Arabia.
Specialized education training is offered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the deaf, the mentally retarded, those who require physical therapy and training (Kaduson & Schaefer, 2006). Teachers specializing in these fields are trained at King Saud University at the College of Education and at the College of Medicine for those who have difficulties in hearing and speaking.
Education system in Saudi Arabia is mainly portioned into five categories based on age and duration taken to complete studies. Primary education is allowed free until the student reaches high school (Gaudin, 2004). Children are however allowed to attend kindergartens according to parents’ wish . When the children attain the age of 6 years, they are expected to enroll at primary school. They are mainly allowed to study as day-scholars.
In the middle education level, general academic work is conducted on children for three years. Overall enrollment in Saudi Arabia has been reported to be as high as 95.9% with girl enrollment percentage of 47% (Campbell, 2006). Secondary education takes three years and students have to make a choice between continuing with general education and going to specialized institutions at technical institutions. In the technical institutions, three-year training is provided in fields of agriculture, commerce and industry. Saudi Arabian government reported a gross enrollment of 91% (Saudi medical journal. 1979).
Vocational training is also provided by the government of Saudi Arabia by creating vocational centers that create over 3 million jobs and reduce dependence on oil revenues. These trainings are provided in the fields of metal processing, manufacturing and automotive industries.
In tertiary education level, 24 public universities have been built and a number of courses are provided in the fields of engineering and medicine which take 6 years to complete (Rosenfeld & Bluestone, 2003). Courses in humanities and social sciences take 4 years to complete. The government also plays a role in providing scholarships and bursaries for regional and overseas training.
2.1. Curricula used in Saudi Arabian Education system
The mode of curricula development in Saudi Arabia is designed such that, all the pupils are cable of acquiring proper skills that would enhance their social, psychomotor and behavioural skills (Quarenghi & Tondini, 2011). The curricula developed was named as the `The newly developed curriculum for Early childhood education’ which was also termed as the `Self-Learning curriculum ’ These curriculum have an interactive session with the pupils giving them a self-learning perspective in the manner in which the pupils would acquire. The demise of this curriculum is to ensure that the children would be capable of identifying their talents and nurturing them successfully (Neighbour, 2009). Teachers ought to understand the cognitive, social and the physical development of children.
The curricula that is practiced at Saudi Arabia is the one that follows the following principles; flexibility, freedom, play, skills and knowledge, respect and good relationship and human interaction (International Labour Conference, 2007).The objectives of the curricula is to ensure that, the teachers are capable of nursing the instincts of the given children and ensuring that they have proper growth in both their physical and psychological development as required by the Islam religion.
The main subjects taught at primary schools in Saudi Arabia are Arabic, art education, geography, history, home economics mathematics as well as Islamic education. Graduates from this level of studies are eligible for award of General Elementary School Certificate.
In the intermediate schools, the main subjects are Arabic, art education, English, home economics, physical education and religious studies. Those who complete these studies successfully are awarded intermediate School Certificate (Harrison & Dye, 2008).
At the secondary levels, students share a common curriculum in the first two years which are divided into scientific and literary streams. Those who score above 60 per cent are allowed to proceed in either field while those who score below this mark are forced to opt for literary stream. The general curriculum includes Arabic, biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, home economics, physical education and religious education. Graduates from this level of education are eligible for award of General Secondary Education Certificate (Parke & Slaby, 1983).
There are also specialized secondary schools such as Religious Secondary schools where the main focus is placed on religious studies. Those who successfully complete studies in this field are awarded Religious Institute Secondary Education Certificate.
In the case of Technical Secondary Education, there are specialized subject such as vocational, commercial and agricultural subjects being offered (Miller, 1996). Graduates from these levels of studies are admitted to universities in humanities and social sciences departments.
2.2. Kindergarten Curriculum in Montessori School in Riyadh
Montessori School was developed in 2003 in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The school is managed according to the philosophy provided by Dr Maria Montessori. It provides education to children between ages of 0 to 3 years (Miller, 1996). The school offers a unique K indergarten program that includes the latest techniques in education with the concern of maintaining Arabic and Islamic identity.
The program in Montessori is certified and includes teaching of Arabic and Islamic languages. The curriculum is exclusively K indergarten and covers beyond academics into observing of intellectual, emotional, physical growth of the child (Campbell, 2006). Furthermore, children are taught Islam in a manner that goes beyond normal teachings to enable them learn concerning Islamic values and their application in life.
The school allows enrollment of children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. The school assist children with challenging needs by making them fulfill their potential irrespective of their challenging behaviours (Tragev, 1989).
Teachers in these reading clubs have been successful in cultivating a reading culture in these children as a result of using approaches which deal with defiance (Ruff & Rothbart, 1996). Learning process is based on various timings where children are taught based on requirements at a particular age. This ensures challenges associated with a particular age are addressed during class times. In the age bracket between 0 and 1 year old children, their main learning materials are toys, daybed cots and ply center rooms and they are only attended to by their teachers. These teachers have special raining to assist these children in any challenges they are observed to experience. This section of Montessori school is called Montessori Pre-Nursery.
The other section of Montessori School is the Advanced section where children aged 3 years and above are taught. Their teachers are professionals in the area of managing young children and they have the experience of training children to obey their teachers and follow instructions (Neighbor, 2009). They are also taught how to relate with each other. Those who demonstrate inability to obey teachers or difficulties in relating with each other are taught to have these skills. There are also after-school classes to enhance teaching of lessons conducted during the day or encouraging children to love reading.
Consequently, children who are perceived to be stubborn have been able to read using some facilities that assist reading such as jolly phonics or skill board (Faull, 2000).
This has been attributed to challenging behaviours of these children. The teachers have shown concern on methods that they can use to prevent these kinds of defiant behaviours so that children can benefit from after class club reading program (Kaduson & Schaefer, 2006).
3.0. Definition of Challenging Behaviour in Saudi Arabia
In the context of Saudi Arabian education system, challenging behaviour is defined as a condition where a child experiences changes in thinking and emotions that result into prohibited behaviours (Gaudin, 2004). The main challenging behaviours that are common among Saudi Arabian children are temper tantrums, arguments, telling lies, engaging in fights, stealing and attacking his colleagues . Occasionally, it has been observed that all children will engage in this kind of behaviour at some point but the prevalence and severity of these behaviours can be regarded as clinical disorder s or behavioural disorder . The government of Saudi Arabia has emphasized on examination of this kind of behaviour by encouraging examination of emotional and behavioural disorders of children in preschool age as well as across the nation (Campbell, 2006). This has been attempted by scrutinizing schools by simple approaches that do not consider complexity of interactions that result into challenging behaviours. According to this paper, it is possible to understand student behaviour as developmental result that comes as a result of interactions with a number of complex environments (Saudi medical journal, 1979). One of the approaches that has been used in managing challenging behaviours in Saudi Arabia is the Behavioural model System together with Positive Behavioural Support intervention to ensure there a reduced behavioural interruptions in classrooms. This is targeted towards enhancing quality of life for children and assisting their support providers at home, school or community environment.

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