The Pupil Control Ideology (PCI) concept has been used extensively to describe the school organization. Teachers hate been described as either “custodial” or “humanistic” in their belief orientation to control of pupils. But clarification of the nature of pupil control and the teacher attitudes which lie at the base of control, has not been investigated adequately. The first section of the present investigation indicates the attitudes of teachers which are associated with high levels of custodialism. These attitudes include emphasis on, content to be taught, teacher direction, rigid classroom procedures and social disengagement from pupils. The second part of the study shows that while operational measures of control may be similar, attitudes underlying control may differ. In schools serving higher socio‐economic communities, teachers exhibit an “emotional disengagement—non‐teacher direction” form of ideology. The conclusion is drawn that unless future investigations both identify attitudes and explain the interactions of attitudes of teachers in each school system, Pupil Control Ideology may be an inadequate descriptor of the school as a social system.
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