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Interpersonal perception in the classroom : students’ self-perceptions and interpretations of their teacher’s perceptions about them in two fourth-grade classes

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Interpersonal perception in the classroom : students’ self-perceptions and interpretations of their teacher’s perceptions about them in two fourth-grade classes
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Zygouris-Coe, Vassiliki
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Self perception ( jstor )
Social interaction ( jstor )
Social perception ( jstor )
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INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS' SELF-
PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THEIR TEACHER'S
PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THEM IN TWO FOURTH-GRADE CLASSES













BY

VASSILIKI ZYGOURIS-COE


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1997






























Copyright 1997


by


Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe















For my husband, Michael Douglas Coe, who is the wind
beneath my wings.










ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I am grateful for a first-rate dissertation committee,

my mentors, all dedicated educators and researchers. I

would like to thank the chair and my advisor, Regina Weade-

Lamme, whose intellectual insight, support, confidence in

me, and encouragement helped my research in general and

this dissertation in particular.

I am also grateful to Dr. Robert R. Sherman, whose

high standards and careful and specific feedback helped

make this dissertation a reality. I would also like to

thank Dr. Kristen M. Kemple, whose input and encouragement

helped me continue to explore children's perspectives, and

Dr. Jin-Wen Y. Hsu, whose insight helped shape the

questions and methodology in this study. I am grateful to

Dr. Jane Townsend, for her careful critique of my

dissertation and for her unfading smile.

I would also like to thank Ms. Naylor (pseudonym) and

Mrs. Cleary (pseudonym), who opened their classrooms to me

and welcomed me as a member. I am especially grateful to

the parents of all the fourth-grade students I worked with,

the students who shared their perspectives with me, and to

the school administration.

I am grateful to Dr. Mary Grace Kantowski, chair of

Instruction and Curriculum, for her genuine interest and

support in this study and in my personal growth. I am also










thankful to all the secretaries in our department who were

always willing to assist me.

I would also like to thank Dr. Edward Turner for

taking the time to talk to me, especially when it was

needed. His support and encouragement helped me deal with

the pressures of completing the dissertation process.

There are many friends and family members I would like

to thank for their help, encouragement, and understanding.

My utmost thanks go to my husband, Michael Coe, whose

patience, support, and understanding gave strength to

complete this project. I am blessed to be the mother of

Rebecca, whose smiles and hugs helped me carry on. I am

grateful to my parents, Ioanni and Evanthia Zygouris, for

their love and to my in-laws, Hazel and Wally Coe for their

moral and financial support, and for believing in me. My

thanks go also to my officemate, Susan Wegmann, who put up

with my piles of paper and long hours with a smile and a

kind word; and my sister-in-law, Demie Zygouris, for her

encouragement through the phone.















TABLE OF CONTENTS




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................... iv

ABSTRACT ................................................ x

LIST OF TABLES ........................................... viii

LIST OF FIGURES ........................................... ix

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION .................................. 1

Statement of the Problem ...................... 3
Purpose of the Study and
Research Questions .......................... 7
Significance of the Study ..................... 8
Definition of Terms ........................... 12
Design of the Study ........................... 16

2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE .................. 18

Students' Perceptions in the Classroom ........ 19
Students' "Voices" in the Classroom ........... 30
Students' Meta-Perceptions .................... 36
Conclusion .................................... 41

3 METHODOLOGY ................................... 42

Introduction .................................. 46
The Setting ................................... 46
Description of Site ...................... 46
Selection of Site ........................ 46
Entry and Access ......................... 47
Participants ............................. 50
Classroom Organization ................... 52
Research Methods .............................. 61
Overview ................................. 61
Methods and Procedures ................... 65
Participant Observation .................. 67
Interviews ............................... 73
Free Responses ........................... 76
















Methodological Limitations ................
Data Analysis ..................................
The Researcher's Role
and Biases ...................................
Issues of Validity and
Reliability ..................................


4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ............................


Introduction .......................................
Students' Self-perceptions .........................
Students' Interpretations
of Teacher's Perceptions .........................
Information Students Used to
Construct Interpretations ........................
Classroom Interactions and
Student Interpretations ..........................
Discussion .........................................


5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .......................

Limitations of the Results .........................
Relationship of Findings
to Previous Research .............................
Implications for Future
Research .........................................
Implications for Educational
Practice .........................................

APPENDICES .........................................

A IRB APPROVAL .............................
B A SAMPLE OF FREE RESPONSES ...............
C A SAMPLE OF DOMAIN ANALYSIS ..............
D SAMPLES OF TAXONOMIC ANALYSIS ............
E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: TEACHERS ............
F INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: STUDENTS ............
G A SAMPLE OF VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTS .........

REFERENCES .........................................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................


vii


79
83

87

92


96


101

112

132
151


165

168

172

176

178

182

182
184
195
203
237
241
245

255
270















LIST OF TABLES


Table paae

3-1 Degrees of Participant Involvement ........... 70

3-2 Strict Inclusion Example ..................... 85

3-3 Domain Analysis Worksheet .................... 85

3-4 Research Questions, Data Collection,
and Analysis ................................. 88

4-1 Content Analysis Comparison: I Think I Am .... 98

4-2 Content Analysis Comparison:
I Think Teacher Thinks I Am .................. 102

4-3 Content Analysis Comparison:
Domain Occurrence ............................ 107

4-4 Content Analysis Comparison:
I Would Like To Know What My Teacher
Thinks Of Me When I .......................... 109

4-5 Sources Of Information Children Used
To Construct Interpretations ................. 113

4-6 Verbal Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations .................... 116

4-7 Written Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations .................... 119

4-8 Non-verbal Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations .................... 122

4-9 Information From Teacher's Practices
Students Used To Construct Interpretations... 125

4-10 Other Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations .................... 127

4-11 What Students Wanted The Teacher To Do ...... 129


viii

















LIST OF FIGURES




1 Floor Plan of Classroom A.......................54

2 Floor Plan of Classroom B ..................... 55


3 Ethnographic Questions ........................ 63

4 Commnunity Bulletin Board Message .............. 153

5 School Rules .................................. 155

6 Teacher's Flag Rules .......................... 155

7 Rules To Play By .............................. 156

8 How Students Can Get What They Want
From The Teacher .............................. 156

9 What Does Not Work With The Teacher ........... 157

10 How To Treat Others ........................... 160











Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS'
SELF-PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THEIR TEACHER'S
PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THEM IN TWO FOURTH-GRADE CLASSES

By

Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe

December 1997


Chair: Dr. Regina Weade-Lamme
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum


The purpose of this study was to investigate how

children perceived themselves and interpreted their

teacher's perceptions about them in class. The researcher

assumed a social-interaction perspective that views the

development of self through social interactions. The study

focused on four questions:

1. What is the content of students' self-
perceptions?

2. What is the content of students' interpretations
of their teacher's perceptions about them in
class?

3. What kinds of information did students use to
construct their interpretations?

4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in
class?











Qualitative research methods were used to collect and

analyze the data. The researcher used a methodological

triangulation to better examine students' perceptions.

Students wrote free responses about themselves and what

their teacher thought of them. Formal and informal

interviews were conducted with 21 out of the 60

participating children. Classroom observations were

conducted over a period of five months.

Taxonomic and content analysis revealed the following:

1. Children perceived themselves differently
from what they thought their teacher thought of
them.

2. Children lacked information in what their
teacher thought about them, especially in areas
in which they did not have feedback.

3. Children used their classroom interactions and
experiences with the teacher as the sources of
information for their interpretations.


The results suggested that in order for teachers to

create and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships in

their classrooms, they need to provide students with

specific feedback about their personal, social, and

academic progress.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION



When people interact with others, they see what

others do and hear what others say in various social

situations. People select, organize, and interpret

information about themselves and others; they construct and

co-construct perceptions and assign meanings. People

connect new information with previous knowledge, focus on

what and who interests them, and create new understandings

about themselves and others.

Interpersonal perception is largely an internal

process; people cognitively process socially constructed

roles and meanings. Interpersonal perception is a process

of individual meaning-making with its content, steps, and

outcomes varying within different individuals and contexts.

Human behavior is an outcome of how people see themselves

and their experiences. Although this may be seen as

obvious, the failure of people to understand it is

responsible for much human misunderstanding, conflict, and

even loneliness (Combs, Avila, & Purkey, 1978).











How students perceive, organize, and interpret their

classroom experiences with their teachers and the social

world in which they live is an integral part of the

learning process (Brookover, Thomas, & Patterson, 1964;

Andrade, 1995). Studying how experiences involving oneself

and others seem to a student through the "eyes" of that

student, and the intersubjective perspective of the

student's own experience, will help researchers and

educators to better understand the process of interpersonal

perception (Combs, Avila, & Purkey, 1978).

Through daily classroom interactions and school

experiences, as well as interactions with oneself, students

develop a conception of personal existence; next to the

home, schools probably have the single greatest influence

on how students perceive themselves and their abilities

(Purkey & Novak, 1996).

How adults--and children--perceive themselves and how

they think others perceive them may influence the views

they construct about themselves and, as a consequence,

their social interactions with others (Hansford, 1988).

The way people construct reality is fundamental to the way

they perceive themselves. What people think of each other

is a strong influence in virtually every area of their

lives (Mead, 1934). People often act in response to what

they believe is other people's attitude toward them and











often fall into the role they feel others assign to them.

Each person looks at an interpersonal relationship in two

ways: (a) how he/she perceives the relationship and (b) how

he/she thinks the other person sees the relationship.

This study adopted and adapted a symbolic

interactionist perspective. In this perspective, the

student is viewed not only as a knower of the social world

but also as an actor in it (Cooley, 1902; Mead, 1934).

Accordingly, in this study the student is viewed as not

only the perceiver of social reality but also as a co-

constructor of it. The student is seen as someone who not

only interprets and transforms social experiences but one

who is also transformed by them. Meaning is constructed

and negotiated in the interactions among the members. The

classroom setting is viewed as a culture in which members

construct common knowledge about ways of acting and

interacting with each other, about the social and material

artifacts of their experiences, and about the world around

them.



Statement of the Problem

Research about students' perspectives is a relatively

recent phenomenon and has provided researchers and

educators with valuable information about the importance of

students' perceptions for their development of self,











learning, and overall achievement (Wittrock, 1986).

Students' perceptions have been viewed as mediators of

student learning (Purkey, 1981, 1991; Purkey & Novak, 1996;

Winne & Marx, 1980). Studies have shown that teaching can

be better understood and improved by knowing its effects

upon the learner's thoughts that mediate achievement

(Stipek, 1981).

Although investigations into the opinions and

perceptions of teachers hold a predominant place in

educational research (Cohen & Manion, 1981), how students

perceive their teacher's perceptions about them has tended

to be ignored. Much research evidence exists on what

students think about school (Woods, 1979), learning

(Weinstein, 1983), schoolwork (Woods, 1976b), teachers

(Prentiss, 1995), student teachers (Cortis & Grayson, 1976;

Prentiss, 1995), and others (Livesley & Bromley, 1973). On

the other hand, research evidence is missing on what may be

a vital factor in student learning--academic and social--

and teaching. Research is missing on students' "meta-

perceptions": on what children think their teacher thinks

of them as a student in the social setting of the

classroom.

How students generate and construct meaning from

their experiences with the teacher in the social setting of

the classroom may mediate the development of students'











self-perceptions, identity, present and future classroom

interactions with the teacher, and students' learning and

success in school. These interpretations, referred to as

"meta-perceptions" (Kenny, 1994) or "reflected appraisals"

(Blumer, 1969) may function as a filter through which any

information about oneself, one's abilities, and learning is

processed. Such a filter may mediate students' personal,

interpersonal, academic, and social development.

If students entered the classroom as tabula rasas,

there would not be a need to invest time and energy

examining how they perceive their experiences with the

teacher in the classroom. However, students enter school

with well-defined perceptions of self, others, and school

life (Stipek & Hoffman, 1980b). In their daily

interactions with their teachers they define and redefine,

shape and reshape, reject old and construct new ideas about

oneself, others, and learning.

Everything the teacher does as well as the manner in
which he does it invites the child to respond in some
way or another and each response tends to set the
child's attitude in some way or another. (Dewey, 1933,
p.59)

Students use their perceptions and interpretations in

an unrelenting struggle to make sense of their world. These

perceptions influence their interpretations of and reaction

to classroom experiences. As long as students and teachers

have sufficient knowledge of each other's perceptions,











communication and interpersonal relationships take place

smoothly. However, an incongruity in perceived

perspectives may interfere with a student's personal

growth, classroom interactions, participation in classroom

activities, and overall learning. Incongruity between

teachers' and students' meanings is of immense importance

to the educational process (Sainsbury, 1992).

The problem this study addresses is the lack of

information about how students make sense out of their

classroom interactions with their teachers. Academic,

social, and interpersonal learning is not created in

isolation but through relationships, and students'

interpretations of what their teacher thinks of them could

affect their communication and interactions with the

teacher and their overall success in school. As a society,

we want our children to develop personally,

interpersonally, socially, and academically so they can

function as successful citizens. Of the 52 million children

enrolled in U.S. primary and secondary schools, millions

are at risk for failing to reach their educational

potential (Schneider, 1995). Not only does the U. S.

educational system fail to reach large numbers of American

children, but it fails to meet the needs of our nation (A

Nation at Risk, 1983). In order for children to grow and

learn successfully, they need to have enough information on











what their significant others think of them in various

situations.

If researchers and educators are to help all students

succeed, both academically and socially, in school, they

need to realize that it is necessary to understand

students' perceptual worlds and perspectives. Many times

the problems adults have with children stem from failing to

check children's perceptions (Karns, 1994). Students'

perspectives should not be disregarded: they supply the

bedrock for meaning, building of self, behavior, and

learning (Purkey, 1996; Taylor, 1993). Dewey (1938)

recommended that researchers and educators need to know

more about how students experience education and how they

reflect on that experience.


Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to identify how students

perceived themselves and how they perceived their teacher's

perceptions about them. This study used a symbolic

interactionist perspective that views the development of

self through daily emic, or intersubjective, social

interactions with significant others in our world. The

following research questions were examined:

1. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
themselves? What is the content of their self-
perceptions?











2. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
their teacher's perceptions about them? What is
the content of their interpretations?

3. What kind of information do fourth-grade
students use to form interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them in class?

4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in class?



Questions one and two reveal information about the

similarities or differences between students' self-

perceptions and their interpretations of the teacher's

perceptions about them. The third question provides

information about what elements students select from daily

classroom interactions with the teacher, how they organize

that information, and how they use it. The fourth question

offers insight about the ways students' interpretations

relate to their classroom interactions with the teacher.



Significance of the Study

Unlike much research in interpersonal perception that

focuses on children's self-perceptions, the focus of this

study was on how children perceive themselves and form

interpretations about what their teacher thinks of them in

actual, naturalistic classroom settings. The results of

the study may offer useful information about what elements

of their classroom experiences children select to form such

interpretations that in the long run could affect their











self-perceptions, behavior, and learning. A student's

perceptions of what the teacher might think of him/her will

not necessarily cause the student to misbehave in the

classroom, but they might serve as a reference point or an

anchoring perception, for his/her self-perceptions and

behavior (Marsh, 1986).

Classrooms are extremely complex and dynamic contexts

in which students and teachers construct and co-construct

perceptions about themselves and others. Better

understanding of how students perceive and interpret their

experiences with the teacher in the classroom may prove to

be a significant mediating variable that will help

educators understand a child's behavior--academic,

social--in the classroom.

The present study can yield a number of contributions

to both research and practice in the area of interpersonal

perception. Findings from this study could extend the body

of knowledge in children's interpersonal perceptions and

may support the usefulness of symbolic interactionism in

understanding children's interpersonal perceptions.

For researchers this study might have theoretical

significance in that it will illustrate in detail how nine-

to ten-year-old students perceive their experiences with a

significant other--their classroom teacher--in everyday

interactions. It could help develop a system for











explaining the processes by which children construct

interpretations of their teachers' perceptions by

specifying constructs and possible relationships between

and among those constructs.

The study of social processes in classrooms is

important because: (a) teacher-student relationships are

important mediators of the academic outcomes of schooling

(Hansford, 1988) and (b) the school experience itself may

have significant social outcomes that influence students'

self-perceptions and their interactions with others inside

and outside the school setting (Levine & Wang, 1983).

In addition, this study might show whether students

have a generalized or specific view of how the teacher sees

them and whether this view changes over time (Levine &

Wang, 1983). The results from this study could serve to

highlight variables that can stimulate further research by

researchers who are interested in developing ways that

educators can use to have a positive influence on the

personal, academic, and social development of their

students (Good & Brophy, 1994). Methodologically, this

study might illustrate the usefulness of qualitative

methods in the study of children's perceptions.

Understanding children's perceptions and interpretations of

their experiences with teachers might help us understand











children's responses to teachers and the formation of their

views of interpersonal relationships.

Findings from this study may also be of value to

practitioners. The detailed descriptions of the classroom

settings might increase teachers' awareness of the

importance and capability of students' interpretations of

their classroom experiences with their teachers. It could

also increase teachers' awareness of the need to study

students' views in order to better understand how they

select, organize, interpret, and use their social

experiences with their teachers. Attention to the

students' perceptions could lead to better instruction and

interactions, and even help correct and prevent

misunderstandings between students and their teacher in

class.

Finally, it could help teachers to not underestimate

the immense potential of students to actively participate

in the construction of their own learning experiences.

This study may illustrate the importance of understanding

how experiences are seen from the student's perspective.

The results of this study might help teachers better

understand how their interactions with their students are

being received, interpreted and acted upon (Egan, 1990;

Gordon, 1974). Patterson and Purkey (1993) suggest that











such understanding should be a major goal of teacher

training programs.

In summary, this study could help improve our

understanding of the significance of interpersonal

relationships between students and teachers in elementary

classrooms. Some teachers claim that a major source of

difficulty in their work is relating to their students, and

that once this has been achieved, the academic issues are

relatively simple (Hall & Hall, 1988). Good interpersonal

relationships are "the major condition for learning"

(Patterson, 1973, p.98).


Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, the following terms

need to be defined: perception, interpersonal perception,

self-perception, "meta-perceptions" (or "reflected

appraisals"), and symbolic interactionism.

Perception is a fundamental aspect of interpersonal

relationships (Wilson et al., 1995). Perception gives

meaning and stability in our relationships because it is a

process through which we select, organize, and interpret

what is happening around us (Wilson et al., 1995).

Perception is an active, inductive process involving

attention, selection, organization, and interpretation

(Triandis, 1977). Perception refers not only to the











"seeing" but also to the "meaning" or personal significance

of classroom experiences for the student experiencing them.

A study of these meanings may reveal students, beliefs,

values, desires, and personal ways in which they perceive

themselves and what their teacher thinks of them in the

classroom (Combs, 1978).

Interpersonal perception is the process of perceiving

and evaluating others in a context in which people are

interacting (Kenny, 1994). It involves not only how people

perceive themselves and others in social interactions, but

also how people think others perceive them.

Self- Derceptions are thoughts, beliefs, and feelings

about self, others, and events. In the past, research in

this area was based predominantly on behavioral theories,

environmental stimuli, and reinforcement theory as

influences of behavior (Schunk & Meece, 1992). Current

cognitive theories of learning assume that students are

active rather than passive processors of information and

knowledge and that there is no automatic relation between

information presented and how it is perceived by students

(Schunk & Meece, 1992). Self-perceptions involve

perceptions of one's abilities, goals, efforts, interests,

attitudes, values, and emotions (Schunk & Meece, 1992).

Self-perceptions are a complex, continuously active system

of subjective beliefs about one's personal existence.











Self-perceptions guide one's behavior and choice of roles

in life (Purkey & Novak, 1996).

"Meta-perceptions" (Kenny, 1994)--or "reflected

appraisals,"--according to symbolic interactionists (e.g.,

Blumer, 1969)--are the perceptions of another person's

perception; they refer to people trying to "get into other

people's heads" (Kenny, 1994). In this study, students'

"meta-perceptions" will be examined through symbolic

interactionism (Blumer, 1969; Cooley, 1902; Mead, 1934),

which proposes that our very selves are an outcome of

material components, our perceptions of how others view us,

and inner psychological mechanisms (Shrauger & Schoeneman,

1979). According to this perspective, the self is a social

product of a person's interactions with others. The self

is a function of a person's manipulation of the social

environment and a function of the way in which a person is

treated by others (Mead, 1934).

The premise of this perspective is that people care

about how they are viewed by significant others.

"Significant others" are people such as, parents, teachers,

coaches, and peers who are close to a person and whose

views and actions matter to him/her (Mead, 1934). Although

there are expected variations in the vigor of people's

desire to know what others think about them, symbolic

interactionists assume that meta-perceptions are usually






15




accurate (Kinch, 1963). Kinch (1963) suggested that a

symbolic interactionist self-theory involves the

interaction of four components: (a) one's self-concept; (b)

one's perceptions of others' attitudes and responses toward

the individual; (c) the actual attitudes and responses of

others toward the individual; and (d) one's actual

behavior.

This study is not concerned with degree of accuracy in

children's "meta-perceptions"/Oreflected appraisals," but

rather with how children form "meta-perceptions" from and

in their daily classroom interactions with one of their

significant others--their teacher.

Symbolic interactionism supporters (e.g., Mead,

1934) would suggest that people's perceptions of

experiences depend on the meaning they assign to them.

Meaning is a product of social interaction. In order to

understand someone's reality, it is necessary to understand

the symbol system he/she uses and the meaning those symbols

have for the him or her. Reality in the classroom could be

seen as having three aspects: (a) the outside world (e.g.,

society); (b) the inner world (e.g., teachers' and

students' inner world); and (c) a shared symbolic world of

beliefs, experiences, and meanings constructed and

sustained through social interactions.











In order to understand the symbolic world of the

classroom, we should consider that teachers' and students'

actions are based on the meaning they assign to classroom

life. Meaning is fundamentally intersubjective; therefore,

in order for researchers to understand how students

perceive themselves and the teachers' perceptions of them

in class, their construction of meaning and their

perspectives need to be examined.


Design of the Study

Having received approval from the University of

Florida Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, the

researcher established a monthly observation schedule with

the two fourth-grade teachers who had previously agreed to

have the study take place in their classrooms.

Observations began in September, 1996 and continued in the

classroom until the December vacation. Interviews were

completed in January, 1997. The researcher observed 190

hours of classroom activity in the two fourth-grade

classrooms. Observations were centered on how children

interacted with the teacher in their classroom, how they

behaved in and responded to classroom events, and comments

they made about themselves, the teacher, and classroom

events. All children in the participating classrooms wrote

free responses four times per month about their self-












perceptions and how they thought their teacher perceived

them in class.

Three formal interviews with 21 children (13 from one

classroom and eight from the other) and three formal and

several informal interviews with the two teachers were

conducted during the term of the study. Interviews with

students were used to further investigate the process of

meta-perception: how students perceived their teacher's

perceptions about them in class. Interviews with the two

teachers were used to investigate how they provided

information to their students about what they thought of

them in class. In addition, students' school records were

examined.

Data were analyzed for content and were organized into

domains (Spradley, 1980). Using data from across domains

helped to formulate taxonomies to represent patterns,

similarities, and differences in students' self-perceptions

and meta-perceptions.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE



Putting together a literature review about students'

self-perceptions and "meta-perceptions" is a continuing

challenge, for few researchers have focused on this

phenomenon, particularly as it evolves in classroom

settings. The following literature review offers necessary

background for the research questions raised in this study.

The review focuses on studies of students' perceptions in

the classroom, students' voices in the classroom, and

students' meta-perceptions.

Why do people behave in different ways? Combs (1962)

explains human behavior as a product of how people see

themselves, the situations they are involved in, and the

meaning or personal significance that situation has for the

person experiencing it. Meanings extend far beyond the

sensory experience and include such perceptions as beliefs,

desires, feelings, values, interests, and the personal ways

in which people "see" themselves and others around them

(Combs, 1962). Following this perceptual perspective,

Purkey (1981) explains that:










Each person is a conscious agent who considers,
constructs, interprets, and then acts. .. All
behavior is a function of the individual's perceived
world. .. A person's behavior makes sense from the
"internal' view of the experiencing person. (p.17)

To understand human behavior one must make sense of

how things appear from the unique point of the individual

at the moment of behaving (Purkey, 1996). Perceptions are

important in understanding human behavior as they refer to

the distinctions people are able to make in their personal

experiences (Purkey, 1996). Perceptions change over time.

Through daily encounters with others, and especially with

significant others, people construct certain essential

perceptions that serve as guiding filters for making sense

of the world. Purkey (1996) views perceptions as:

reference points for behavior. They influence the
memories people use to understand the past and plan
the future. They also affect the possibilities that
people can imagine and the goals they are willing to
work for. (p.23)


Students' Perceptions in the Classroom

Researchers recently have investigated student

perceptions to determine their relation to teaching and

student behaviors (Brophy & Good, 1986), but historically

student perceptions have received little research

attention. Lately, researchers and educators have been

making systematic efforts to understand students' role in

research. The problems associated with inviting students

to play a more focal role are authenticity, legitimacy, and











and authority (Denzin & Lincoln, 1993) and the ethical

relationships between researchers and their participants

(Lincoln, 1993).

The third edition of the Handbook of Research in

Teaching (Wittrock, 1986) contains a chapter on students'

thought processes, a new addition to this volume of

educational research. Research shows that student

perceptions can mediate the relationship of teacher

behaviors to student achievement. This chapter includes

many studies on students' thought processes that emphasize

the need for understanding how students learn how to learn

and how they can be taught to improve their thought

processes to facilitate knowledge acquisition, learning,

and memory.

The relevance of these studies to this topic lies in

Wittrock's (1986) proposition that "the learner's

perception of the teaching is the functional instruction

that influences student learning and achievement" (p.298).

For the purposes of this literature review, the following

studies were be examined: studies on children's academic

self-perceptions and expectations; self-perceptions of

ability and achievement; perceptions of schools, teachers,

and student teachers; perceptions of school tasks;

perceptions of teachers' communication style; and,











children's perceptions of cognitive processes in the

classroom.

Numerous researchers (Darakjan, Michael, & Knapp-Lee,

1985; Hansford & Hattie, 1982; Harter, 1983; Hattie, 1992)

have demonstrated a modest but positive relationship

between children's self-perceptions and academic

achievement. Researchers consistently demonstrate that

there is a relationship between students' self-evaluations

and their level of academic achievement (Byrne, 1984, 1986;

Chapman, 1988; Harper & Purkey, 1993; Hoge & Renzulli,

1993).

From the early elementary school years, children

perceive their academic performance positively (Stipek,

1981). In the third or fourth-grade, the children's

perceived school performance begins to correlate positively

with their teacher's evaluations of their ability

(Nicholls, 1979). The feedback teachers offer to students

about their academic performance seems to be related to

students' self-perceptions of ability. Wittrock (1986)

suggests that children are not only capable of perceiving

feedback from the teacher about their academic performance,

but their perceptions of teacher feedback seem to influence

their expectations about their future school performances.

Livesley and Bromley (1973) focused on describing, by

means of free descriptions and content analysis, elementary












and adolescent children's perceptions of others. Three

hundred and twenty children (ages 7 to 15) were asked to

write free descriptions about eight people known to them--a

man; a woman; a boy and a girl they liked; and a man, a

woman, a boy and a girl they disliked. The changes in

content were greatest between the ages of 7 and 8 years.

Children under the age of 7 or 8 years described people in

terms of external, readily observable attributes (e.g.,

appearance, life history, and physical condition).

Between the ages of 8 and 12 years there was a rapid

growth in psychological vocabulary (e.g., mutual

interactions, social roles, evaluations, and specific

behavioral inconsistencies). Children's descriptions of

liked persons were less factual than those of disliked

people; more explanatory statements were made about

disliked people possibly because the children were trying

to justify their feelings (Livesley & Bromley, 1973).

This landmark study of children's perceptions of

others provided evidence of the developmental changes in

the way younger and older children perceive and "explain"

behavior. Even young children can explain simple forms of

behavior; it is not until the age of 9 or 10 years that

children are able to use motivational concepts to explain

their perceptions of others' behavior (Livesley & Bromley,

1973).











Another group of researchers (Brattesani, Weinstein, &

Marshall, 1984; Marshall & Weinstein, 1986; Weinstein,

Marshall, Brattesani & Middlestad, 1982; Weinstein,

Marshall, Sharp, & Botkin, 1987; Weinstein & Middlestadt,

1979) have been interested in how students perceive and

interpret teachers' behaviors toward different students in

the classroom. In Weinstein and her colleaques' empirical

work, children report that compared to high achievers, low

achievers receive more negative feedback and teacher

directness, and more messages related to a work and

classroom rule orientation.

Children perceived high achievers as receiving more

attention by the teacher, more opportunities and choice of

activities in the classroom, and higher expectations from

the teachers. One of the most impressive findings of these

studies is that even children in the early elementary

grades believe that teachers treat high and low achievers

differently (Weinstein et al., 1987). Weinstein &

Middlestadt (1979) found that there are differences among

younger (Grade 1-3) and older (Grade 4-6) students,

perceptions of teachers' differential treatment. Younger

students thought that teachers criticized high achievers

more, and older students thought teachers criticized low

achievers more.











The early development and socialization of children's

achievement perceptions have been studied by a number of

researchers (Eccles, Wigfield, Harold, & Blumenfeld, 1991;

Harold et al., 1989; Wigfield et al., 1990). Results from

a three-year cross-sectional study (Grades K, 1, and 3)

show that the relations between students' beliefs and

teachers' beliefs are stronger in the mathematics, reading,

and sports domains (especially at Grade 2 and Grade 4) than

in the social and music domains (Wingfield & Harold, 1992).

In Grade 4 children's beliefs in mathematics and

reading came closer to the teachers' beliefs in those areas

than in the other two grades. This finding verifies

Nicholls' (1979) findings that children's perceptions of

their reading attainment become increasingly highly

correlated with their school grades as they get older.

Wingfield & Harold (1992) suggest the above finding could

be attributed to the fact that teachers at Grade 3 or Grade

4 provide relatively consistent and realistic messages to

children about their performances and children may

incorporate them into their self-perceptions. Another

reason could be that teachers' beliefs have a stronger

impact at this grade level because of children's' shifting

beliefs about ability.

Nicholls (1979, 1984) suggested that children around

the age of ten start to view ability as being more stable












rather than modifiable. The combination of changes in the

nature of children's perceptions of ability, the stronger

relations between children's ability perceptions and actual

performance, and the increased focus on competitive

performance in school may make it likely for children to

internalize the teachers' perceptions and expectations of

them in the middle to upper elementary school years

(Wingfield & Harold, 1992).

Although there is evidence that suggests that

students' self-perceptions are influenced by teachers'

perceptions of them, the studies reported here are

correlational in nature, so causality cannot be implied.

What is needed is research on how students' interpret their

teachers' perceptions about them in daily classroom

interactions. Such research may reveal more information

about how students apply their understanding to a

situation or experience, which in turn may explain the way

they think their teacher thinks of them.

Sainsbury (1992) states that the individual's

perspective constitutes the fundamental prerequisites for

communication. She asserts that it is the responsibility

of the teacher to provide a learning environment in which

misunderstandings are minimized. According to Sainsbury

(1992), if the goal of education is "understanding on the











part of the students, it must be education by means of

meeting of perspectives." (p.114)

Darley and Fazio (1980) discussed how individuals

actively construct and interpret each other's behavior

based on their ongoing social interactions and on

information they might have about each other. They suggest

that individuals make personal or situational inferences to

interpret each other's behavior. If, for example, a

student accepts the teacher's beliefs about him/her, that

student might adjust his/her behavior to reflect the

teacher's beliefs. An interesting question here is "At

what point do children begin to make reasons for theirs and

their teachers' behavior?"

Wingfield and Harold's work (1992) and Weinstein's and

her colleaques' work (Weinstein 1985, 1989) suggest that

"relations between teacher beliefs and student self-

perceptions exist quite early on in elementary school, but

to date we know less about how students actually interpret

the messages they receive from teachers" (Wingfield &

Harold, 1992, p.114). A clearer understanding of the

participants in classroom research can eventually help

those participants to understand each other more fully

(Morine-Dershimer, 1985).

How students perceive their assigned school tasks

influences their motivation to learn and their perceptions












of themselves as learners (Ames, 1992). Marshall (1994),

in her study on children's understanding of academic tasks,

argues that a methodology that unfolds children's

understanding of classroom events (e.g., observations,

interviews) may provide researchers with a new perspective

of how students learn. Such a perspective might help

teachers reflect on their classroom practices (Marshall,

1992). Marshall (1994) calls for more studies of how

children understand their classroom world, more in-depth

studies with a greater number of students, in order to

document in detail potential changes in children's

understanding over time and contexts.

During the past two decades, researchers have paid

increasing attention to students' perceptions of schooling

as a means of evaluating educational efforts and programs

(Klein, Kantor, & Fernie, 1988; Levine & Wang, 1983;

Weinstein, 1983; Wittrock, 1986). Duke (1977) postulated

that students' perceptions of what happens to and around

them in school provide helpful information to researchers

and practitioners.

Lisa Wing (1995) used qualitative methods of

participant observation and in-depth interviews to explore

kindergarten, first and second-grade students' perceptions

of classroom activities such as work and play. Data

indicated that young children negotiate meaning from the











events, situations, and interactions in their classrooms,

and in doing so they form a framework around which they

understand what they do in school.

Wing (1995) observed children in their actual

classrooms for a year and conducted in-depth interviews

with 14 children from each classroom. Constant comparative

method and taxonomic analysis revealed information about

relationships among patterns in children's perceptions of

work and play. This study showed that children considered

activities to be work or play if the activities were

obligatory or not. Work involved any activities that were

designed or directed by teachers. Work also involved any

activities about which teachers had certain expectations of

the outcomes of the children's efforts. Any activity that

required no specific product as an outcome or that the

teacher was not directly involved in was considered to be

play. Any activity that could be abandoned at will was

characterized as play, but the need to finish an activity

was perceived as work.

Older children characterized activities "in between"

working and playing (Wing, 1995). Children's perceptions

were not entirely consistent with those of the researchers

and teachers. Play was not work. Children were able to

pick up subtle messages from the classroom teacher and

context in constructing their views of work and play.











"Work is what you want, play is what I want." (Wing, 1995,

p.243).

Bruno (1995) examined at-risk high school students'

perceptions of school. He found that the students who

participated in his study did not perceive themselves as

being connected to school or society, and that they

perceived their time in school as "doing time" in the

classroom. The findings in his study indicated that at-

risk students preferred nondirected, time-consuming

activities (i.e., hanging out, video games, watching TV,

etc.). An interesting finding in this study is that the

at-risk students showed a lack of recognition and

connectedness between past, present, and future events in

their lives. Students' perceptions of school (i.e., "doing

time") affected not only their attitudes toward school, but

carried implications for their success in school, learning,

and future.

Levy, Wubbels, and Brekelmans (1992) examined the

relationship between characteristics of students and

teachers and their perceptions of teacher communication

style. There was a wide discrepancy between students' and

teachers' perceptions of teacher communication style. In

addition, there was a wide discrepancy between both

students' and teachers' view of reality and teachers'

ideals. Although this study is not directly related to












students' self-perceptions and meta-perceptions, its

findings carry implications about discrepancies between

teacher and student perceptions. These findings stress the

need for studying students' perspectives and including them

as part of teachers' reflective practice.

The studies reviewed in this section have contributed

to our knowledge of the role of students' perceptions in

the classroom. Despite these valuable contributions, and

their view of students' perceptions mediating students'

achievement, there remain questions about the ways in which

students define and assign meaning to their classroom

experiences and their definitions of self and others.



Students' "Voices" in the Classroom

Studies about students' construction of meaning in the

classroom are reviewed in the following section. Evidence

will be presented about students' understanding of gender,

schooling, reading and writing, language and literacy, and

knowledge.

Sociolinguists (Cook-Gumperz 1986; Green & Allexsaht-

Snider, 1990; Green & Bloome, 1983; Green, Kantor, &

Rogers, 1991; Green & Wallat, 1981a; Green & Weade, 1987,

1990; Weade & Green, 1986) have described the complexities

of language and culture in the classroom and have shown

that little is known about how the child as listener












interprets the language of the classroom culture, how

personhood and identity are constructed within and across

particular cultural groups.

Kantor, Davies, Fernie, & Murray (1994) investigated,

both in America and Australia, how children understand what

it means to be gendered, as they also try to fit in the

cultural role of student and peer in preschool classrooms.

Using multiple ethnographic methods (i.e., field notes,

video recordings, and interviews) they found that children

were capable of negotiating their memberships as students,

peers, and gendered persons within their classroom

contexts.

Children became gendered students and peers through

interpreting the "fine print" of daily discourse and

interaction and by the positions made available and taken

up by both adults and children. They were collaborative

and constructive in creating their social worlds (Kantor,

et al., 1994).

The ethnographic approach--adopted and adapted by all

of the above researchers--to the study of students'

perspectives reveal that knowledge in schools is personally

and socially constructed and that learning is fundamentally

a matter of inquiry and interpretation rather than

memorization of facts (Yeager, Floriani, & Green, 1995).











The above studies share a common interest in

understanding students' emic, or insider, views of

schooling and understandings of their worlds (Andrade &

Moll, 1993) and recognize that children's interpretations

of their experiences are valid in and of themselves

(Andrade, 1995). Andrade (1995), in her study of life in

elementary schools, recommends the use of participant

observation and dialogue journals for researchers who wish

to learn from people (Spradley, 1980). She advocates that

children are active agents in the creation of their social

world and states that

we cannot understand adult-child relationships within
the home, school, and community without understanding
the children's community (Andrade, 1995, p.176).


Dahl (1995) observed, listened to, and analyzed inner-

city children's reading and writing in kindergarten and

first grade classrooms in her efforts to understand young

children's early reading and writing experiences in school.

The results of her studies (Dahl, 1993; Dahl & Freppon,

1994; Dahl, Purcell-Gates, & McIntyre, 1989; Purcell-Gates

& Dahl, 1991) show that children connect what they

experience in school with who they think they are: i.e.,

their efforts, knowledge, and things they are interested

in. Her work suggests that researchers and educators

become attentive to what children value as learners and











carefully consider their perspectives "if we are to

genuinely support their learning." (Dahl, 1995).

The Santa Barbara Discourse Group (1992) studied how

students and teachers construct their social worlds in the

classroom. They argue that there is a need for unique

research methodologies that are developed specifically to

address the nature of students' learning processes in the

classroom process. Although their work has focused in the

use of language, literacy, social construction of student

and teacher roles and identity, their efforts to explore

students' "voices" have stimulated research in students'

perspectives of classroom life. The definitions of self

and others that students and teachers construct are

reflected in the process and content of their interactions,

the access to classroom resources, and the goals of the

participants within the interactions (Green, Kantor, &

Rogers, 1990; Collins & Green, 1990).

Denny Taylor (1993) advocates that in order to

construct effective evaluation programs for students and

schools, more research needs to be done to understand

students' perspectives:

To evaluate, we need to build descriptions of children
as they participate in the social construction of
their own environments. The ways in which we develop
our explanations should be analytic and well trained
(Taylor, 1993, p.171).











Taylor (1993) examined a number of elementary school

age children's points of view through participant

observations, children's written stories and analysis of

literature, children's journals, and interviews. She

viewed a child's point of view as a source of knowledge for

key educational decision-making. Her rich observations and

ethnographic portraits of the learners' world provide

support for her argument that designing appropriate

curriculum, instruction, and assessment requires that we

understand the complex ways children construct their own

literacy and learning environments in their everyday

classroom lives.

Taylor (1993) stresses the need to view students as

informants and to intimately know the environments in which

their knowledge is constructed. She calls for inviting

students' perspectives to shape our evaluations of their

performance and education in general and highlights the

point that when examining students' perceptions,

researchers should be concerned not only with how closely

students come to their teacher's actual perceptions of

them, but should be more concerned with how they construct

their perceptions and how they formulate meaningful

classroom experiences.

Lytle and Cochran-Smith (1992) state that it is the

teachers' expertise that creates significant ways of











knowing the particular complexities of their students'

everyday classroom experiences, the ways students

participate in problem solving situations, and how their

students' learning can be supported in school. Through

their social interactions, teachers and students construct

classroom life and opportunities for academic and

interpersonal learning (Bloome & Greene, 1984; Cochran-

Smith, 1984).

Students and teachers negotiate what counts as

knowledge--subject, interpersonal, social--in the classroom

and how knowledge is generated, challenged, and evaluated

(Cochran-Smith, 1993). If researchers and educators are to

better understand how students' ideas about self, others,

and learning are constructed in school, they need to be

examining students' learning and their social world from

within and across the student's individual and shared

perspectives (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1992; Taylor, 1991,

1993).

An interesting question arises as a result of the

above perspective and findings: "How is a researcher

supposed to intimately know the perspective and world of a

learner unless that researcher observes, participates in,

and asks the learner to express--verbally or in written

form--his/her view of the everyday classroom world?"

Taylor (1991) states that "If we really want to know about











the children in our classrooms, ethnographic observations

in classrooms can tell us more than any test." (p.18)

Sociolinguistic research has helped make visible the

ways that communities of learners socially construct

understandings. The above research has shown that learning

from students' voices is not just a matter of handing a

student a survey and asking him/her to fill it in.

Learning from our student voices--in the fullest
sense-- requires major shifts on the part of teachers,
students, and researchers in the ways of thinking and
feeling about the issues of knowledge, language, and
power (Oldfather, 1995, p.87).

The studies reviewed in this section have contributed

to our knowledge of children's construction of meaning and

knowledge and have directed and stimulated much needed

naturalistic research on students' perspectives. Despite

their valuable contributions, there remain some gaps in our

understanding of how students assign meaning and interpret

their daily classroom experiences with their teachers.



Students' Meta-Perceptions

A final group of recent --and some not so recent--

studies are reviewed in this section to address the issue

of students' interpretations of their teachers' perceptions

of them. Evidence is presented about studies of students'

perceptions of teachers' feelings about them, students'

perceptions of teachers' evaluations and teachers' actual











evaluations, and students' self-concept of ability and

perceived evaluations of others.

What do others think of us? How do we know? When

people form an opinion about what others think of them, are

they likely to be right? How do their interpretations of

others' perceptions relate to their own self-perceptions?

The question of whether people know how others view them

has been of importance in clinical psychology, personality

psychology, social psychology, and sociology (Kenny, 1994).

In sociology, the symbolic interactionist approach

(Cooley 1902; Mead, 1934) proposes that our very selves are

an outcome of our perceptions of how others view us.

Cooley (1902) introduced the term "looking-glass self" to

describe the process by which a person looks into the eyes

and minds of significant others and imagines how they view

him/her.

Symbolic interactionists assume that "meta-

perceptions"-- or "reflected appraisals"--are usually

accurate (Kenny, 1994). Evidence from clinical psychology

shows that depressed individuals are "right on target" with

their insistence that others do not like them (Lewinsohn et

al., 1980). Pozo, Carver, Wellens, & Scheier, (1991) have

shown that socially anxious people think that others take

an especially dim view of them.











When examining meta-perceptions, it is important to

consider that what others think of us is not always

available or clear. In sharing our views of others with

others, sometimes people are reluctant to convey bad news

(Swann, Stein-Seroussi & McNulty, 1992) or good news

(Felson, 1980). Moreover, some people may wish to see in

others what makes them feel good about themselves (Swann,

1990).

Given the difficulty of monitoring and accurately

assessing others' views of people in social interactions,

people may use other sources of information to form "meta-

perceptions". Felson (1981, 1992) has suggested that

people may observe their own behavior, form their own

judgments about their own behavior, and assume that others

would judge that behavior as they do.

Kenny and DePaulo's study (1990) showed that there was

a strong positive correlation between how subjects viewed

themselves and how they thought others saw them. This

implies that people's perceptions of how others perceive

them are based primarily on their self-perceptions. This

is opposite of what the symbolic interactionists suggest.

They postulate that self-perceptions are products of the

beliefs about how the self is viewed by significant others;

self-perceptions are the reflection of what one "sees" in

other people's eyes.











The above studies suggest that people form

interpretations about others' views about them by depending

very little on feedback from others. Instead, they

directly observe their behavior and infer from it what

others might be thinking of them. According to Kenny

(1995), "symbolic interactionists have the direction of

causality exactly wrong, at least for adults." (p.176)

What are the implications of the above studies for

children and their meta-perception process? How about the

role of significant others and their views of children on

children's development of self? To take it a step farther,

how are self-perceptions developed? Are they developed in

isolation? Should researchers be more concerned with

accuracy rather than identifying the ways in which children

view others' perceptions of them and the implications of

their meta-perceptions for their personal, interpersonal,

academic, and social development?

The results of the preceding studies are not

generalizable to elementary school settings, for the

subjects in the reported studies were college

undergraduates. Work with other populations in a variety

of contexts may help researchers to learn if people know

what kinds of perceptions others form of them. Children

rely on parents, teachers, and others for feedback and

direction. How children interpret their significant











others' perceptions of them may help us improve student

learning and help students create positive identities.

Davidson and Lang (1960) examined the relationship

between fourth-grade through sixth-grade students'

perceptions of their teachers' feelings toward them and

students' self-perception, academic achievement, and

classroom behavior. A significant positive relationship

(r=.82) between children's perceptions of their teachers'

feelings towards them and their self-perceptions was

reported. Phillips (1963) reported a close correspondence

between third-through sixth-grade students' perceptions of

their teachers' evaluations about them and the students'

self-evaluations (there was no correspondence for third

grade students and r=.57 for sixth grade students).

Brookover, Thomas, and Patterson (1964) showed that

students' self-concept of ability was significantly and

positively related with students' perceived evaluations of

their teachers perceptions about them.

On the other hand, another set of studies (Miyamoto &

Dornbush, 1956; Orpen & Bush, 1974; Quarantelli & Cooper,

1966; Sherwood, 1965; Walhood & Klopfer, 1971) suggest that

there is a minimum association between one's self-

perceptions and perceptions of others' evaluations because

people do not perceive others' perceptions accurately.

Calsyn and Kenny (1973) examined the relationship between











self-concept of ability and perceived evaluations of

others. They reported that there is no evidence that

perceived evaluations of others are causally predominant

over self-concept of ability. Instead, the actual

evaluations made by teachers are causally predominant over

perceived evaluations of others, self-concept of ability,

educational plans, and aspirations.



Conclusion

Although the studies reviewed in this chapter provide

evidence about the role of students' interpretations of

their teachers' perceptions about them for students' self-

perceptions, there are a number of questions that still

remain unanswered. How do students construct their

interpretations of the teacher's perceptions about them?

What elements from their daily classroom interactions do

they select and how do they organize them to form an

interpretation? Do their interpretations affect their

classroom interactions with the teacher? If yes, how do

students' interpretations relate to their interactions with

the teacher in the social setting of the classroom?

The present study attempts to answer some of the above

questions by examining how fourth-grade students perceive

themselves and interpret their teachers' perceptions about

them in the class.















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY


Introduction

If one wishes to understand the term holy water,
one should not study the properties of water,
but rather the assumptions and beliefs of the
people who use it. That is, water derives its
meaning from those who attribute a special
essence to it.
Thomas S. Szasz, Ceremonial Chemistry (in
Krawthwohl, 1993, p. 311)



The word qualitative implies an emphasis on processes

and meanings that are not strictly examined or measured (if

measured at all) in terms of quantity, frequency, or

intensity. Qualitative research involves an interpretive,

naturalistic approach to understanding phenomena,

experiences, and meanings in individuals' lives (Denzin &

Lincoln, 1994; LeCompte, Millroy, & Preissle, 1992).

Qualitative researchers study things in their natural

settings, attempting to interpret phenomena in terms of the

meanings people bring to them. They pursue answers to

questions that emphasize how people's social experiences

are created and assigned meaning. This is in contrast to

quantitative research which stresses the measurement and











analysis of causal relationships between variables, not

processes (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994).

Guba (1990) argues that reality can never be

adequately understood or captured, only approximated

through multiple methods and well-developed evaluation

criteria. This kind of research is naturalistic,

observational, descriptive, open-ended, and in-depth

research. Why do such research to investigate students'

self-perceptions and interpretations of their teachers'

perceptions about them in the social setting of the

classroom? Such research will enable the researcher to

examine the inner experiences, perspectives, perceptions,

and interpretations of fourth-grade children, from the

point of view of the children, in their actual social

classroom settings.

In this study the researcher adopted and adapted a

symbolic interactionist perspective grounded in Blumer's

(1969) symbolic interactionism theory. Mead's work (1934)

was made popular by Blumer, who first constructed the term

"symbolic interactionism" in 1937. Blumer (1969) stated

three main principles: (a) people act toward things on the

basis of the meanings that those things have for them, (b)

the attribution of meaning to objects through symbols

(i.e., signs, language, gestures, or anything that conveys

meaning) is a continuous process, and (c) meaning is











of human lived experience, and posits that lived experience

is rooted in people's shared, intersubjective meanings,

interpretations, actions, and interactions (Blumer, 1969;

Mead, 1934; Prus, 1996).

Central to this approach is the notion that human life

is community life; it is intersubjective life in essence,

and it cannot be understood apart from the community or

context in which people live and operate on a daily basis

(Prus, 1996). People's intersubjective realities are

constructed in social interactions through the individuals'

actions, perceptions, interpretations, and symbolic

meanings. People become reflective through interaction

with others and by taking the viewpoint of others with

respect to oneself (Prus, 1996).

Following Janesick's (1994) criteria for qualitative

design, this study was qualitative in the following ways:

(1) It was holistic: it looked at the larger picture

(children's personal and interpersonal development in

school) and started with a search for understanding of the

whole (child-school). (2) It looked at relationships within

the social setting of the classroom (e.g., students' self-

perceptions and their interpretations of teacher's

perceptions about them). (3) It focused on the personal,

face-to-face experiences (i.e., children's personal

interpretations of their daily classroom interactions with











the teacher). (4) It focused on understanding (rather than

predicting about) the social setting of two fourth-grade

classrooms. (5) It demanded the study of settings and their

participants over time. (6) It required equal amounts of

time and effort spent in the field and on analyzing the

data. (7) It required the researcher to become the research

instrument by observing and interviewing the participants.

(8) It incorporated ethical principles and informed consent

decisions. (9) It required ongoing analyses of the data.

(10) It required the researcher to acknowledge her role,

personal biases, and ideological preferences.

The primary focus of this study was to learn from

fourth-grade students how they perceive themselves and how

they interpret their teacher's perceptions about them in

class. In order to learn from them, the researcher

observed what they did (cultural behavior), listened to

what they said (cultural knowledge), collected their

written free responses (cultural artifacts), and went

beyond all these to discover what meaning they assigned to

their classroom experiences with the teacher (Spradley,

1980).











The Setting

Description of Site

The study was conducted in two fourth-grade elementary

classrooms in a fairly large city in Florida. The school

was established in 1934 and was located in a working class

area. The 334 member student body was 69% Caucasian, 21%

African-American, 7% Hispanic, and 3% other. The school

population represented families from the lower to the upper

socio-economic groups.

In the school there were two classrooms each for

grades three through five, five for primary grades (first

grade and second grade combined), two for kindergarten, and

one pre-kindergarten classroom. Aside from self-contained

classroom teachers, there were also an art teacher, a music

teacher, a counselor, a curriculum specialist, a gifted and

academic resource teacher, a science teacher, a physical

education teacher, and a speech therapist. In addition to

classrooms, the physical facilities included a gymnasium;

an auditorium; a library; an art, music, and science room;

and a lunchroom/cafeteria.



Selection of Site

This study was conducted in two fourth-grade

classrooms. The selection of the classrooms was guided by

several criteria that reflected this project's objectives.











The criteria for classroom selection were as follows: (a)

two fourth-grade classrooms were chosen for purposes of

comparison. Also, children at the fourth-grade level can

handle abstract information more easily than at earlier

ages (Flavell, et. al, 1968; Piaget, 1970), are able to

take the perspective of the other (Damon, 1977, 1981;

Selman, 1980), have well-developed vocabulary, can go

beyond the information given (Damon, 1977, 1981; Selman,

1980), and the teacher is still an important socialization

agent in their lives (Higgins & Parsons, 1983). (b)

Classrooms in which students would have opportunities to

interact with the teacher in a number of ways throughout

the school day. (c) Teachers who would be comfortable

having a researcher in their classroom for an extensive

amount of time. No preexisting relationship or

acquaintance existed between the researcher and the two

participating teachers.


Entry and Access

Certain ethical research principles were considered in

order to insure the research was conducted in an ethical

manner. These principles involved protection of

participants, especially minors, confidentiality, and

participants' rights and obligations.











The researcher's first step prior to school entry was to

seek approval of the project from the University of Florida

Institutional Review Board. The form along with a copy of

the Teacher Consent Form, Parent Consent Form, and the

Child Assent Script were submitted in June, 1996 to the

Board (see Appendix A). After approval of the project by

the Board, in July 1996, the researcher contacted the

participating school's principal to set an appointment for

an initial meeting.

The meeting took place in August, 1996 at the school.

During the meeting an outline of the project (including a

description, purpose, significance, design, methods,

procedures, and a timeline) were presented to the

principal. In addition to the above, the researcher

explained her reasons for selecting fourth-grade and her

role in the classroom. The principal stated that she would

like both teachers to participate because they work as a

team. The principal was interested in the project and

showed great appreciation for the topic and the proposed

research. The researcher assured the principal that she

and the teachers, as well as the parents of the

participating students, would have access to the study's

findings.

The next step involved the completion and submission

of a similar form developed by the participating elementary











school for official approval of the project. The principal

wished to present the project to the two fourth-grade

teachers herself, and she gave the researcher her informal

permission to conduct the study in the school. The

principal contacted the researcher the following day and

informed her that the teachers were interested in the

project and were willing to have the study take place in

their classrooms. The researcher submitted the proposal

and other paperwork to the school's research office and

made arrangements to meet with each teacher individually.

During the meeting with the teachers the researcher

reviewed the project, its purpose, methodology, and

timeline. The researcher established that she would

observe each classroom for 10 hours each week until the

December holiday and that she would need to do interviews

with some of the children and the teachers. In addition,

the idea of free responses was introduced, and the teachers

suggested that the writing be done during the regular

journal writing time. It was agreed that the free

responses would start toward the end of September and would

end before the December holiday. A tentative schedule was

put together by the researcher, and a detailed monthly

schedule was given to both teachers during the first week

of observations. Teacher consent forms were given to the

teachers. In addition, parent consent letters were given











to the teachers, who sent them home the same week, and

observations began the following week. The teachers

provided the researcher with a weekly classroom schedule.



Participants

Sixty fourth-grade students and two fourth-grade

teachers were the participants in this study. The main

focus of this study was on the students' self-perceptions

and their interpretations of the teachers' perceptions

about them in class. The teachers were also used as

"informants" because of their classroom interactions with

the students and their knowledge of the classroom dynamics.

According to Spradley, "Informants are a source of

information. [Tihe ethnographer [also] hopes to learn to

use the native language in the way the informants do"

(1979, p.25). The teachers provided information on how

they interacted with students and the means they used to

inform the students about their perceptions of them in

class.

The student body of this school reflects the

population of the state of Florida in terms of racial,

ethnic, and income distribution. All 60 students enrolled

in fourth-grade participated in this study. There were 15

girls and 15 boys in each class. There were 18 children

identified as "gifted" who were distributed across the two












classes (10 from class A--seven girls, and three boys, and

eight from class B--three girls and five boys). One boy

from class B received language, speech, and Title 1

services. One boy from class A and two girls from class B

received services for severe learning disabilities, and

four children--a boy and a girl from each class--received

help with remedial work. The above information was

provided by the school's office and was based on results

from standardized testing, intelligence testing, and

diagnostic testing.

The teachers were two females, each with a Master's

degree in Education and four years of teaching experience.

They worked as a team; they planned and developed their

instructional objectives together, wrote parent letters

together, discussed their ideas together, decided on what

books to order and use for literature or mathematics and

borrowed and shared materials and supplies. They were also

actively involved with conferences, curriculum committees,

and presentations.

Their relationship with the researcher was one of

warmth, openness, and trust. The teachers welcomed the

researcher in their classrooms, invited her to come, stay,

or go as she pleased. They made the researcher feel

welcome from the beginning of the study. Many times they

asked the researcher her opinion about things like












welcome from the beginning of the study. Many times they

asked the researcher her opinion about things like

teaching, education in general, or what she thought about

classroom activities. Occasionally, the teachers allowed

the researcher to assist them by copying materials for them

or helping out with classroom parties and festivities.

A full-time female intern was in each class until

November 15. The interns were not asked to participate in

this study because the focus of the study was on what the

students thought their regular classroom thought of them.

The teachers were in charge of their classrooms, and were

present when the interns were teaching. The teachers made

all curriculum and instructional decisions.



Classroom OrQanization

The studied classrooms were adjacent. A small office

separated the two classrooms. This office was used by both

fourth-grade teachers, as well as by the reading specialist

and speech therapist when needed. A telephone, desks, a

computer, and many planning materials were located in that

room. Teachers and academic resource personnel had access

to each fourth-grade classroom through that room. Children

and adults (academic resources personnel, high school and

college student volunteers) frequently passed from one

classroom to the next. Small groups of children who needed












The fourth-grade classrooms were similar in size and

arrangement. For the purposes of this study the researcher

refers to the two social settings as classroom A and

classroom B. As shown in Figures 1 and 2 (see pages 54 and

55), the classrooms were typical of many elementary rooms.

A large dry erase board lined two-thirds of one long wall;

the remainder of the wall was lined by a regular chalkboard

used for posting key information from class discussions

during writer's workshop and Florida history, and graphic

organizers (i.e., KWLs (a type of graphic organizer),

summary grids) on units they studied as a class during

literature time. Both teachers used the dry erase board

for announcements, daily schedules, homework, class goals,

and teaching. Individual cubbie-holes lined both halves of

another wall, while cupboards used to store books, rewards,

and supplies, lined the other half.

One large bulletin board, on which children's work

(e.g., stories, art, literature illustrations) was

displayed, lined half of the third wall in each room. In

classroom A there was a very large world map next to the

bulletin board, and in classroom B, there was a chalkboard

that was used for displaying a Florida state map and

colorful, motivating posters reading. The North side of

each room consisted of large windows. Children sat at

































































Figure 1. Floor Plan of Classroom A.

































































Figure 2. Floor Plan of Classroom B.













individual desks, the organization of which was shifted

many times during the first half of the school year.

The teachers' preferred seating plan consisted of two

to four (Teacher A) and four to six (Teacher B) desks

pushed together to form a rectangular surface. Some

students' desks were grouped and others' desks (seven to

nine) formed a long horseshoe arrangement. Both teachers

used a mixture of seating arrangements to accommodate

individual student needs. The seating arrangements were

determined by group dynamics and teacher and student needs.

The groups were heterogeneously formed in terms of gender,

race, or ability. Their structure was flexible which

allowed the teacher to move students as needed. The

seating plans in both rooms facilitated interactions among

the students.

Although students spent much of their day at their

desks, they worked at other locations too. Students were

placed in different groups (ranging from four to six per

group) for language arts, mathematics, social studies,

games, and art. Sometimes students were allowed to work

outside at the picnic table. Two large, adult size, tables

(one circular and one rectangular) were in the back of each

room. Those tables served as work stations for different












groups or for students who were sent by the teacher to work

alone because of misbehavior.

The aforementioned area of the classroom was known as

the "outer circle," a place where a student could "cool

down," and put himself/herself together before re-joining

the regular class activities. While in "outer circle," a

student would at times take his/her work and complete it

alone. Students at times would complete their work, take

tests, and follow along from those tables; at other times

some students would just sit at the table. The teacher

decided when a student would move from "outer circle" back

to his/her desk and vice versa. At other times children

would go to that area to select a book from the classroom

library, and during recess that area was also used for some

students to catch up with their homework.

In addition, parent volunteers used the "outer circle"

to file students' work and school/teacher announcements in

the student folders. This was usually done on Fridays.

Student volunteers also used it occasionally to work with

children who needed help with their work. The researcher

also was seated in that area of the classroom and moved

only when children needed to use the tables for group work.

In each classroom there was a "time-out" desk located

in the back of the room, approximately six feet behind the

"outer-circle" area, by the back door. Students were sent












to the "time-out" to isolate themselves from the rest of

the class, to think about their behavior, and to write a

letter or apology to whoever else was involved in the

event. A computer station, with three computers and one

printer, was located on one side each classroom. Students

used the computers during writer's workshop to publish

their work, and during recess to play games. Teachers used

the computers to write their own tests, outlines, handouts,

parent letters, for bulletin board messages, and so forth.

Commercially-produced posters and book covers from

different children's books were taped on cupboard doors.

Posters of different sport teams were taped on the windows.

The inside of each room's front door was decorated with

student names and motivational messages in classroom A, and

student names with sports messages in classroom B.

The classroom atmosphere in both rooms was comfortable

and positive. Children were encouraged to interact with

each other, go to the back and work alone when others were

distracting them, pick a book from their classroom

"library" when they had extra time, or help a student in

need. Children were also involved in classroom activities.

They collected or passed out papers, helped the teacher

grade the class's "Mad Minute" sheets (timed mathematics

facts exercises); helped clean the board, hamster cage, and

the classroom; run copies of papers, passed out rewards,











helped others with work; delivered papers to the office;

led the line to the cafeteria, art, music, science,

physical education, and back; took notes about who talked

or misbehaved in line; and, helped run the class meetings.

These job roles and responsibilities were welcomed by the

children who seemed to execute their jobs and

responsibilities carefully. Parents and parent and student

volunteers visited the classrooms from time to time.

To better acquaint the reader with the classrooms'

schedule, a typical day is summarized. The teachers

arrived at school at 7:00 a.m. and from that time until the

children came in at 8:00 a.m., they would talk with each

other, copy papers, work on the computer, and take care of

other school responsibilities. The children lined up

according to grade in the ramp (where most parents dropped

them off) and walked to the classrooms as a group. School

supervision was provided. Many mornings the teachers went

up to the ramp and walked back with their classes.

The daily schedule along with a challenge

(mathematics, language, or geography) were always on the

board prior to the children's arrival. Once students

arrived in class, they put their backpacks in their cubbie-

holes and put their homework assignment sheets along with

their homework in the designated trays behind the teachers'

desks. The teachers took daily attendance and hot lunch











count. The folders were picked up by school personnel.

After the daily school announcements, which were sometimes

broadcast over the loud speaker and other times through

television, the pledge to the flag, and the daily

challenge, the regular class activities begun.

Mathematics was taught on a daily basis, with

mathematics games on Fridays. Social studies was taught on

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.

Art was taught on Friday, physical education in Tuesday and

Thursday, and Music on Wednesday. Fourth-grade had

Language Arts (Spelling, Reading--Literature Groups--,

Writing Workshop) for two and a half hours every day except

Wednesday. Library visits and class meetings were held on

Wednesday, as needed. Little Buddies, an organizational

format in which fourth-graders were paired with younger

children to read a book, took place every other week.

Lunch was from 10:55 a.m. to 11:25 a.m., followed by

recesses (11:25 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The children were

dismissed at 2:30 p.m. and the teachers, usually, did not

leave until 5:00 p.m..












Research Methods

Overview

Students' self-perceptions and interpretations of

their teacher's perceptions about them were explored

through a qualitative and naturalistic research approach.

Spradley (1980) has developed a systematic set of

procedures designed specifically for the exploration of

meaning, called the Developmental Research Seauence. This

particular model follows a cyclical pattern of

investigation: the researcher selects a project, raises

questions, collects data, makes a record, analyzes data,

and writes the report. The sequence of questioning,

collecting, recording and analyzing was repeated throughout

the study. Data analysis was an integral part of the

research cycle.

Questions are the fundamental element of this pattern

of investigation as they direct the process of data

collection. In this study, not only were questions posed

prior to the study, but new questions were formulated

throughout the research period. The researcher began the

study without any precise hypotheses about degree of

relationships, or cause-effect relationships between

students' self-perceptions and their interpretations of

their teacher's perceptions about them in class. Instead,

the researcher formulated some "foreshadowed questions"












(Wolcott, 1987) to direct her investigation. The following

research questions were an outcome of the researcher's

interests, experiences, and theory (Erickson, 1986):


1. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
themselves? What is the content of their self-
perceptions?

2. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
their teacher's perceptions about them? What is
the content of their interpretations?

3. What kind of information do fourth-grade
students use to form interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them in class?

4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in class?



While these questions guided the overall direction of

this study, other questions also were asked during the

course of the research. Descriptive, structural, and

contrast questions led to different kinds of data in the

field. These questions can be thought of as a funnel (see

Figure 3).

Descriptive questions were broad questions used to get

an overview of the classroom settings and what went on in

those settings: i.e., "Who are the children in this

classroom, What do they do, How is the classroom set up?".

These questions enabled the researcher to get an overview

of the two unfamiliar settings.









































































































-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




----------------




----------------








Descriptive








Questions




----------------




----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------




-----------------


.................. Contrast



Structural Questions



Questions


--- -


Figure 3. Ethnographic Questions (Spradley 1980,





p.64)


]-












Structural questions followed after an initial data

analysis to add more depth and focus to previously

identified actions, interactions, patterns of behavior, and

events in the classrooms. For instance, it was found that

some students asked more questions of the teacher during

classroom discussions. A structural question posed by the

researcher was, "How do students get information from the

teacher which they may in turn use to form interpretations

about the teacher's perceptions of them in class?" The

researcher also observed that some children were called on

by the teacher more often than others to participate in

classroom discussions. As a result, the following

structural question was formed "Which students get called

on more often to participate in classroom discussions?".

These and other structural questions were constructed

repeatedly and the search for supporting evidence helped

form even more focused observations, which in turn helped

discover the specifics of every classroom.

After further analysis and repeated observations in

the field, the researcher was able to narrow her

investigation even further to make more selective

observations. Contrast questions were the vehicle for such

observations; they enabled the researcher to look for the

existence of any differences among specific categories.

According to Spradley (1980), this is the stage where












discovered differences are and more focused observations or

talk to informants about these differences is required.

Questions such as "What do you think about my story," or

"Why do I have to re-write this," led to selective

observations in which the researcher analyzed her field

notes and conducted additional observations for differences

in the kinds of information students received from the

teacher when asking the above two questions.


Methods and Procedures

The researcher's goal was to examine and describe (a)

how fourth-grade students perceived themselves, (b) how

they interpreted their teacher's perceptions about them in

class, (c) the kinds of information they used to construct

their perceptions and interpretations, and (d) the nature

of student-teacher classroom interactions. Perceptions are

mental processes and thus are not directly assessed or

easily observed as tangible behaviors. "In-the-head"

analysis of human behavior is beyond our capability

(Taylor, 1993). Because the meanings that individuals

construct are never directly observable, researchers may

infer meanings from observing the behavior of participants

or interview participants directly about the meanings they

ascribe to events or people (McDermott & Roth, 1978;

Morine-Dershimer, 1985).











We have to allow children to become our informants,

get to know them in their actual settings, build adequate

descriptions of their environments, and focus on children's

everyday experiences as they are expressed by the children

themselves (Taylor, 1993).

One of the most challenging tasks in doing research is

the selection of appropriate methods. Choosing methods that

will enable researchers to deal with their problem and

questions effectively is "an act of judgment" (Shulman

1981, p.12). Three methods were used in this study to

collect data: participant observation, interviews, and free

responses. Multiple methods were chosen because they

allowed the researcher to: (a) ask a range of questions

about the participants' perspectives in their actual

classroom settings, (b) examine how students formed

interpersonal perceptions, and (c) not impose restrictions

on the form and expressiveness of the participants'

answers.

Denzin (1970) advocated the use of multiple methods,

or triangulation, which is defined as the "combination of

methodologies in the study of the same phenomena" (Denzin

1970, p.279). The use of multiple methods of data

collection reduces threats to validity in that weaknesses

of one method are offset by strength of another.

Triangulation enables the researcher to collect data that












of one method are offset by strength of another.

Triangulation enables the researcher to collect data that

may explain why data are different or contradictory from

different sources about the same phenomenon. Data

triangulation (the use of a variety of data sources in a

study) and methodological triangulation (the use of

multiple methods to study a phenomenon) were used in this

study.


Participant Observation

Participant observation is the most common data

collection method in qualitative studies. It enables one

to describe what goes on in a setting, who or what is

involved, when, where, and why things happen in social

situations. Jorgensen (1989) states that participant

observation is excellent for studying processes,

relationships among people and events, organization of

events and continuities and patterns in social contexts.

One of the greatest strengths of this method is the ease

through which researchers can gain entree to settings.

Because of its relative unobtrusiveness observation can be

conducted inconspicuously (Webb et al., 1966). Another

strength of participant observation is the minimal

potential for generating observer effects because of the

naturalness of the observer's role and the lack of











noticeably obtrusive of all research techniques (Phillips,

1985).

Participant observation is especially appropriate

when: (a) little is known about a phenomenon; (b) the

research problem is concerned with human meanings and

interactions viewed from the insider's perspective (i.e.,

students' self-perceptions and interpretations of teacher's

perceptions about them in class); (c) the researcher is

able to gain access to an appropriate setting; and (d) the

research problem can be addressed by qualitative data

collected by direct observation and other means relevant to

the studied setting (Jorgensen, 1989).

People make sense of the world around them in their

daily interactions; they give meaning to their experiences

and interact on the basis of these assigned meanings

(Blumer, 1969; Denzin, 1978; Schutz, 1967). The insider's

perspectives are not directly accessible to outsiders, or

non members of a particular social setting. Thus, it is

impossible for a researcher to obtain a well-developed and

elaborate understanding of the participants' perspectives

until the researcher understands the culture in which

meanings are constructed (Hall, 1976; Spradley, 1980).

Participant observation aims to understand, uncover, and

reveal the meanings people use to make sense out of their

everyday lives in their everyday, natural environments.











The methodology of participant observation requires

that the researcher become directly involved in the

participants' lives in order to understand their world from

the standpoint of an insider. Human meaning and

interaction is approached through sympathetic introspection

(Cooley [1930] 1969). Participant involvement may range

from a marginal role to the performance of an insider role.

In this study the researcher's role was overt (with the

knowledge of participants). Blumer (1982) states that the

use of covert (without insider knowledge) observation as a

method is "neither ethically justified, nor practically

necessary" (p.217), and more attention should be given to

access as "overt insider."

Both teachers in this study were aware of the

researcher's purposes, and the students were told, by the

researcher and the teachers, that the researcher wanted to

determine how children think and what are the things they

do in fourth-grade. The researcher's role was described to

the students as "the lady who asks questions and who writes

a lot." Many times during the study the students had to

reminded of the researcher's role and purpose in their

classroom, especially when children would ask the

researcher to help them on assignments. Toward the end of

the study, the teachers occasionally asked the researcher

to help some students, always at the back of the room in













"outer circle," with spelling or homework. Children

usually asked the researcher for help with assignments

during recess and not during the regular classroom

instruction.

The researcher's degree of involvement varied both

with participants and classroom activities. Spradley

(1980) has proposed five types of participation that range

along a continuum of involvement (see Table 3-1):








Table 3-1

Degrees of Participant Involvement.



Non- Passive Moderate Active Complete
Participation Participation Participation Participation Participation
o Researcher Researcher o Researcher Researcher o Researcher
has no does not seeks to seeks to do becomes an
involvement participate balance what other ordinary
with the or interact between being people are participant.
people or the with other an insider doing in
activities people to a and an order to
studied, great extent. outsider, better
Observes and understand
records the culture.
what's going
on (Low
_Involvement). I











The researcher's participation in the two studied

settings was passive (Spradley, 1980). During the first

month of the project, the researcher rarely interacted with

students inside or outside the classroom. She was

stationed by the teachers in the classrooms' "outer circle"

--the outskirts of the room--where she recorded observed

activities.

Participant observers usually keep a log of activities

and experiences, and also written records or tape-record

observations while in the field or shortly after

observations have been completed (Jorgensen, 1989). Action

in the field has been recorded by way of audio, video,

photographic equipment or computers. Researchers have also

used questionnaires, formal or informal interviews, and

document collection along with direct observations (e.g.,

Fine, 1987; Hochschild, 1983; Wallis, 1977). In this

study, the researcher used an audio tape-recorder and hand-

written field notes to record observed activities. She

also used formal and informal interviews and free responses

in order to better understand the participants' perceptions

and interpretations. These strategies will be discussed in

a subsequent section.

Each entry included a date, time, event, setting, and

a detailed description of the activity and the participants

involved. Field notes were kept in a field notebook which











also included the researcher's comments (theoretical,

methodological, personal notes) and reactions to observed

events. Field notes or audio tapes were not shared with

the participants.

The researcher avoided any verbal or non-verbal

communication with the children and ignored those who tried

to get her attention by either staring, smiling at her, or

trying to talk to her while in the classroom. As the study

progressed, the interactions between students and the

researcher increased and the researcher alternated between

remaining at a fixed location and moving around the

classrooms.

Although the earliest observations were targeted

toward a general description of the classrooms and the

participants, the majority of the observations were

directed toward student-teacher interactions and

activities. Although the children were observed

interacting with other teachers (i.e., science teacher, art

teacher, physical education teacher, reading specialist),

the sole focus of the observations was on the interactions

and events involving the "regular" classroom teacher and

the students in their "regular" classroom settings.

The researcher observed (and tape-recorded) 190 hours

of classroom activity over a four-month period in the Fall

of 1996. Each classroom was observed for half a day twice












a week (approximately 10 hours per week) for four months.

The researcher provided the teachers with a monthly

schedule--developed with the teachers--of her visits,

planned activities, and interview schedules. Field notes

were analyzed by the researcher.


Interviews

Formal and informal interviews were used in this study

to get a deeper understanding of the participants'

perspectives (Spradley, 1980). All interviews were audio-

taped and occurred with students and the two teachers.

Eight children from class A (two boys and six girls) and

thirteen children from class B (five boys and 10 girls)

were interviewed. The researcher worked out a schedule

that met each parent's schedule, and the children were

interviewed at three different times (November, December

1996, and January 1997). Interviews with the children were

held during after-school hours in the school library

conference room. Teachers also were interviewed three

times in their respective classrooms after school hours.

Formal interviews employ a structured schedule of

questions that allows the researcher to ask specific

questions in exactly the same way with different

participants. Formal interviews produce a highly uniform

set of data (Jorgensen, 1989). The researcher allowed a











certain flexibility in her interviews in order to allow

children and teachers to clarify, elaborate on their

answers, and even talk about events or things they were

interested in. The interviews took the form of "guided

conversations" (see Lofland, 1971). Interviewees spoke

freely and in their own words about their perspectives and

even volunteered unanticipated information (see Appendices

E and F).

Informal interviews are casual, free flowing

conversations that allow the researcher to interview

participants without asking the same questions in the same

manner. Informal interviews were recorded by paper and

pencil, and they occurred when the researcher asked

questions of the children during the course of participant

observation. For instance, when children moved to form

temporary work groups the researcher asked, "What are you

doing?", "What do you think about this activity?" The

informal interviews with the teacher took place during

periods when the students were not in the room (i.e., lunch

break, after school). The teachers talked eagerly about

classroom activities, frequently asked the researcher what

she thought about an observed event, and talked about

children's progress or specific reactions to classroom

events. These questions were elicited by an observed event

and were useful for discerning different viewpoints held by

the participants.












Audio-recordings are excellent for taking and making

notes, for recording verbal interaction and interviews.

Recorders are readily available, come in different sizes,

are relatively inexpensive, and easy to operate. On the

other hand, they are obtrusive especially at the early

stages of entry in a setting. In this study, a tape-

recorder was used three weeks after observations had

started. The researcher wanted to get first familiar with

the setting and allow the participants to get used to her

presence in the classroom. A small tape-recorder was used

in this study and it was placed by the researcher's

notebook on the "outer circle" table. Some children

occasionally visited the researcher in the back of the room

and spoke right in front of the tape-recorder, but other

than that the presence of the tape-recorder was normalized.

Students and teachers forgot after a brief period that the

recorder was running; they took its presence for granted.

In spite of the advantages of recorders for making

notes, ultimately the tapes demand hours of transcription

for analysis. Tapes were transcribed and analyzed by the

researcher. The results of the analysis are discussed in

the following chapter.











Free Responses

Free response is a projective technique that has been

used extensively in personality and clinical research

(Chandler & Johnson, 1991). A person's productions

(verbal, written, or artistic) reflect his/her inner view

of the world, and a systematic examination of those

productions may help researchers learn something of the

individual's needs, desires, and interests, as well as

his/her perceptions of the significant others in his/her

world. An analysis of such productions may lead to a

better understanding of the individual (Chandler & Johnson,

1991).

Free response or sentence completion tasks employ a

set of sentence stems to elicit oral or written responses.

They are particularly useful devices for getting

information on developmental aspects, interpersonal

relations, needs, and threats. Free responses are brief,

non threatening, and not different from other school-type

tasks with which children are familiar (Chandler & Johnson,

1991). They are especially useful with older children

(pre-adolescents and adolescents), "as children are often

suspicious and defensive in testing situations, and often

resist the more intensive methods of assessment." (Chandler

& Johnson, 1991, p.36).











All fourth-grade students were asked to write their

own free responses to the following stems:

1. NI Think I Am. ..

2. "1I Think Mrs./Ms. Thinks I Am. ..

3. "I Would Like To Know What Mrs./Ms. Thinks
About Me When I. .N


Students were given one stem per week, repeated for

three months (October, November, December). The repetition

of the writings enabled the researcher to discover insights

and patterns and changes in the children's responses. The

writing took place usually on Fridays during students'

journal time. This activity was presented to students as a

time where they could share their personal thoughts about

themselves with the researcher and what they thought their

teacher thought of them in class. Children were encouraged

to write freely, not to worry about correct spelling of

words, and to ask the researcher if they had any questions.

It was emphasized that whatever students wrote was

confidential and private, and they were assured that their

teacher or any other teacher would not see their responses.

During this activity the teachers worked at their desks,

the computer, or sometimes were outside the classroom

taking care of administrative school matters. The teachers

never suggested what the children should write nor did they












help children with spelling or anything else having to do

with this activity.

Manila folders were provided in order to prevent the

sharing of ideas. Writing paper was inserted in each

folder. Children wrote their names on the folder,

decorated it, and some even wrote "Confidential

Information," or "Private: Stay out of it," or "My Personal

Folder" on the outside. Each stem was written on the board

by the researcher who also read it aloud and then asked the

children to copy it on their paper. This activity lasted

for 10 to 15 minutes. No child was forced to write,

although the teachers encouraged all students to do so.

The amount and nature of responses varied from child to

child, with some children writing a word or two to others

writing a paragraph or two, and some others writing a page

or two.

Free writing allowed children to express their

personal thoughts in their own way; it allowed them to

"speak" for themselves. This technique provided the

researcher with information about the content, process, and

sources of information children used to form self-

perceptions and interpretations about their teacher's

perceptions of them in class.













Methodoloaical Limitations

There are some inherent problems in participant

observation that have to be addressed in order for the

researcher to have confidence in the quality of the data

collected. The issue of validity and reliability

constitutes one of the chief criticisms against participant

observation (Adler & Adler, 1992). Observers whose

research is solely based on their observations and do not

have the participants' quotes to enrich and confirm the

researchers' analyses are susceptible to more biases from

subjective interpretations of situations (Denzin, 1989;

Webb et al., 1966).

Observations conducted systematically and repeatedly

over time are more credible than those gathered according

to personal patterns (Denzin, 1989). In this study, the

researcher conducted lengthy observations in the two

classroom settings and also investigated the participants'

perspectives on various situations. Direct observation

when added to other research can yield depth and breadth,

and it can enhance a study's consistency and validity

(Adler & Adler, 1992).

Other problems inherent in participant observation

are: (a) effects of the observer's presence or activities

on the phenomenon being observed; (b) effects from the











the inability of the observer to fully witness and record

all relevant aspects of the studied phenomenon (McCall &

Simmons, 1969). Bogdan and Biklen (1982) state that

"qualitative researchers attempt. to objectively study

the subjective states of their subjects" (p.42). The

qualitative researcher's main goal is to add knowledge and

not to pass judgment on a phenomenon or setting.

Qualitative researchers seek to limit the observer's

biases, since all researchers are affected by observers'

bias (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982).

The researcher guarded against her own biases by

recording numerous lengthy field notes and by including the

participants themselves in the study of this phenomenon.

The researcher also worked with participants who were

accustomed to having observers and visitors in their rooms,

such as parent volunteers, student teachers, student

volunteers, and aids. The fact that the participants were

familiar with having other people in their classroom made

the researcher's presence less intimidating. In addition,

the lengthy observation period (September to December)

enabled the researcher to become part of the classroom.

After the last interviews were completed, in January, the

children asked the researcher if she was planning to come

back and if they would ever see her again.











The fact that the researcher was stationed in each

classroom's "outer circle" and that her role and activities

were made clear to the children, made it easy for the

children to not see her as another teacher. The children

talked to other students, violated classroom rules, argued

with the teacher, got into arguments with other students,

sent notes to other students, and did a lot of the

"regular" things children do in class in her presence.

There were instances where some children "showed-off" for

the researcher; for instance, one girl in classroom B read

the ballad she had written at home to the researcher and

asked her if she would like to keep it in her notes. The

researcher's casual conversations with the teachers also

confirmed her recording and perceptions of the classroom

life.

The researcher dealt with her personal interests,

remarks, and biases about the studied phenomenon through

bracketing (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). The researcher's role

and biases will be discussed in a subsequent section.

Lastly, the researcher's inability to observe and

record all classroom events related to children's

interpersonal perceptions was dealt with in three ways: (a)

by doing lengthy observations in the classrooms the

researcher was confident that she captured a representative

description of relevant events, activities, and











interactions related to the studied phenomenon; (b) the

teachers acted as valuable informants for events that had

not been directly observed; (c) the researcher's use of a

tape-recorder, interviews, and free-responses filled in

gaps in observational data.

The interviews took place a month and a half after

observations began, allowing time for the researcher and

the participants to become familiar with one another. The

researcher always asked for the children's permission to

"talk" with them and reminded them that whatever they

shared with her would be confidential. At times, some

children were eager to talk with her because of something

that had happened at school that day. Interview data was

compared with written data (free responses) and with

observational data.

Free responses were used because of their

appropriateness in allowing children to share their own

perceptions and interpretations. One limitation of this

method is that some children wrote more or better than

others; some wrote in complete sentences and others just

listed single words. All three sources of data provided a

means whereby the researcher could make a more

comprehensive evaluation of the data collected.











Data Analysis

The data collected through observations, interviews,

and free-responses were in written form. Written records

included field notes, a research journal, transcribed

interviews, and children's free-responses.

In this study, the researcher's goal was to examine

how children perceived themselves and interpreted their

teacher's perceptions of them in two fourth-grade

classrooms. The choice of analysis methods was determined

by the purpose of the research, the nature of the

questions, and the theoretical perspective adopted and

adapted by the researcher (LeCompte et al., 1992).

The data analysis was an ongoing process that

consisted of analyzing and synthesizing information across

data sources and data collection methods. The analyses

carried out for this study make visible the construction of

students' (a) self-perceptions and (b) interpretations of

what their teacher thought about them in class (see Table

3-2). Analysis of this kind involves a way of "looking" at

or thinking about data. It refers to the systematic and

strategic examination of a phenomenon to discover its

parts, the relationships among parts, and their

relationship to the whole.

In this analysis, the researcher (a) described social

situations (activities carried out by participants in a











particular place) and (b) discovered culture (the patterns

of participants' behavior and they meanings they assign to

activities), (Spradley, 1980). The phases of analysis for

this study are described below (Spradley 1980):

a. Domain analysis helped to identify broad domains

such as "Things the Teacher Talked About in Class, Things

Students Talked About in Class, Things Students Talked

About Themselves."

b. Taxonomic analysis helped to identify how

domains were organized. The researcher also attempted to

find out how domains were related. For example, within the

domain "Feedback Teacher Gave to Students," there was

"Verbal Feedback and Written Feedback".

c. Componential analysis helped the researcher to

look for units of meaning participants assigned to their

specific cultural categories.

d. Theme analysis involved the search for a theme

that would tie together the identified parts of the

participants' perspectives. It focused the search for

meanings across domains.

The analysis of data helped locate particular patterns

of experiences that represent how students make sense of

their everyday classroom experiences with the teacher. The

main type of relationship in the domain analysis was strict

inclusion (see Table 3-2).












Table 3-2

Strict Inclusion Example


Table 3-3 shows the type of worksheet used to help

visualize the structure of each domain:








Table 3-3

Domain Analysis Worksheet


RELATIONSHIP FORM EXAMPLE

Strict Inclusion -4 X is a kind of Y -4 Playing the guitar
(is a kind of
extra curricular
activity)


1. Semantic Relationship: strict inclusion

2. Form: X is a kind of y

3. Example: Being good in science (is a kind of) ability

Included terms Semantic Relationship Cove
Being good in writing

Being good in reading }-4 is a kind of -4 abil:
Being good in math


r Term


ity











The researcher analyzed and counted each student's

written statements. Statements were grouped according to

content, and broad categories were formed. Finally, broad

categories were grouped to form specific categories. The

content and domain analyses were interweaved. The

reseacher took a frequency count of students' statements in

order to explore differences in quality as well as quantity

of students' responses. Students' verbal statements were

analyzed for content.

The researcher coded students' written and oral

reports by assigning pseudonyms and numbers. For example,

(BF21.2) means: this statement came from a female (F)

student in class (B); the student's assigned number was 21;

and she gave this statement at time two. This coding

system made it easy for the researcher to maintain the

students' confidentiality, readily retrieve information

from data, and study patterns in students' responses over

time. Teachers were also given pseudonyms. Teacher A was

called Ms. Naylor, and Teacher B was called Mrs. Cleary.

Audio-taped classroom observations were transcribed.

The transcription involved three phases: (a) description of

events, (b) interpretation of events, and (c) extension of

events. The following transcript conventions were used:










(2, 3, or 4s)= number of seconds without verbal discourse
Sx= unidentified student
SS= more than one student speaking, all unidentified
XXX= inaudible


The three-phased analysis of the verbatim transcripts

showed how everyday classroom interactions between students

and their teacher provided opportunities for students to

co-construct interpretations about their teacher's

perceptions about them in class. Findings from the

transcription data were triangulated with findings from

students artifacts and interview data to validate and

expand on how students formed their interpersonal

perceptions. Field notes were used to give additional

background information about classroom interactions. Table

3-4 (see p. 88) summarizes the research questions, data

collection, and analysis in this study.



The Researcher's Role and Biases

The qualitative researcher is the key research

instrument in qualitative research. The researcher's

biases, methods, and training may influence data collection

and analysis. Wolcott (1975) stated that a researcher must

be flexible, sensitive, a keen observer, sociable,

sensitive to and perceptive of the participants' needs, be















Table 3-4


Research Ouestions, Data Collection, and Analysis


RESEARCH QUESTIONS DATA COLLECTION ANALYSIS

1. In what manner do fourth- Student artifacts Domain, taxonomic
grade students perceive (i.e., free responses) analysis
themselves? What is the content Interviews Content analysis
of their self-perceptions?

2. In what manner do fourth- Student artifacts Domain, taxonomic
grade students perceive their (i.e., free responses) analysis
teacher's perceptions about Interviews Content analysis
them? What is the content of
their interpretations?

3. What kind of information do 0 Interviews Content analysis
fourth-grade students use to
form interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them
in class?

4. What is the role of Classroom Transcription of
classroom interactions in the observations recorded classroom
construction of students' (i.e., field notes, interactions
interpretations of their audio-taped classroom
teacher's perceptions about them interactions)
in class?











able to "tell" his/her story effectively, and have

experience conducting fieldwork.

Whether a researcher chooses to be a full participant

or fully a non-participant, he or she must put himself or

herself into the research and interpret what he/she sees,

hears, or is told to by others (Woods, 1992). By

observing, taking notes, tape-recording, talking to

participants, reflecting on data, and some initial

analysis, the researcher makes indications, attributes

meanings, and interprets symbols continually. How a

researcher does this depends on the self he/she brings to

the situation and its' interpretation: the experiences,

interests, values, "theories", training, attitudes toward

the participants, and commitment to research (Woods, 1992).

A standard problem for qualitative researchers is the

one between involvement and increased familiarity on the

one hand and distance and objectivity on the other. The

demands of qualitative research create a tension between

"getting inside" and "being outside", and "knowing nothing,

to knowing some things, to knowing too much" about the

participants and their world. Involvement and objectivity

are both ingredients of scientific appraisal, but "too much

of a good thing" may interfere with the "healthy"

progress of one's research. Woods (1992) suggests that

researchers can guard against these dangers by maintaining




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INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS' SELF¬
PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THEIR TEACHER'S
PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THEM IN TWO FOURTH-GRADE CLASSES
BY
VASSILIKI ZYGOURIS-COE
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1997

Copyright 1997
by
Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe

For my husband, Michael Douglas Coe, who is the wind
beneath my wings.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I am grateful for a first-rate dissertation committee,
my mentors, all dedicated educators and researchers. I
would like to thank the chair and my advisor, Regina Weade-
Lamme, whose intellectual insight, support, confidence in
me, and encouragement helped my research in general and
this dissertation in particular.
I am also grateful to Dr. Robert R. Sherman, whose
high standards and careful and specific feedback helped
make this dissertation a reality. I would also like to
thank Dr. Kristen M. Kemple, whose input and encouragement
helped me continue to explore children's perspectives, and
Dr. Jin-Wen Y. Hsu, whose insight helped shape the
questions and methodology in this study. I am grateful to
Dr. Jane Townsend, for her careful critique of my
dissertation and for her unfading smile.
I would also like to thank Ms. Naylor (pseudonym) and
Mrs. Cleary (pseudonym), who opened their classrooms to me
and welcomed me as a member. I am especially grateful to
the parents of all the fourth-grade students I worked with,
the students who shared their perspectives with me, and to
the school administration.
I am grateful to Dr. Mary Grace Kantowski, chair of
Instruction and Curriculum, for her genuine interest and
support in this study and in my personal growth. I am also
iv

thankful to all the secretaries in our department who were
always willing to assist me.
I would also like to thank Dr. Edward Turner for
taking the time to talk to me, especially when it was
needed. His support and encouragement helped me deal with
the pressures of completing the dissertation process.
There are many friends and family members I would like
to thank for their help, encouragement, and understanding.
My utmost thanks go to my husband, Michael Coe, whose
patience, support, and understanding gave strength to
complete this project. I am blessed to be the mother of
Rebecca, whose smiles and hugs helped me carry on. I am
grateful to my parents, Ioanni and Evanthia Zygouris, for
their love and to my in-laws, Hazel and Wally Coe for their
moral and financial support, and for believing in me. My
thanks go also to my officemate, Susan Wegmann, who put up
with my piles of paper and long hours with a smile and a
kind word; and my sister-in-law, Demie Zygouris, for her
encouragement through the phone.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT x
LIST OF TABLES viii
LIST OF FIGURES ix
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of the Problem 3
Purpose of the Study and
Research Questions 7
Significance of the Study 8
Definition of Terms 12
Design of the Study 16
2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 18
Students' Perceptions in the Classroom 19
Students' "Voices" in the Classroom 30
Students' Meta-Perceptions 36
Conclusion 41
3 METHODOLOGY 42
Introduction 46
The Setting 46
Description of Site 46
Selection of Site 46
Entry and Access 47
Participants 50
Classroom Organization 52
Research Methods 61
Overview 61
Methods and Procedures 65
Participant Observation 67
Interviews 73
Free Responses 76
vi

Methodological Limitations 79
Data Analysis 83
The Researcher's Role
and Biases 87
Issues of Validity and
Reliability 92
4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 96
Introduction 96
Students' Self-perceptions 98
Students' Interpretations
of Teacher's Perceptions 101
Information Students Used to
Construct Interpretations 112
Classroom Interactions and
Student Interpretations 132
Discussion 151
5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 165
Limitations of the Results 168
Relationship of Findings
to Previous Research 172
Implications for Future
Research 176
Implications for Educational
Practice 178
APPENDICES 182
A IRB APPROVAL 182
B A SAMPLE OF FREE RESPONSES 184
C A SAMPLE OF DOMAIN ANALYSIS 195
D SAMPLES OF TAXONOMIC ANALYSIS 203
E INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: TEACHERS 237
F INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: STUDENTS 241
G A SAMPLE OF VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTS 245
REFERENCES 255
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 270
Vll

LIST OF TABLES
Table page
3-1 Degrees of Participant Involvement 70
3-2 Strict Inclusion Example 85
3-3 Domain Analysis Worksheet 85
3-4 Research Questions, Data Collection,
and Analysis 88
4-1 Content Analysis Comparison: I Think I Am.... 98
4-2 Content Analysis Comparison:
I Think Teacher Thinks I Am 102
4-3 Content Analysis Comparison:
Domain Occurrence 107
4-4 Content Analysis Comparison:
I Would Like To Know What My Teacher
Thinks Of Me When 1 109
4-5 Sources Of Information Children Used
To Construct Interpretations 113
4-6 Verbal Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations 116
4-7 Written Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations 119
4-8 Non-verbal Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations 122
4-9 Information From Teacher's Practices
Students Used To Construct Interpretations... 125
4-10 Other Information Students Used To
Construct Interpretations 127
4-11 What Students Wanted The Teacher To Do 129
viii

Fi
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
LIST OF FIGURES
page
Floor Plan of Classroom A 54
Floor Plan of Classroom B 55
Ethnographic Questions 63
Community Bulletin Board Message 153
School Rules 155
Teacher's Flag Rules 155
Rules To Play By 156
How Students Can Get What They Want
From The Teacher 156
What Does Not Work With The Teacher 157
How To Treat Others 160
IX

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS'
SELF-PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THEIR TEACHER'S
PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THEM IN TWO FOURTH-GRADE CLASSES
By
Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe
December 1997
Chair: Dr. Regina Weade-Lamme
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum
The purpose of this study was to investigate how
children perceived themselves and interpreted their
teacher's perceptions about them in class. The researcher
assumed a social-interaction perspective that views the
development of self through social interactions. The study
focused on four questions:
1. What is the content of students' self-
perceptions?
2. What is the content of students' interpretations
of their teacher's perceptions about them in
class?
3. What kinds of information did students use to
construct their interpretations?
4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in
class?
x

Qualitative research methods were used to collect and
analyze the data. The researcher used a methodological
triangulation to better examine students' perceptions.
Students wrote free responses about themselves and what
their teacher thought of them. Formal and informal
interviews were conducted with 21 out of the 60
participating children. Classroom observations were
conducted over a period of five months.
Taxonomic and content analysis revealed the following:
1. Children perceived themselves differently
from what they thought their teacher thought of
them.
2. Children lacked information in what their
teacher thought about them, especially in areas
in which they did not have feedback.
3. Children used their classroom interactions and
experiences with the teacher as the sources of
information for their interpretations.
The results suggested that in order for teachers to
create and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships in
their classrooms, they need to provide students with
specific feedback about their personal, social, and
academic progress.
xi

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
When people interact with others, they see what
others do and hear what others say in various social
situations. People select, organize, and interpret
information about themselves and others; they construct and
co-construct perceptions and assign meanings. People
connect new information with previous knowledge, focus on
what and who interests them, and create new understandings
about themselves and others.
Interpersonal perception is largely an internal
process; people cognitively process socially constructed
roles and meanings. Interpersonal perception is a process
of individual meaning-making with its content, steps, and
outcomes varying within different individuals and contexts.
Human behavior is an outcome of how people see themselves
and their experiences. Although this may be seen as
obvious, the failure of people to understand it is
responsible for much human misunderstanding, conflict, and
even loneliness (Combs, Avila, & Purkey, 1978).
1

2
How students perceive, organize, and interpret their
classroom experiences with their teachers and the social
world in which they live is an integral part of the
learning process (Brookover, Thomas, & Patterson, 1964;
Andrade, 1995). Studying how experiences involving oneself
and others seem to a student through the "eyes" of that
student, and the intersubjective perspective of the
student's own experience, will help researchers and
educators to better understand the process of interpersonal
perception (Combs, Avila, & Purkey, 1978).
Through daily classroom interactions and school
experiences, as well as interactions with oneself, students
develop a conception of personal existence; next to the
home, schools probably have the single greatest influence
on how students perceive themselves and their abilities
(Purkey & Novak, 1996).
How adults--and children--perceive themselves and how
they think others perceive them may influence the views
they construct about themselves and, as a consequence,
their social interactions with others (Hansford, 1988).
The way people construct reality is fundamental to the way
they perceive themselves. What people think of each other
is a strong influence in virtually every area of their
lives (Mead, 1934) . People often act in response to what
they believe is other people's attitude toward them and

3
often fall into the role they feel others assign to them.
Each person looks at an interpersonal relationship in two
ways: (a) how he/she perceives the relationship and (b) how
he/she thinks the other person sees the relationship.
This study adopted and adapted a symbolic
interactionist perspective. In this perspective, the
student is viewed not only as a knower of the social world
but also as an actor in it (Cooley, 1902; Mead, 1934).
Accordingly, in this study the student is viewed as not
only the perceiver of social reality but also as a co¬
constructor of it. The student is seen as someone who not
only interprets and transforms social experiences but one
who is also transformed by them. Meaning is constructed
and negotiated in the interactions among the members. The
classroom setting is viewed as a culture in which members
construct common knowledge about ways of acting and
interacting with each other, about the social and material
artifacts of their experiences, and about the world around
them.
Statement of the Problem
Research about students' perspectives is a relatively
recent phenomenon and has provided researchers and
educators with valuable information about the importance of
students' perceptions for their development of self,

4
learning, and overall achievement (Wittrock, 1986).
Students1 perceptions have been viewed as mediators of
student learning (Purkey, 1981, 1991; Purkey & Novak, 1996;
Winne & Marx, 1980) . Studies have shown that teaching can
be better understood and improved by knowing its effects
upon the learner's thoughts that mediate achievement
(Stipek, 1981).
Although investigations into the opinions and
perceptions of teachers hold a predominant place in
educational research (Cohen & Manion, 1981), how students
perceive their teacher's perceptions about them has tended
to be ignored. Much research evidence exists on what
students think about school (Woods, 1979), learning
(Weinstein, 1983), schoolwork (Woods, 1976b), teachers
(Prentiss, 1995), student teachers (Cortis & Grayson, 1976;
Prentiss, 1995), and others (Livesley & Bromley, 1973). On
the other hand, research evidence is missing on what may be
a vital factor in student learning--academic and social--
and teaching. Research is missing on students’ "meta¬
perceptions": on what children think their teacher thinks
of them as a student in the social setting of the
classroom.
How students generate and construct meaning from
their experiences with the teacher in the social setting of
the classroom may mediate the development of students'

5
self-perceptions, identity, present and future classroom
interactions with the teacher, and students' learning and
success in school. These interpretations, referred to as
"meta-perceptions" (Kenny, 1994) or "reflected appraisals"
(Blumer, 1969) may function as a filter through which any
information about oneself, one's abilities, and learning is
processed. Such a filter may mediate students’ personal,
interpersonal, academic, and social development.
If students entered the classroom as tabula rasas,
there would not be a need to invest time and energy
examining how they perceive their experiences with the
teacher in the classroom. However, students enter school
with well-defined perceptions of self, others, and school
life (Stipek & Hoffman, 1980b). In their daily
interactions with their teachers they define and redefine,
shape and reshape, reject old and construct new ideas about
oneself, others, and learning.
Everything the teacher does as well as the manner in
which he does it invites the child to respond in some
way or another and each response tends to set the
child's attitude in some way or another. (Dewey, 1933,
P • 59)
Students use their perceptions and interpretations in
an unrelenting struggle to make sense of their world. These
perceptions influence their interpretations of and reaction
to classroom experiences. As long as students and teachers
have sufficient knowledge of each other's perceptions,

6
communication and interpersonal relationships take place
smoothly. However, an incongruity in perceived
perspectives may interfere with a student's personal
growth, classroom interactions, participation in classroom
activities, and overall learning. Incongruity between
teachers' and students’ meanings is of immense importance
to the educational process (Sainsbury, 1992).
The problem this study addresses is the lack of
information about how students make sense out of their
classroom interactions with their teachers. Academic,
social, and interpersonal learning is not created in
isolation but through relationships, and students'
interpretations of what their teacher thinks of them could
affect their communication and interactions with the
teacher and their overall success in school. As a society,
we want our children to develop personally,
interpersonally, socially, and academically so they can
function as successful citizens. Of the 52 million children
enrolled in U.S. primary and secondary schools, millions
are at risk for failing to reach their educational
potential (Schneider, 1995). Not only does the U. S.
educational system fail to reach large numbers of American
children, but it fails to meet the needs of our nation (A
Nation at Risk, 1983). In order for children to grow and
learn successfully, they need to have enough information on

7
what their significant others think of them in various
situations.
If researchers and educators are to help all students
succeed, both academically and socially, in school, they
need to realize that it is necessary to understand
students' perceptual worlds and perspectives. Many times
the problems adults have with children stem from failing to
check children's perceptions (Karns, 1994). Students’
perspectives should not be disregarded: they supply the
bedrock for meaning, building of self, behavior, and
learning (Purkey, 1996; Taylor, 1993). Dewey (1938)
recommended that researchers and educators need to know
more about how students experience education and how they
reflect on that experience.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to identify how students
perceived themselves and how they perceived their teacher's
perceptions about them. This study used a symbolic
interactionist perspective that views the development of
self through daily emic, or intersubjective, social
interactions with significant others in our world. The
following research questions were examined:
1. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
themselves? What is the content of their self¬
perceptions?

8
2. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
their teacher's perceptions about them? What is
the content of their interpretations?
3. What kind of information do fourth-grade
students use to form interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them in class?
4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in class?
Questions one and two reveal information about the
similarities or differences between students' self¬
perceptions and their interpretations of the teacher's
perceptions about them. The third question provides
information about what elements students select from daily
classroom interactions with the teacher, how they organize
that information, and how they use it. The fourth question
offers insight about the ways students' interpretations
relate to their classroom interactions with the teacher.
Significance of the Study
Unlike much research in interpersonal perception that
focuses on children's self-perceptions, the focus of this
study was on how children perceive themselves and form
interpretations about what their teacher thinks of them in
actual, naturalistic classroom settings. The results of
the study may offer useful information about what elements
of their classroom experiences children select to form such
interpretations that in the long run could affect their

9
self-perceptions, behavior, and learning. A student’s
perceptions of what the teacher might think of him/her will
not necessarily cause the student to misbehave in the
classroom, but they might serve as a reference point or an
anchoring perception, for his/her self-perceptions and
behavior (Marsh, 1986).
Classrooms are extremely complex and dynamic contexts
in which students and teachers construct and co-construct
perceptions about themselves and others. Better
understanding of how students perceive and interpret their
experiences with the teacher in the classroom may prove to
be a significant mediating variable that will help
educators understand a child's behavior--academic,
social—in the classroom.
The present study can yield a number of contributions
to both research and practice in the area of interpersonal
perception. Findings from this study could extend the body
of knowledge in children's interpersonal perceptions and
may support the usefulness of symbolic interactionism in
understanding children's interpersonal perceptions.
For researchers this study might have theoretical
significance in that it will illustrate in detail how nine-
to ten-year-old students perceive their experiences with a
significant other--their classroom teacher--in everyday
interactions. It could help develop a system for

10
explaining the processes by which children construct
interpretations of their teachers' perceptions by
specifying constructs and possible relationships between
and among those constructs.
The study of social processes in classrooms is
important because: (a) teacher-student relationships are
important mediators of the academic outcomes of schooling
(Hansford, 1988) and (b) the school experience itself may
have significant social outcomes that influence students'
self-perceptions and their interactions with others inside
and outside the school setting (Levine & Wang, 1983).
In addition, this study might show whether students
have a generalized or specific view of how the teacher sees
them and whether this view changes over time (Levine &
Wang, 1983). The results from this study could serve to
highlight variables that can stimulate further research by
researchers who are interested in developing ways that
educators can use to have a positive influence on the
personal, academic, and social development of their
students (Good & Brophy, 1994) . Methodologically, this
study might illustrate the usefulness of qualitative
methods in the study of children's perceptions.
Understanding children's perceptions and interpretations of
their experiences with teachers might help us understand

11
children's responses to teachers and the formation of their
views of interpersonal relationships.
Findings from this study may also be of value to
practitioners. The detailed descriptions of the classroom
settings might increase teachers' awareness of the
importance and capability of students' interpretations of
their classroom experiences with their teachers. It could
also increase teachers' awareness of the need to study
students' views in order to better understand how they
select, organize, interpret, and use their social
experiences with their teachers. Attention to the
students' perceptions could lead to better instruction and
interactions, and even help correct and prevent
misunderstandings between students and their teacher in
class.
Finally, it could help teachers to not underestimate
the immense potential of students to actively participate
in the construction of their own learning experiences.
This study may illustrate the importance of understanding
how experiences are seen from the student's perspective.
The results of this study might help teachers better
understand how their interactions with their students are
being received, interpreted and acted upon (Egan, 1990;
Gordon, 1974). Patterson and Purkey (1993) suggest that

12
such understanding should be a major goal of teacher
training programs.
In summary, this study could help improve our
understanding of the significance of interpersonal
relationships between students and teachers in elementary
classrooms. Some teachers claim that a major source of
difficulty in their work is relating to their students, and
that once this has been achieved, the academic issues are
relatively simple (Hall & Hall, 1988). Good interpersonal
relationships are "the major condition for learning"
(Patterson, 1973, p.98).
Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, the following terms
need to be defined: perception, interpersonal perception,
self-perception, "meta-perceptions" (or "reflected
appraisals"), and symbolic interactionism.
Perception is a fundamental aspect of interpersonal
relationships (Wilson et al., 1995). Perception gives
meaning and stability in our relationships because it is a
process through which we select, organize, and interpret
what is happening around us (Wilson et al., 1995).
Perception is an active, inductive process involving
attention, selection, organization, and interpretation
(Triandis, 1977). Perception refers not only to the

13
"seeing" but also to the "meaning" or personal significance
of classroom experiences for the student experiencing them.
A study of these meanings may reveal students' beliefs,
values, desires, and personal ways in which they perceive
themselves and what their teacher thinks of them in the
classroom (Combs, 1978).
Interpersonal perception is the process of perceiving
and evaluating others in a context in which people are
interacting (Kenny, 1994). It involves not only how people
perceive themselves and others in social interactions, but
also how people think others perceive them.
Self- perceptions are thoughts, beliefs, and feelings
about self, others, and events. In the past, research in
this area was based predominantly on behavioral theories,
environmental stimuli, and reinforcement theory as
influences of behavior (Schunk & Meece, 1992). Current
cognitive theories of learning assume that students are
active rather than passive processors of information and
knowledge and that there is no automatic relation between
information presented and how it is perceived by students
(Schunk & Meece, 1992). Self-perceptions involve
perceptions of one's abilities, goals, efforts, interests,
attitudes, values, and emotions (Schunk & Meece, 1992).
Self-perceptions are a complex, continuously active system
of subjective beliefs about one's personal existence.

14
Self-perceptions guide one's behavior and choice of roles
in life (Purkey & Novak, 1996).
"Meta-oerceotions" (Kenny, 1994)--or "reflected
appraisals,"--according to symbolic interactionists (e.g.,
Blumer, 1969)--are the perceptions of another person's
perception; they refer to people trying to "get into other
people’s heads" (Kenny, 1994). In this study, students'
"meta-perceptions" will be examined through symbolic
interactionism (Blumer, 1969; Cooley, 1902; Mead, 1934),
which proposes that our very selves are an outcome of
material components, our perceptions of how others view us,
and inner psychological mechanisms (Shrauger & Schoeneman,
1979) . According to this perspective, the self is a social
product of a person's interactions with others. The self
is a function of a person's manipulation of the social
environment and a function of the way in which a person is
treated by others (Mead, 1934) .
The premise of this perspective is that people care
about how they are viewed by significant others.
"Significant others" are people such as, parents, teachers,
coaches, and peers who are close to a person and whose
views and actions matter to him/her (Mead, 1934) . Although
there are expected variations in the vigor of people's
desire to know what others think about them, symbolic
interactionists assume that meta-perceptions are usually

15
accurate (Kinch, 1963). Kinch (1963) suggested that a
symbolic interactionist self-theory involves the
interaction of four components: (a) one's self-concept; (b)
one's perceptions of others' attitudes and responses toward
the individual; (c) the actual attitudes and responses of
others toward the individual; and (d) one's actual
behavior.
This study is not concerned with degree of accuracy in
children's "meta-perceptions"/"reflected appraisals," but
rather with how children form "meta-perceptions" from and
in their daily classroom interactions with one of their
significant others--their teacher.
Symbolic interactionism supporters (e.g., Mead,
1934) would suggest that people's perceptions of
experiences depend on the meaning they assign to them.
Meaning is a product of social interaction. In order to
understand someone's reality, it is necessary to understand
the symbol system he/she uses and the meaning those symbols
have for the him or her. Reality in the classroom could be
seen as having three aspects: (a) the outside world (e.g.,
society); (b) the inner world (e.g., teachers' and
students' inner world); and (c) a shared symbolic world of
beliefs, experiences, and meanings constructed and
sustained through social interactions.

16
In order to understand the symbolic world of the
classroom, we should consider that teachers' and students'
actions are based on the meaning they assign to classroom
life. Meaning is fundamentally intersubjective; therefore,
in order for researchers to understand how students
perceive themselves and the teachers' perceptions of them
in class, their construction of meaning and their
perspectives need to be examined.
Design of the Study
Having received approval from the University of
Florida Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, the
researcher established a monthly observation schedule with
the two fourth-grade teachers who had previously agreed to
have the study take place in their classrooms.
Observations began in September, 1996 and continued in the
classroom until the December vacation. Interviews were
completed in January, 1997. The researcher observed 190
hours of classroom activity in the two fourth-grade
classrooms. Observations were centered on how children
interacted with the teacher in their classroom, how they
behaved in and responded to classroom events, and comments
they made about themselves, the teacher, and classroom
events. All children in the participating classrooms wrote
free responses four times per month about their self-

17
perceptions and how they thought their teacher perceived
them in class.
Three formal interviews with 21 children (13 from one
classroom and eight from the other) and three formal and
several informal interviews with the two teachers were
conducted during the term of the study. Interviews with
students were used to further investigate the process of
meta-perception: how students perceived their teacher's
perceptions about them in class. Interviews with the two
teachers were used to investigate how they provided
information to their students about what they thought of
them in class. In addition, students' school records were
examined.
Data were analyzed for content and were organized into
domains (Spradley, 1980). Using data from across domains
helped to formulate taxonomies to represent patterns,
similarities, and differences in students' self-perceptions
and meta-perceptions.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Putting together a literature review about students'
self-perceptions and "meta-perceptions" is a continuing
challenge, for few researchers have focused on this
phenomenon, particularly as it evolves in classroom
settings. The following literature review offers necessary
background for the research questions raised in this study.
The review focuses on studies of students1 perceptions in
the classroom, students' voices in the classroom, and
students' meta-perceptions.
Why do people behave in different ways? Combs (1962)
explains human behavior as a product of how people see
themselves, the situations they are involved in, and the
meaning or personal significance that situation has for the
person experiencing it. Meanings extend far beyond the
sensory experience and include such perceptions as beliefs,
desires, feelings, values, interests, and the personal ways
in which people "see" themselves and others around them
(Combs, 1962). Following this perceptual perspective,
Purkey (1981) explains that:
18

19
Each person is a conscious agent who considers,
constructs, interprets, and then acts. . . . All
behavior is a function of the individual's perceived
world. ... A person's behavior makes sense from the
"internal" view of the experiencing person, (p.17)
To understand human behavior one must make sense of
how things appear from the unique point of the individual
at the moment of behaving (Purkey, 1996). Perceptions are
important in understanding human behavior as they refer to
the distinctions people are able to make in their personal
experiences (Purkey, 1996). Perceptions change over time.
Through daily encounters with others, and especially with
significant others, people construct certain essential
perceptions that serve as guiding filters for making sense
of the world. Purkey (1996) views perceptions as:
reference points for behavior. They influence the
memories people use to understand the past and plan
the future. They also affect the possibilities that
people can imagine and the goals they are willing to
work for. (p.23)
Students' Perceptions in the Classroom
Researchers recently have investigated student
perceptions to determine their relation to teaching and
student behaviors (Brophy & Good, 1986), but historically
student perceptions have received little research
attention. Lately, researchers and educators have been
making systematic efforts to understand students' role in
research. The problems associated with inviting students
to play a more focal role are authenticity, legitimacy, and

20
and authority (Denzin & Lincoln, 1993) and the ethical
relationships between researchers and their participants
(Lincoln, 1993) .
The third edition of the Handbook of Research in
Teaching (Wittrock, 1986) contains a chapter on students'
thought processes, a new addition to this volume of
educational research. Research shows that student
perceptions can mediate the relationship of teacher
behaviors to student achievement. This chapter includes
many studies on students' thought processes that emphasize
the need for understanding how students learn how to learn
and how they can be taught to improve their thought
processes to facilitate knowledge acquisition, learning,
and memory.
The relevance of these studies to this topic lies in
Wittrock's (1986) proposition that "the learner's
perception of the teaching is the functional instruction
that influences student learning and achievement" (p.298).
For the purposes of this literature review, the following
studies were be examined: studies on children's academic
self-perceptions and expectations; self-perceptions of
ability and achievement; perceptions of schools, teachers,
and student teachers; perceptions of school tasks;
perceptions of teachers' communication style; and,

21
children's perceptions of cognitive processes in the
classroom.
Numerous researchers (Darakjan, Michael, & Knapp-Lee,
1985; Hansford & Hattie, 1982; Harter, 1983; Hattie, 1992)
have demonstrated a modest but positive relationship
between children's self-perceptions and academic
achievement. Researchers consistently demonstrate that
there is a relationship between students' self-evaluations
and their level of academic achievement (Byrne, 1984, 1986;
Chapman, 1988; Harper & Purkey, 1993; Hoge & Renzulli,
1993) .
From the early elementary school years, children
perceive their academic performance positively (Stipek,
1981). In the third or fourth-grade, the children's
perceived school performance begins to correlate positively
with their teacher's evaluations of their ability
(Nicholls, 1979). The feedback teachers offer to students
about their academic performance seems to be related to
students' self-perceptions of ability. Wittrock (1986)
suggests that children are not only capable of perceiving
feedback from the teacher about their academic performance,
but their perceptions of teacher feedback seem to influence
their expectations about their future school performances.
Livesley and Bromley (1973) focused on describing, by
means of free descriptions and content analysis, elementary

22
and adolescent children's perceptions of others. Three
hundred and twenty children (ages 7 to 15) were asked to
write free descriptions about eight people known to them--a
man; a woman; a boy and a girl they liked; and a man, a
woman, a boy and a girl they disliked. The changes in
content were greatest between the ages of 7 and 8 years.
Children under the age of 7 or 8 years described people in
terms of external, readily observable attributes (e.g.,
appearance, life history, and physical condition).
Between the ages of 8 and 12 years there was a rapid
growth in psychological vocabulary (e.g., mutual
interactions, social roles, evaluations, and specific
behavioral inconsistencies). Children's descriptions of
liked persons were less factual than those of disliked
people; more explanatory statements were made about
disliked people possibly because the children were trying
to justify their feelings (Livesley & Bromley, 1973).
This landmark study of children's perceptions of
others provided evidence of the developmental changes in
the way younger and older children perceive and "explain"
behavior. Even young children can explain simple forms of
behavior; it is not until the age of 9 or 10 years that
children are able to use motivational concepts to explain
their perceptions of others' behavior (Livesley & Bromley,
1973) .

23
Another group of researchers (Brattesani, Weinstein, &
Marshall, 1984; Marshall & Weinstein, 1986; Weinstein,
Marshall, Brattesani & Middlestad, 1982; Weinstein,
Marshall, Sharp, & Botkin, 1987; Weinstein & Middlestadt,
1979) have been interested in how students perceive and
interpret teachers' behaviors toward different students in
the classroom. In Weinstein and her colleaques' empirical
work, children report that compared to high achievers, low
achievers receive more negative feedback and teacher
directness, and more messages related to a work and
classroom rule orientation.
Children perceived high achievers as receiving more
attention by the teacher, more opportunities and choice of
activities in the classroom, and higher expectations from
the teachers. One of the most impressive findings of these
studies is that even children in the early elementary
grades believe that teachers treat high and low achievers
differently (Weinstein et al., 1987). Weinstein &
Middlestadt (1979) found that there are differences among
younger (Grade 1-3) and older (Grade 4-6) students’
perceptions of teachers’ differential treatment. Younger
students thought that teachers criticized high achievers
more, and older students thought teachers criticized low
achievers more.

24
The early development and socialization of children's
achievement perceptions have been studied by a number of
researchers (Eccles, Wigfield, Harold, & Blumenfeld, 1991;
Harold et al., 1989; Wigfield et al., 1990). Results from
a three-year cross-sectional study (Grades K, 1, and 3)
show that the relations between students' beliefs and
teachers' beliefs are stronger in the mathematics, reading,
and sports domains (especially at Grade 2 and Grade 4) than
in the social and music domains (Wingfield & Harold, 1992).
In Grade 4 children's beliefs in mathematics and
reading came closer to the teachers' beliefs in those areas
than in the other two grades. This finding verifies
Nicholls' (1979) findings that children's perceptions of
their reading attainment become increasingly highly
correlated with their school grades as they get older.
Wingfield & Harold (1992) suggest the above finding could
be attributed to the fact that teachers at Grade 3 or Grade
4 provide relatively consistent and realistic messages to
children about their performances and children may
incorporate them into their self-perceptions. Another
reason could be that teachers' beliefs have a stronger
impact at this grade level because of children's' shifting
beliefs about ability.
Nicholls (1979, 1984) suggested that children around
the age of ten start to view ability as being more stable

25
rather than modifiable. The combination of changes in the
nature of children's perceptions of ability, the stronger
relations between children's ability perceptions and actual
performance, and the increased focus on competitive
performance in school may make it likely for children to
internalize the teachers' perceptions and expectations of
them in the middle to upper elementary school years
(Wingfield & Harold, 1992).
Although there is evidence that suggests that
students' self-perceptions are influenced by teachers'
perceptions of them, the studies reported here are
correlational in nature, so causality cannot be implied.
What is needed is research on how students' interpret their
teachers' perceptions about them in daily classroom
interactions. Such research may reveal more information
about how students apply their understanding to a
situation or experience, which in turn may explain the way
they think their teacher thinks of them.
Sainsbury (1992) states that the individual's
perspective constitutes the fundamental prerequisites for
communication. She asserts that it is the responsibility
of the teacher to provide a learning environment in which
misunderstandings are minimized. According to Sainsbury
(1992), if the goal of education is "understanding on the

26
part of the students, it must be education by means of
meeting of perspectives." (p.114)
Darley and Fazio (1980) discussed how individuals
actively construct and interpret each other's behavior
based on their ongoing social interactions and on
information they might have about each other. They suggest
that individuals make personal or situational inferences to
interpret each other's behavior. If, for example, a
student accepts the teacher's beliefs about him/her, that
student might adjust his/her behavior to reflect the
teacher's beliefs. An interesting question here is "At
what point do children begin to make reasons for theirs and
their teachers' behavior?"
Wingfield and Harold's work (1992) and Weinstein's and
her colleaques' work (Weinstein 1985, 1989) suggest that
"relations between teacher beliefs and student self¬
perceptions exist quite early on in elementary school, but
to date we know less about how students actually interpret
the messages they receive from teachers" (Wingfield &
Harold, 1992, p.114). A clearer understanding of the
participants in classroom research can eventually help
those participants to understand each other more fully
(Morine-Dershimer, 1985).
How students perceive their assigned school tasks
influences their motivation to learn and their perceptions

27
of themselves as learners (Ames, 1992). Marshall (1994),
in her study on children's understanding of academic tasks,
argues that a methodology that unfolds children's
understanding of classroom events (e.g., observations,
interviews) may provide researchers with a new perspective
of how students learn. Such a perspective might help
teachers reflect on their classroom practices (Marshall,
1992) . Marshall (1994) calls for more studies of how
children understand their classroom world, more in-depth
studies with a greater number of students, in order to
document in detail potential changes in children's
understanding over time and contexts.
During the past two decades, researchers have paid
increasing attention to students' perceptions of schooling
as a means of evaluating educational efforts and programs
(Klein, Kantor, & Fernie, 1988; Levine & Wang, 1983;
Weinstein, 1983; Wittrock, 1986). Duke (1977) postulated
that students' perceptions of what happens to and around
them in school provide helpful information to researchers
and practitioners.
Lisa Wing (1995) used qualitative methods of
participant observation and in-depth interviews to explore
kindergarten, first and second-grade students' perceptions
of classroom activities such as work and play. Data
indicated that young children negotiate meaning from the

28
events, situations, and interactions in their classrooms,
and in doing so they form a framework around which they
understand what they do in school.
Wing (1995) observed children in their actual
classrooms for a year and conducted in-depth interviews
with 14 children from each classroom. Constant comparative
method and taxonomic analysis revealed information about
relationships among patterns in children's perceptions of
work and play. This study showed that children considered
activities to be work or play if the activities were
obligatory or not. Work involved any activities that were
designed or directed by teachers. Work also involved any
activities about which teachers had certain expectations of
the outcomes of the children's efforts. Any activity that
required no specific product as an outcome or that the
teacher was not directly involved in was considered to be
play. Any activity that could be abandoned at will was
characterized as play, but the need to finish an activity
was perceived as work.
Older children characterized activities "in between"
working and playing (Wing, 1995). Children's perceptions
were not entirely consistent with those of the researchers
and teachers. Play was not work. Children were able to
pick up subtle messages from the classroom teacher and
context in constructing their views of work and play.

29
"Work is what you want, play is what I want." (Wing, 1995,
p.243) .
Bruno (1995) examined at-risk high school students'
perceptions of school. He found that the students who
participated in his study did not perceive themselves as
being connected to school or society, and that they
perceived their time in school as "doing time" in the
classroom. The findings in his study indicated that at-
risk students preferred nondirected, time-consuming
activities (i.e., hanging out, video games, watching TV,
etc.). An interesting finding in this study is that the
at-risk students showed a lack of recognition and
connectedness between past, present, and future events in
their lives. Students' perceptions of school (i.e., "doing
time") affected not only their attitudes toward school, but
carried implications for their success in school, learning,
and future.
Levy, Wubbels, and Brekelmans (1992) examined the
relationship between characteristics of students and
teachers and their perceptions of teacher communication
style. There was a wide discrepancy between students' and
teachers' perceptions of teacher communication style. In
addition, there was a wide discrepancy between both
students' and teachers' view of reality and teachers’
ideals. Although this study is not directly related to

30
students' self-perceptions and meta-perceptions, its
findings carry implications about discrepancies between
teacher and student perceptions. These findings stress the
need for studying students1 perspectives and including them
as part of teachers' reflective practice.
The studies reviewed in this section have contributed
to our knowledge of the role of students' perceptions in
the classroom. Despite these valuable contributions, and
their view of students' perceptions mediating students'
achievement, there remain questions about the ways in which
students define and assign meaning to their classroom
experiences and their definitions of self and others.
Students' "Voices" in the Classroom
Studies about students' construction of meaning in the
classroom are reviewed in the following section. Evidence
will be presented about students' understanding of gender,
schooling, reading and writing, language and literacy, and
knowledge.
Sociolinguists (Cook-Gumperz 1986; Green & Allexsaht-
Snider, 1990; Green & Bloome, 1983; Green, Kantor, &
Rogers, 1991; Green & Wallat, 1981a; Green & Weade, 1987,
1990; Weade & Green, 1986) have described the complexities
of language and culture in the classroom and have shown
that little is known about how the child as listener

31
interprets the language of the classroom culture, how
personhood and identity are constructed within and across
particular cultural groups.
Kantor, Davies, Fernie, & Murray (1994) investigated,
both in America and Australia, how children understand what
it means to be gendered, as they also try to fit in the
cultural role of student and peer in preschool classrooms.
Using multiple ethnographic methods (i.e., field notes,
video recordings, and interviews) they found that children
were capable of negotiating their memberships as students,
peers, and gendered persons within their classroom
contexts.
Children became gendered students and peers through
interpreting the "fine print" of daily discourse and
interaction and by the positions made available and taken
up by both adults and children. They were collaborative
and constructive in creating their social worlds (Kantor,
et al., 1994) .
The ethnographic approach--adopted and adapted by all
of the above researchers—to the study of students'
perspectives reveal that knowledge in schools is personally
and socially constructed and that learning is fundamentally
a matter of inquiry and interpretation rather than
memorization of facts (Yeager, Floriani, & Green, 1995).

32
The above studies share a common interest in
understanding students' emic, or insider, views of
schooling and understandings of their worlds (Andrade &
Moll, 1993) and recognize that children's interpretations
of their experiences are valid in and of themselves
(Andrade, 1995). Andrade (1995), in her study of life in
elementary schools, recommends the use of participant
observation and dialogue journals for researchers who wish
to learn from people (Spradley, 1980). She advocates that
children are active agents in the creation of their social
world and states that
we cannot understand adult-child relationships within
the home, school, and community without understanding
the children's community (Andrade, 1995, p.176).
Dahl (1995) observed, listened to, and analyzed inner-
city children's reading and writing in kindergarten and
first grade classrooms in her efforts to understand young
children's early reading and writing experiences in school.
The results of her studies (Dahl, 1993; Dahl & Freppon,
1994; Dahl, Purcell-Gates, & McIntyre, 1989; Purcell-Gates
& Dahl, 1991) show that children connect what they
experience in school with who they think they are: i.e.,
their efforts, knowledge, and things they are interested
in. Her work suggests that researchers and educators
become attentive to what children value as learners and

33
carefully consider their perspectives "if we are to
genuinely support their learning." (Dahl, 1995).
The Santa Barbara Discourse Group (1992) studied how
students and teachers construct their social worlds in the
classroom. They argue that there is a need for unique
research methodologies that are developed specifically to
address the nature of students1 learning processes in the
classroom process. Although their work has focused in the
use of language, literacy, social construction of student
and teacher roles and identity, their efforts to explore
students' "voices" have stimulated research in students'
perspectives of classroom life. The definitions of self
and others that students and teachers construct are
reflected in the process and content of their interactions,
the access to classroom resources, and the goals of the
participants within the interactions (Green, Kantor, &
Rogers, 1990; Collins & Green, 1990).
Denny Taylor (1993) advocates that in order to
construct effective evaluation programs for students and
schools, more research needs to be done to understand
students' perspectives:
To evaluate, we need to build descriptions of children
as they participate in the social construction of
their own environments. The ways in which we develop
our explanations should be analytic and well trained
(Taylor, 1993, p.171).

34
Taylor (1993) examined a number of elementary school
age children's points of view through participant
observations, children's written stories and analysis of
literature, children's journals, and interviews. She
viewed a child's point of view as a source of knowledge for
key educational decision-making. Her rich observations and
ethnographic portraits of the learners' world provide
support for her argument that designing appropriate
curriculum, instruction, and assessment requires that we
understand the complex ways children construct their own
literacy and learning environments in their everyday
classroom lives.
Taylor (1993) stresses the need to view students as
informants and to intimately know the environments in which
their knowledge is constructed. She calls for inviting
students' perspectives to shape our evaluations of their
performance and education in general and highlights the
point that when examining students' perceptions,
researchers should be concerned not only with how closely
students come to their teacher's actual perceptions of
them, but should be more concerned with how they construct
their perceptions and how they formulate meaningful
classroom experiences.
Lytle and Cochran-Smith (1992) state that it is the
teachers' expertise that creates significant ways of

35
knowing the particular complexities of their students'
everyday classroom experiences, the ways students
participate in problem solving situations, and how their
students' learning can be supported in school. Through
their social interactions, teachers and students construct
classroom life and opportunities for academic and
interpersonal learning (Bloome & Greene, 1984; Cochran-
Smith, 1984).
Students and teachers negotiate what counts as
knowledge--subject, interpersonal, social--in the classroom
and how knowledge is generated, challenged, and evaluated
(Cochran-Smith, 1993). If researchers and educators are to
better understand how students' ideas about self, others,
and learning are constructed in school, they need to be
examining students' learning and their social world from
within and across the student's individual and shared
perspectives (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1992; Taylor, 1991,
1993) .
An interesting question arises as a result of the
above perspective and findings: "How is a researcher
supposed to intimately know the perspective and world of a
learner unless that researcher observes, participates in,
and asks the learner to express--verbally or in written
form--his/her view of the everyday classroom world?"
Taylor (1991) states that "If we really want to know about

36
the children in our classrooms, ethnographic observations
in classrooms can tell us more than any test." (p.18)
Sociolinguistic research has helped make visible the
ways that communities of learners socially construct
understandings. The above research has shown that learning
from students' voices is not just a matter of handing a
student a survey and asking him/her to fill it in.
Learning from our student voices--in the fullest
sense-- requires major shifts on the part of teachers,
students, and researchers in the ways of thinking and
feeling about the issues of knowledge, language, and
power (Oldfather, 1995, p.87).
The studies reviewed in this section have contributed
to our knowledge of children's construction of meaning and
knowledge and have directed and stimulated much needed
naturalistic research on students' perspectives. Despite
their valuable contributions, there remain some gaps in our
understanding of how students assign meaning and interpret
their daily classroom experiences with their teachers.
Students' Meta-Perceotions
A final group of recent --and some not so recent--
studies are reviewed in this section to address the issue
of students' interpretations of their teachers' perceptions
of them. Evidence is presented about studies of students'
perceptions of teachers' feelings about them, students'
perceptions of teachers' evaluations and teachers' actual

37
evaluations, and students' self-concept of ability and
perceived evaluations of others.
What do others think of us? How do we know? When
people form an opinion about what others think of them, are
they likely to be right? How do their interpretations of
others' perceptions relate to their own self-perceptions?
The question of whether people know how others view them
has been of importance in clinical psychology, personality
psychology, social psychology, and sociology (Kenny, 1994).
In sociology, the symbolic interactionist approach
(Cooley 1902; Mead, 1934) proposes that our very selves are
an outcome of our perceptions of how others view us.
Cooley (1902) introduced the term "looking-glass self" to
describe the process by which a person looks into the eyes
and minds of significant others and imagines how they view
him/her.
Symbolic interactionists assume that "meta¬
perceptions"-- or "reflected appraisals"--are usually
accurate (Kenny, 1994). Evidence from clinical psychology
shows that depressed individuals are "right on target" with
their insistence that others do not like them (Lewinsohn et
al., 1980). Pozo, Carver, Wellens, & Scheier, (1991) have
shown that socially anxious people think that others take
an especially dim view of them.

38
When examining meta-perceptions, it is important to
consider that what others think of us is not always
available or clear. In sharing our views of others with
others, sometimes people are reluctant to convey bad news
(Swann, Stein-Seroussi & McNulty, 1992) or good news
(Felson, 1980). Moreover, some people may wish to see in
others what makes them feel good about themselves (Swann,
1990) .
Given the difficulty of monitoring and accurately
assessing others' views of people in social interactions,
people may use other sources of information to form "meta¬
perceptions" . Felson (1981, 1992) has suggested that
people may observe their own behavior, form their own
judgments about their own behavior, and assume that others
would judge that behavior as they do.
Kenny and DePaulo's study (1990) showed that there was
a strong positive correlation between how subjects viewed
themselves and how they thought others saw them. This
implies that people's perceptions of how others perceive
them are based primarily on their self-perceptions. This
is opposite of what the symbolic interactionists suggest.
They postulate that self-perceptions are products of the
beliefs about how the self is viewed by significant others;
self-perceptions are the reflection of what one "sees" in
other people's eyes.

39
The above studies suggest that people form
interpretations about others' views about them by depending
very little on feedback from others. Instead, they
directly observe their behavior and infer from it what
others might be thinking of them. According to Kenny
(1995), "symbolic interactionists have the direction of
causality exactly wrong, at least for adults." (p.176)
What are the implications of the above studies for
children and their meta-perception process? How about the
role of significant others and their views of children on
children's development of self? To take it a step farther,
how are self-perceptions developed? Are they developed in
isolation? Should researchers be more concerned with
accuracy rather than identifying the ways in which children
view others' perceptions of them and the implications of
their meta-perceptions for their personal, interpersonal,
academic, and social development?
The results of the preceding studies are not
generalizable to elementary school settings, for the
subjects in the reported studies were college
undergraduates. Work with other populations in a variety
of contexts may help researchers to learn if people know
what kinds of perceptions others form of them. Children
rely on parents, teachers, and others for feedback and
direction. How children interpret their significant

40
others' perceptions of them may help us improve student
learning and help students create positive identities.
Davidson and Lang (1960) examined the relationship
between fourth-grade through sixth-grade students'
perceptions of their teachers' feelings toward them and
students’ self-perception, academic achievement, and
classroom behavior. A significant positive relationship
(r=.82) between children's perceptions of their teachers'
feelings towards them and their self-perceptions was
reported. Phillips (1963) reported a close correspondence
between third-through sixth-grade students' perceptions of
their teachers' evaluations about them and the students'
self-evaluations (there was no correspondence for third
grade students and r=.57 for sixth grade students).
Brookover, Thomas, and Patterson (1964) showed that
students' self-concept of ability was significantly and
positively related with students' perceived evaluations of
their teachers perceptions about them.
On the other hand, another set of studies (Miyamoto &
Dornbush, 1956; Orpen & Bush, 1974; Quarantelli & Cooper,
1966; Sherwood, 1965; Walhood & Klopfer, 1971) suggest that
there is a minimum association between one's self-
perceptions and perceptions of others' evaluations because
people do not perceive others' perceptions accurately.
Calsyn and Kenny (1973) examined the relationship between

41
self-concept of ability and perceived evaluations of
others. They reported that there is no evidence that
perceived evaluations of others are causally predominant
over self-concept of ability. Instead, the actual
evaluations made by teachers are causally predominant over
perceived evaluations of others, self-concept of ability,
educational plans, and aspirations.
Conclusion
Although the studies reviewed in this chapter provide
evidence about the role of students' interpretations of
their teachers' perceptions about them for students' self¬
perceptions, there are a number of questions that still
remain unanswered. How do students construct their
interpretations of the teacher's perceptions about them?
What elements from their daily classroom interactions do
they select and how do they organize them to form an
interpretation? Do their interpretations affect their
classroom interactions with the teacher? If yes, how do
students' interpretations relate to their interactions with
the teacher in the social setting of the classroom?
The present study attempts to answer some of the above
questions by examining how fourth-grade students perceive
themselves and interpret their teachers' perceptions about
them in the class.

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Introduction
If one wishes to understand the term holy water,
one should not study the properties of water,
but rather the assumptions and beliefs of the
people who use it. That is, water derives its
meaning from those who attribute a special
essence to it.
Thomas S. Szasz, Ceremonial Chemistry (in
Krawthwohl, 1993, p. 311)
The word qualitative implies an emphasis on processes
and meanings that are not strictly examined or measured (if
measured at all) in terms of quantity, frequency, or
intensity. Qualitative research involves an interpretive,
naturalistic approach to understanding phenomena,
experiences, and meanings in individuals' lives (Denzin &
Lincoln, 1994; LeCompte, Millroy, & Preissle, 1992).
Qualitative researchers study things in their natural
settings, attempting to interpret phenomena in terms of the
meanings people bring to them. They pursue answers to
questions that emphasize how people's social experiences
are created and assigned meaning. This is in contrast to
quantitative research which stresses the measurement and
42

43
analysis of causal relationships between variables, not
processes (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994).
Guba (1990) argues that reality can never be
adequately understood or captured, only approximated
through multiple methods and well-developed evaluation
criteria. This kind of research is naturalistic,
observational, descriptive, open-ended, and in-depth
research. Why do such research to investigate students'
self-perceptions and interpretations of their teachers1
perceptions about them in the social setting of the
classroom? Such research will enable the researcher to
examine the inner experiences, perspectives, perceptions,
and interpretations of fourth-grade children, from the
point of view of the children, in their actual social
classroom settings.
In this study the researcher adopted and adapted a
symbolic interactionist perspective grounded in Blumer's
(1969) symbolic interactionism theory. Mead's work (1934)
was made popular by Blumer, who first constructed the term
"symbolic interactionism" in 1937. Blumer (1969) stated
three main principles: (a) people act toward things on the
basis of the meanings that those things have for them, (b)
the attribution of meaning to objects through symbols
(i.e., signs, language, gestures, or anything that conveys
meaning) is a continuous process, and (c) meaning is

44
of human lived experience, and posits that lived experience
is rooted in people's shared, intersubjective meanings,
interpretations, actions, and interactions (Blumer, 1969;
Mead, 1934; Prus, 1996).
Central to this approach is the notion that human life
is community life; it is intersubjective life in essence,
and it cannot be understood apart from the community or
context in which people live and operate on a daily basis
(Prus, 1996). People’s intersubjective realities are
constructed in social interactions through the individuals1
actions, perceptions, interpretations, and symbolic
meanings. People become reflective through interaction
with others and by taking the viewpoint of others with
respect to oneself (Prus, 1996).
Following Janesick's (1994) criteria for qualitative
design, this study was qualitative in the following ways:
(1) It was holistic: it looked at the larger picture
(children’s personal and interpersonal development in
school) and started with a search for understanding of the
whole (child-school). (2) It looked at relationships within
the social setting of the classroom (e.g., students' self¬
perceptions and their interpretations of teacher's
perceptions about them). (3) It focused on the personal,
face-to-face experiences (i.e., children's personal
interpretations of their daily classroom interactions with

45
the teacher). (4) It focused on understanding (rather than
predicting about) the social setting of two fourth-grade
classrooms. (5) It demanded the study of settings and their
participants over time. (6) It required equal amounts of
time and effort spent in the field and on analyzing the
data. (7) It required the researcher to become the research
instrument by observing and interviewing the participants.
(8) It incorporated ethical principles and informed consent
decisions. (9) It required ongoing analyses of the data.
(10) It required the researcher to acknowledge her role,
personal biases, and ideological preferences.
The primary focus of this study was to learn from
fourth-grade students how they perceive themselves and how
they interpret their teacher's perceptions about them in
class. In order to learn from them, the researcher
observed what they did (cultural behavior), listened to
what they said (cultural knowledge), collected their
written free responses (cultural artifacts), and went
beyond all these to discover what meaning they assigned to
their classroom experiences with the teacher (Spradley,
1980) .

46
The Setting
Description of Site
The study was conducted in two fourth-grade elementary
classrooms in a fairly large city in Florida. The school
was established in 1934 and was located in a working class
area. The 334 member student body was 69% Caucasian, 21%
African-American, 7% Hispanic, and 3% other. The school
population represented families from the lower to the upper
socio-economic groups.
In the school there were two classrooms each for
grades three through five, five for primary grades (first
grade and second grade combined), two for kindergarten, and
one pre-kindergarten classroom. Aside from self-contained
classroom teachers, there were also an art teacher, a music
teacher, a counselor, a curriculum specialist, a gifted and
academic resource teacher, a science teacher, a physical
education teacher, and a speech therapist. In addition to
classrooms, the physical facilities included a gymnasium;
an auditorium; a library; an art, music, and science room;
and a lunchroom/cafeteria.
Selection of Site
This study was conducted in two fourth-grade
classrooms. The selection of the classrooms was guided by
several criteria that reflected this project's objectives.

47
The criteria for classroom selection were as follows: (a)
two fourth-grade classrooms were chosen for purposes of
comparison. Also, children at the fourth-grade level can
handle abstract information more easily than at earlier
ages (Flavell, et. al, 1968; Piaget, 1970), are able to
take the perspective of the other (Damon, 1977, 1981;
Selman, 1980), have well-developed vocabulary, can go
beyond the information given (Damon, 1977, 1981; Selman,
1980), and the teacher is still an important socialization
agent in their lives (Higgins & Parsons, 1983). (b)
Classrooms in which students would have opportunities to
interact with the teacher in a number of ways throughout
the school day. (c) Teachers who would be comfortable
having a researcher in their classroom for an extensive
amount of time. No preexisting relationship or
acquaintance existed between the researcher and the two
participating teachers.
Entry and Access
Certain ethical research principles were considered in
order to insure the research was conducted in an ethical
manner. These principles involved protection of
participants, especially minors, confidentiality, and
participants' rights and obligations.

48
The researcher's first step prior to school entry was to
seek approval of the project from the University of Florida
Institutional Review Board. The form along with a copy of
the Teacher Consent Form, Parent Consent Form, and the
Child Assent Script were submitted in June, 1996 to the
Board (see Appendix A). After approval of the project by
the Board, in July 1996, the researcher contacted the
participating school's principal to set an appointment for
an initial meeting.
The meeting took place in August, 1996 at the school.
During the meeting an outline of the project (including a
description, purpose, significance, design, methods,
procedures, and a timeline) were presented to the
principal. In addition to the above, the researcher
explained her reasons for selecting fourth-grade and her
role in the classroom. The principal stated that she would
like both teachers to participate because they work as a
team. The principal was interested in the project and
showed great appreciation for the topic and the proposed
research. The researcher assured the principal that she
and the teachers, as well as the parents of the
participating students, would have access to the study's
findings.
The next step involved the completion and submission
of a similar form developed by the participating elementary

49
school for official approval of the project. The principal
wished to present the project to the two fourth-grade
teachers herself, and she gave the researcher her informal
permission to conduct the study in the school. The
principal contacted the researcher the following day and
informed her that the teachers were interested in the
project and were willing to have the study take place in
their classrooms. The researcher submitted the proposal
and other paperwork to the school's research office and
made arrangements to meet with each teacher individually.
During the meeting with the teachers the researcher
reviewed the project, its purpose, methodology, and
timeline. The researcher established that she would
observe each classroom for 10 hours each week until the
December holiday and that she would need to do interviews
with some of the children and the teachers. In addition,
the idea of free responses was introduced, and the teachers
suggested that the writing be done during the regular
journal writing time. It was agreed that the free
responses would start toward the end of September and would
end before the December holiday. A tentative schedule was
put together by the researcher, and a detailed monthly
schedule was given to both teachers during the first week
of observations. Teacher consent forms were given to the
teachers. In addition, parent consent letters were given

50
to the teachers, who sent them home the same week, and
observations began the following week. The teachers
provided the researcher with a weekly classroom schedule.
Participants
Sixty fourth-grade students and two fourth-grade
teachers were the participants in this study. The main
focus of this study was on the students' self-perceptions
and their interpretations of the teachers' perceptions
about them in class. The teachers were also used as
"informants" because of their classroom interactions with
the students and their knowledge of the classroom dynamics.
According to Spradley, "Informants are a source of
information. [T]he ethnographer [also] hopes to learn to
use the native language in the way the informants do"
(1979, p.25). The teachers provided information on how
they interacted with students and the means they used to
inform the students about their perceptions of them in
class.
The student body of this school reflects the
population of the state of Florida in terms of racial,
ethnic, and income distribution. All 60 students enrolled
in fourth-grade participated in this study. There were 15
girls and 15 boys in each class. There were 18 children
identified as "gifted" who were distributed across the two

51
classes (10 from class A--seven girls, and three boys, and
eight from class B—three girls and five boys). One boy
from class B received language, speech, and Title 1
services. One boy from class A and two girls from class B
received services for severe learning disabilities, and
four children--a boy and a girl from each class--received
help with remedial work. The above information was
provided by the school's office and was based on results
from standardized testing, intelligence testing, and
diagnostic testing.
The teachers were two females, each with a Master's
degree in Education and four years of teaching experience.
They worked as a team; they planned and developed their
instructional objectives together, wrote parent letters
together, discussed their ideas together, decided on what
books to order and use for literature or mathematics and
borrowed and shared materials and supplies. They were also
actively involved with conferences, curriculum committees,
and presentations.
Their relationship with the researcher was one of
warmth, openness, and trust. The teachers welcomed the
researcher in their classrooms, invited her to come, stay,
or go as she pleased. They made the researcher feel
welcome from the beginning of the study. Many times they
asked the researcher her opinion about things like

52
welcome from the beginning of the study. Many times they
asked the researcher her opinion about things like
teaching, education in general, or what she thought about
classroom activities. Occasionally, the teachers allowed
the researcher to assist them by copying materials for them
or helping out with classroom parties and festivities.
A full-time female intern was in each class until
November 15. The interns were not asked to participate in
this study because the focus of the study was on what the
students thought their regular classroom thought of them.
The teachers were in charge of their classrooms, and were
present when the interns were teaching. The teachers made
all curriculum and instructional decisions.
Classroom Organization
The studied classrooms were adjacent. A small office
separated the two classrooms. This office was used by both
fourth-grade teachers, as well as by the reading specialist
and speech therapist when needed. A telephone, desks, a
computer, and many planning materials were located in that
room. Teachers and academic resource personnel had access
to each fourth-grade classroom through that room. Children
and adults (academic resources personnel, high school and
college student volunteers) frequently passed from one
classroom to the next. Small groups of children who needed

53
The fourth-grade classrooms were similar in size and
arrangement. For the purposes of this study the researcher
refers to the two social settings as classroom A and
classroom B. As shown in Figures 1 and 2 (see pages 54 and
55), the classrooms were typical of many elementary rooms.
A large dry erase board lined two-thirds of one long wall;
the remainder of the wall was lined by a regular chalkboard
used for posting key information from class discussions
during writer's workshop and Florida history, and graphic
organizers (i.e., KWLs (a type of graphic organizer),
summary grids) on units they studied as a class during
literature time. Both teachers used the dry erase board
for announcements, daily schedules, homework, class goals,
and teaching. Individual cubbie-holes lined both halves of
another wall, while cupboards used to store books, rewards,
and supplies, lined the other half.
One large bulletin board, on which children's work
(e.g., stories, art, literature illustrations) was
displayed, lined half of the third wall in each room. In
classroom A there was a very large world map next to the
bulletin board, and in classroom B, there was a chalkboard
that was used for displaying a Florida state map and
colorful, motivating posters reading. The North side of
each room consisted of large windows. Children sat at

fC* W/ ‘kVLVte htOJi
54
Figure 1. Floor Plan of Classroom A

OOUTH 0O/D
55
Figure 2. Floor Plan of Classroom B
i/ojv
56
individual desks, the organization of which was shifted
many times during the first half of the school year.
The teachers' preferred seating plan consisted of two
to four (Teacher A) and four to six (Teacher B) desks
pushed together to form a rectangular surface. Some
students' desks were grouped and others' desks (seven to
nine) formed a long horseshoe arrangement. Both teachers
used a mixture of seating arrangements to accommodate
individual student needs. The seating arrangements were
determined by group dynamics and teacher and student needs.
The groups were heterogeneously formed in terms of gender,
race, or ability. Their structure was flexible which
allowed the teacher to move students as needed. The
seating plans in both rooms facilitated interactions among
the students.
Although students spent much of their day at their
desks, they worked at other locations too. Students were
placed in different groups (ranging from four to six per
group) for language arts, mathematics, social studies,
games, and art. Sometimes students were allowed to work
outside at the picnic table. Two large, adult size, tables
(one circular and one rectangular) were in the back of each
room. Those tables served as work stations for different

57
groups or for students who were sent by the teacher to work
alone because of misbehavior.
The aforementioned area of the classroom was known as
the "outer circle," a place where a student could "cool
down," and put himself/herself together before re-joining
the regular class activities. While in "outer circle," a
student would at times take his/her work and complete it
alone. Students at times would complete their work, take
tests, and follow along from those tables; at other times
some students would just sit at the table. The teacher
decided when a student would move from "outer circle" back
to his/her desk and vice versa. At other times children
would go to that area to select a book from the classroom
library, and during recess that area was also used for some
students to catch up with their homework.
In addition, parent volunteers used the "outer circle"
to file students' work and school/teacher announcements in
the student folders. This was usually done on Fridays.
Student volunteers also used it occasionally to work with
children who needed help with their work. The researcher
also was seated in that area of the classroom and moved
only when children needed to use the tables for group work.
In each classroom there was a "time-out" desk located
in the back of the room, approximately six feet behind the
"outer-circle" area, by the back door. Students were sent

58
to the "time-out" to isolate themselves from the rest of
the class, to think about their behavior, and to write a
letter or apology to whoever else was involved in the
event. A computer station, with three computers and one
printer, was located on one side each classroom. Students
used the computers during writer's workshop to publish
their work, and during recess to play games. Teachers used
the computers to write their own tests, outlines, handouts,
parent letters, for bulletin board messages, and so forth.
Commercially-produced posters and book covers from
different children's books were taped on cupboard doors.
Posters of different sport teams were taped on the windows.
The inside of each room's front door was decorated with
student names and motivational messages in classroom A, and
student names with sports messages in classroom B.
The classroom atmosphere in both rooms was comfortable
and positive. Children were encouraged to interact with
each other, go to the back and work alone when others were
distracting them, pick a book from their classroom
"library" when they had extra time, or help a student in
need. Children were also involved in classroom activities.
They collected or passed out papers, helped the teacher
grade the class's "Mad Minute" sheets (timed mathematics
facts exercises); helped clean the board, hamster cage, and
the classroom; run copies of papers, passed out rewards,

59
helped others with work; delivered papers to the office;
led the line to the cafeteria, art, music, science,
physical education, and back; took notes about who talked
or misbehaved in line; and, helped run the class meetings.
These job roles and responsibilities were welcomed by the
children who seemed to execute their jobs and
responsibilities carefully. Parents and parent and student
volunteers visited the classrooms from time to time.
To better acquaint the reader with the classrooms'
schedule, a typical day is summarized. The teachers
arrived at school at 7:00 a.m. and from that time until the
children came in at 8:00 a.m., they would talk with each
other, copy papers, work on the computer, and take care of
other school responsibilities. The children lined up
according to grade in the ramp (where most parents dropped
them off) and walked to the classrooms as a group. School
supervision was provided. Many mornings the teachers went
up to the ramp and walked back with their classes.
The daily schedule along with a challenge
(mathematics, language, or geography) were always on the
board prior to the children's arrival. Once students
arrived in class, they put their backpacks in their cubbie-
holes and put their homework assignment sheets along with
their homework in the designated trays behind the teachers'
desks. The teachers took daily attendance and hot lunch

60
count. The folders were picked up by school personnel.
After the daily school announcements, which were sometimes
broadcast over the loud speaker and other times through
television, the pledge to the flag, and the daily
challenge, the regular class activities begun.
Mathematics was taught on a daily basis, with
mathematics games on Fridays. Social studies was taught on
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.
Art was taught on Friday, physical education in Tuesday and
Thursday, and Music on Wednesday. Fourth-grade had
Language Arts (Spelling, Reading--Literature Groups--,
Writing Workshop) for two and a half hours every day except
Wednesday. Library visits and class meetings were held on
Wednesday, as needed. Little Buddies, an organizational
format in which fourth-graders were paired with younger
children to read a book, took place every other week.
Lunch was from 10:55 a.m. to 11:25 a.m., followed by
recesses (11:25 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The children were
dismissed at 2:30 p.m. and the teachers, usually, did not
leave until 5:00 p.m..

61
Research Methods
Overview
Students' self-perceptions and interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them were explored
through a qualitative and naturalistic research approach.
Spradley (1980) has developed a systematic set of
procedures designed specifically for the exploration of
meaning, called the Developmental Research Sequence. This
particular model follows a cyclical pattern of
investigation: the researcher selects a project, raises
questions, collects data, makes a record, analyzes data,
and writes the report. The sequence of questioning,
collecting, recording and analyzing was repeated throughout
the study. Data analysis was an integral part of the
research cycle.
Questions are the fundamental element of this pattern
of investigation as they direct the process of data
collection. In this study, not only were questions posed
prior to the study, but new questions were formulated
throughout the research period. The researcher began the
study without any precise hypotheses about degree of
relationships, or cause-effect relationships between
students' self-perceptions and their interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in class. Instead,
the researcher formulated some "foreshadowed questions"

62
(Wolcott, 1987) to direct her investigation. The following
research questions were an outcome of the researcher's
interests, experiences, and theory (Erickson, 1986):
1. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
themselves? What is the content of their self¬
perceptions?
2. In what manner do fourth-grade students perceive
their teacher's perceptions about them? What is
the content of their interpretations?
3. What kind of information do fourth-grade
students use to form interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them in class?
4. What is the role of classroom interactions in
the construction of students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them in class?
While these questions guided the overall direction of
this study, other questions also were asked during the
course of the research. Descriptive, structural, and
contrast questions led to different kinds of data in the
field. These questions can be thought of as a funnel (see
Figure 3).
Descriptive questions were broad questions used to get
an overview of the classroom settings and what went on in
those settings: i.e., "Who are the children in this
classroom, What do they do, How is the classroom set up?".
These questions enabled the researcher to get an overview
of the two unfamiliar settings.

63
Descriptive
Questions
Structural
Questions
Contrast
Questions
Figure 3. Ethnographic Questions (Spradley 1980,
p. 64)

64
Structural questions followed after an initial data
analysis to add more depth and focus to previously
identified actions, interactions, patterns of behavior, and
events in the classrooms. For instance, it was found that
some students asked more questions of the teacher during
classroom discussions. A structural question posed by the
researcher was, "How do students get information from the
teacher which they may in turn use to form interpretations
about the teacher's perceptions of them in class?" The
researcher also observed that some children were called on
by the teacher more often than others to participate in
classroom discussions. As a result, the following
structural question was formed "Which students get called
on more often to participate in classroom discussions?".
These and other structural questions were constructed
repeatedly and the search for supporting evidence helped
form even more focused observations, which in turn helped
discover the specifics of every classroom.
After further analysis and repeated observations in
the field, the researcher was able to narrow her
investigation even further to make more selective
observations. Contrast questions were the vehicle for such
observations; they enabled the researcher to look for the
existence of any differences among specific categories.
According to Spradley (1980), this is the stage where

65
discovered differences are and more focused observations or
talk to informants about these differences is required.
Questions such as "What do you think about my story," or
"Why do I have to re-write this," led to selective
observations in which the researcher analyzed her field
notes and conducted additional observations for differences
in the kinds of information students received from the
teacher when asking the above two questions.
Methods and Procedures
The researcher's goal was to examine and describe (a)
how fourth-grade students perceived themselves, (b) how
they interpreted their teacher's perceptions about them in
class, (c) the kinds of information they used to construct
their perceptions and interpretations, and (d) the nature
of student-teacher classroom interactions. Perceptions are
mental processes and thus are not directly assessed or
easily observed as tangible behaviors. "In-the-head"
analysis of human behavior is beyond our capability
(Taylor, 1993). Because the meanings that individuals
construct are never directly observable, researchers may
infer meanings from observing the behavior of participants
or interview participants directly about the meanings they
ascribe to events or people (McDermott & Roth, 1978;
Morine-Dershimer, 1985).

66
We have to allow children to become our informants,
get to know them in their actual settings, build adequate
descriptions of their environments, and focus on children's
everyday experiences as they are expressed by the children
themselves (Taylor, 1993).
One of the most challenging tasks in doing research is
the selection of appropriate methods. Choosing methods that
will enable researchers to deal with their problem and
questions effectively is "an act of judgment" (Shulman
1981, p.12). Three methods were used in this study to
collect data: participant observation, interviews, and free
responses. Multiple methods were chosen because they
allowed the researcher to: (a) ask a range of questions
about the participants' perspectives in their actual
classroom settings, (b) examine how students formed
interpersonal perceptions, and (c) not impose restrictions
on the form and expressiveness of the participants'
answers.
Denzin (1970) advocated the use of multiple methods,
or triangulation, which is defined as the "combination of
methodologies in the study of the same phenomena" (Denzin
1970, p.279). The use of multiple methods of data
collection reduces threats to validity in that weaknesses
of one method are offset by strength of another.
Triangulation enables the researcher to collect data that

67
of one method are offset by strength of another.
Triangulation enables the researcher to collect data that
may explain why data are different or contradictory from
different sources about the same phenomenon. Data
triangulation (the use of a variety of data sources in a
study) and methodological triangulation (the use of
multiple methods to study a phenomenon) were used in this
study.
Participant Observation
Participant observation is the most common data
collection method in qualitative studies. It enables one
to describe what goes on in a setting, who or what is
involved, when, where, and why things happen in social
situations. Jorgensen (1989) states that participant
observation is excellent for studying processes,
relationships among people and events, organization of
events and continuities and patterns in social contexts.
One of the greatest strengths of this method is the ease
through which researchers can gain entree to settings.
Because of its relative unobtrusiveness observation can be
conducted inconspicuously (Webb et al., 1966). Another
strength of participant observation is the minimal
potential for generating observer effects because of the
naturalness of the observer's role and the lack of

68
noticeably obtrusive of all research techniques (Phillips,
1985) .
Participant observation is especially appropriate
when: (a) little is known about a phenomenon; (b) the
research problem is concerned with human meanings and
interactions viewed from the insider's perspective (i.e.,
students' self-perceptions and interpretations of teacher's
perceptions about them in class); (c) the researcher is
able to gain access to an appropriate setting; and (d) the
research problem can be addressed by qualitative data
collected by direct observation and other means relevant to
the studied setting (Jorgensen, 1989).
People make sense of the world around them in their
daily interactions; they give meaning to their experiences
and interact on the basis of these assigned meanings
(Blumer, 1969; Denzin, 1978; Schütz, 1967). The insider's
perspectives are not directly accessible to outsiders, or
non members of a particular social setting. Thus, it is
impossible for a researcher to obtain a well-developed and
elaborate understanding of the participants' perspectives
until the researcher understands the culture in which
meanings are constructed (Hall, 1976; Spradley, 1980).
Participant observation aims to understand, uncover, and
reveal the meanings people use to make sense out of their
everyday lives in their everyday, natural environments.

69
The methodology of participant observation requires
that the researcher become directly involved in the
participants' lives in order to understand their world from
the standpoint of an insider. Human meaning and
interaction is approached through sympathetic introspection
(Cooley [1930] 1969). Participant involvement may range
from a marginal role to the performance of an insider role.
In this study the researcher's role was overt (with the
knowledge of participants). Blumer (1982) states that the
use of covert (without insider knowledge) observation as a
method is "neither ethically justified, nor practically
necessary" (p.217), and more attention should be given to
access as "overt insider."
Both teachers in this study were aware of the
researcher's purposes, and the students were told, by the
researcher and the teachers, that the researcher wanted to
determine how children think and what are the things they
do in fourth-grade. The researcher's role was described to
the students as "the lady who asks questions and who writes
a lot." Many times during the study the students had to
reminded of the researcher's role and purpose in their
classroom, especially when children would ask the
researcher to help them on assignments. Toward the end of
the study, the teachers occasionally asked the researcher
to help some students, always at the back of the room in

70
"outer circle," with spelling or homework. Children
usually asked the researcher for help with assignments
during recess and not during the regular classroom
instruction.
The researcher's degree of involvement varied both
with participants and classroom activities. Spradley
(1980) has proposed five types of participation that range
along a continuum of involvement (see Table 3-1):
Table 3-1
Degrees of Participant Involvement.
Non-
Participation
Passive
Participation
Moderate
Participation
Active
Participation
Complete
Participation
• Researcher
has no
involvement
with the
people or the
activities
studied.
• Researcher
does not
participate
or interact
with other
people to a
great extent.
Observes and
records
what's going
on (Low
Involvement).
• Researcher
seeks to
balance
between being
an insider
and an
outsider.
• Researcher
seeks to do
what other
people are
doing in
order to
better
understand
the culture.
• Researcher
becomes an
ordinary
participant.

71
The researcher's participation in the two studied
settings was passive (Spradley, 1980). During the first
month of the project, the researcher rarely interacted with
students inside or outside the classroom. She was
stationed by the teachers in the classrooms’ "outer circle"
--the outskirts of the room--where she recorded observed
activities.
Participant observers usually keep a log of activities
and experiences, and also written records or tape-record
observations while in the field or shortly after
observations have been completed (Jorgensen, 1989). Action
in the field has been recorded by way of audio, video,
photographic equipment or computers. Researchers have also
used questionnaires, formal or informal interviews, and
document collection along with direct observations (e.g.,
Fine, 1987; Hochschild, 1983; Wallis, 1977). In this
study, the researcher used an audio tape-recorder and hand¬
written field notes to record observed activities. She
also used formal and informal interviews and free responses
in order to better understand the participants’ perceptions
and interpretations. These strategies will be discussed in
a subsequent section.
Each entry included a date, time, event, setting, and
a detailed description of the activity and the participants
involved. Field notes were kept in a field notebook which

72
also included the researcher's comments (theoretical,
methodological, personal notes) and reactions to observed
events. Field notes or audio tapes were not shared with
the participants.
The researcher avoided any verbal or non-verbal
communication with the children and ignored those who tried
to get her attention by either staring, smiling at her, or
trying to talk to her while in the classroom. As the study
progressed, the interactions between students and the
researcher increased and the researcher alternated between
remaining at a fixed location and moving around the
classrooms.
Although the earliest observations were targeted
toward a general description of the classrooms and the
participants, the majority of the observations were
directed toward student-teacher interactions and
activities. Although the children were observed
interacting with other teachers (i.e., science teacher, art
teacher, physical education teacher, reading specialist),
the sole focus of the observations was on the interactions
and events involving the "regular" classroom teacher and
the students in their "regular" classroom settings.
The researcher observed (and tape-recorded) 190 hours
of classroom activity over a four-month period in the Fall
of 1996. Each classroom was observed for half a day twice

73
a week (approximately 10 hours per week) for four months.
The researcher provided the teachers with a monthly
schedule—developed with the teachers--of her visits,
planned activities, and interview schedules. Field notes
were analyzed by the researcher.
Interviews
Formal and informal interviews were used in this study
to get a deeper understanding of the participants1
perspectives (Spradley, 1980). All interviews were audio-
taped and occurred with students and the two teachers.
Eight children from class A (two boys and six girls) and
thirteen children from class B (five boys and 10 girls)
were interviewed. The researcher worked out a schedule
that met each parent's schedule, and the children were
interviewed at three different times (November, December
1996, and January 1997). Interviews with the children were
held during after-school hours in the school library
conference room. Teachers also were interviewed three
times in their respective classrooms after school hours.
Formal interviews employ a structured schedule of
questions that allows the researcher to ask specific
questions in exactly the same way with different
participants. Formal interviews produce a highly uniform
set of data (Jorgensen, 1989). The researcher allowed a

74
certain flexibility in her interviews in order to allow
children and teachers to clarify, elaborate on their
answers, and even talk about events or things they were
interested in. The interviews took the form of "guided
conversations" (see Lofland, 1971) . Interviewees spoke
freely and in their own words about their perspectives and
even volunteered unanticipated information (see Appendices
E and F).
Informal interviews are casual, free flowing
conversations that allow the researcher to interview
participants without asking the same questions in the same
manner. Informal interviews were recorded by paper and
pencil, and they occurred when the researcher asked
questions of the children during the course of participant
observation. For instance, when children moved to form
temporary work groups the researcher asked, "What are you
doing?", "What do you think about this activity?" The
informal interviews with the teacher took place during
periods when the students were not in the room (i.e., lunch
break, after school). The teachers talked eagerly about
classroom activities, frequently asked the researcher what
she thought about an observed event, and talked about
children's progress or specific reactions to classroom
events. These questions were elicited by an observed event
and were useful for discerning different viewpoints held by
the participants.

75
Audio-recordings are excellent for taking and making
notes, for recording verbal interaction and interviews.
Recorders are readily available, come in different sizes,
are relatively inexpensive, and easy to operate. On the
other hand, they are obtrusive especially at the early
stages of entry in a setting. In this study, a tape-
recorder was used three weeks after observations had
started. The researcher wanted to get first familiar with
the setting and allow the participants to get used to her
presence in the classroom. A small tape-recorder was used
in this study and it was placed by the researcher's
notebook on the "outer circle" table. Some children
occasionally visited the researcher in the back of the room
and spoke right in front of the tape-recorder, but other
than that the presence of the tape-recorder was normalized.
Students and teachers forgot after a brief period that the
recorder was running; they took its presence for granted.
In spite of the advantages of recorders for making
notes, ultimately the tapes demand hours of transcription
for analysis. Tapes were transcribed and analyzed by the
researcher. The results of the analysis are discussed in
the following chapter.

76
Free Responses
Free response is a projective technique that has been
used extensively in personality and clinical research
(Chandler & Johnson, 1991). A person's productions
(verbal, written, or artistic) reflect his/her inner view
of the world, and a systematic examination of those
productions may help researchers learn something of the
individual's needs, desires, and interests, as well as
his/her perceptions of the significant others in his/her
world. An analysis of such productions may lead to a
better understanding of the individual (Chandler & Johnson,
1991) .
Free response or sentence completion tasks employ a
set of sentence stems to elicit oral or written responses.
They are particularly useful devices for getting
information on developmental aspects, interpersonal
relations, needs, and threats. Free responses are brief,
non threatening, and not different from other school-type
tasks with which children are familiar (Chandler & Johnson,
1991). They are especially useful with older children
(pre-adolescents and adolescents), "as children are often
suspicious and defensive in testing situations, and often
resist the more intensive methods of assessment." (Chandler
& Johnson, 1991, p.36).

77
All fourth-grade students were asked to write their
own free responses to the following steins:
1. "I Think I Am. .
2. "I Think Mrs./Ms. Thinks I Am. . .*
3. "I Would Like To Know What Mrs ./Ms . Thinks
About Me When I. . .*
Students were given one stem per week, repeated for
three months (October, November, December). The repetition
of the writings enabled the researcher to discover insights
and patterns and changes in the children's responses. The
writing took place usually on Fridays during students'
journal time. This activity was presented to students as a
time where they could share their personal thoughts about
themselves with the researcher and what they thought their
teacher thought of them in class. Children were encouraged
to write freely, not to worry about correct spelling of
words, and to ask the researcher if they had any questions.
It was emphasized that whatever students wrote was
confidential and private, and they were assured that their
teacher or any other teacher would not see their responses.
During this activity the teachers worked at their desks,
the computer, or sometimes were outside the classroom
taking care of administrative school matters. The teachers
never suggested what the children should write nor did they

78
help children with spelling or anything else having to do
with this activity.
Manila folders were provided in order to prevent the
sharing of ideas. Writing paper was inserted in each
folder. Children wrote their names on the folder,
decorated it, and some even wrote "Confidential
Information," or "Private: Stay out of it," or "My Personal
Folder" on the outside. Each stem was written on the board
by the researcher who also read it aloud and then asked the
children to copy it on their paper. This activity lasted
for 10 to 15 minutes. No child was forced to write,
although the teachers encouraged all students to do so.
The amount and nature of responses varied from child to
child, with some children writing a word or two to others
writing a paragraph or two, and some others writing a page
or two.
Free writing allowed children to express their
personal thoughts in their own way; it allowed them to
"speak" for themselves. This technique provided the
researcher with information about the content, process, and
sources of information children used to form self¬
perceptions and interpretations about their teacher's
perceptions of them in class.

79
Methodological Limitations
There are some inherent problems in participant
observation that have to be addressed in order for the
researcher to have confidence in the quality of the data
collected. The issue of validity and reliability
constitutes one of the chief criticisms against participant
observation (Adler & Adler, 1992). Observers whose
research is solely based on their observations and do not
have the participants' quotes to enrich and confirm the
researchers1 analyses are susceptible to more biases from
subjective interpretations of situations (Denzin, 1989;
Webb et al., 1966).
Observations conducted systematically and repeatedly
over time are more credible than those gathered according
to personal patterns (Denzin, 1989). In this study, the
researcher conducted lengthy observations in the two
classroom settings and also investigated the participants'
perspectives on various situations. Direct observation
when added to other research can yield depth and breadth,
and it can enhance a study's consistency and validity
(Adler & Adler, 1992).
Other problems inherent in participant observation
are: (a) effects of the observer's presence or activities
on the phenomenon being observed; (b) effects from the

80
the inability of the observer to fully witness and record
all relevant aspects of the studied phenomenon (McCall &
Simmons, 1969). Bogdan and Biklen (1982) state that
"qualitative researchers attempt. . . to objectively study
the subjective states of their subjects" (p.42). The
qualitative researcher's main goal is to add knowledge and
not to pass judgment on a phenomenon or setting.
Qualitative researchers seek to limit the observer's
biases, since all researchers are affected by observers'
bias (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982) .
The researcher guarded against her own biases by
recording numerous lengthy field notes and by including the
participants themselves in the study of this phenomenon.
The researcher also worked with participants who were
accustomed to having observers and visitors in their rooms,
such as parent volunteers, student teachers, student
volunteers, and aids. The fact that the participants were
familiar with having other people in their classroom made
the researcher's presence less intimidating. In addition,
the lengthy observation period (September to December)
enabled the researcher to become part of the classroom.
After the last interviews were completed, in January, the
children asked the researcher if she was planning to come
back and if they would ever see her again.

81
The fact that the researcher was stationed in each
classroom's "outer circle" and that her role and activities
were made clear to the children, made it easy for the
children to not see her as another teacher. The children
talked to other students, violated classroom rules, argued
with the teacher, got into arguments with other students,
sent notes to other students, and did a lot of the
"regular" things children do in class in her presence.
There were instances where some children "showed-off" for
the researcher; for instance, one girl in classroom B read
the ballad she had written at home to the researcher and
asked her if she would like to keep it in her notes. The
researcher's casual conversations with the teachers also
confirmed her recording and perceptions of the classroom
life.
The researcher dealt with her personal interests,
remarks, and biases about the studied phenomenon through
bracketing (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). The researcher's role
and biases will be discussed in a subsequent section.
Lastly, the researcher's inability to observe and
record all classroom events related to children's
interpersonal perceptions was dealt with in three ways: (a)
by doing lengthy observations in the classrooms the
researcher was confident that she captured a representative
description of relevant events, activities, and

82
interactions related to the studied phenomenon; (b) the
teachers acted as valuable informants for events that had
not been directly observed; (c) the researcher's use of a
tape-recorder, interviews, and free-responses filled in
gaps in observational data.
The interviews took place a month and a half after
observations began, allowing time for the researcher and
the participants to become familiar with one another. The
researcher always asked for the children's permission to
"talk" with them and reminded them that whatever they
shared with her would be confidential. At times, some
children were eager to talk with her because of something
that had happened at school that day. Interview data was
compared with written data (free responses) and with
observational data.
Free responses were used because of their
appropriateness in allowing children to share their own
perceptions and interpretations. One limitation of this
method is that some children wrote more or better than
others; some wrote in complete sentences and others just
listed single words. All three sources of data provided a
means whereby the researcher could make a more
comprehensive evaluation of the data collected.

83
Data Analysis
The data collected through observations, interviews,
and free-responses were in written form. Written records
included field notes, a research journal, transcribed
interviews, and children's free-responses.
In this study, the researcher's goal was to examine
how children perceived themselves and interpreted their
teacher's perceptions of them in two fourth-grade
classrooms. The choice of analysis methods was determined
by the purpose of the research, the nature of the
questions, and the theoretical perspective adopted and
adapted by the researcher (LeCompte et al., 1992).
The data analysis was an ongoing process that
consisted of analyzing and synthesizing information across
data sources and data collection methods. The analyses
carried out for this study make visible the construction of
students' (a) self-perceptions and (b) interpretations of
what their teacher thought about them in class (see Table
3-2). Analysis of this kind involves a way of "looking" at
or thinking about data. It refers to the systematic and
strategic examination of a phenomenon to discover its
parts, the relationships among parts, and their
relationship to the whole.
In this analysis, the researcher (a) described social
situations (activities carried out by participants in a

84
particular place) and (b) discovered culture (the patterns
of participants' behavior and they meanings they assign to
activities), (Spradley, 1980) . The phases of analysis for
this study are described below (Spradley , 1980):
a. Domain analysis helped to identify broad domains
such as "Things the Teacher Talked About in Class, Things
Students Talked About in Class, Things Students Talked
About Themselves."
b. Taxonomic analysis helped to identify how
domains were organized. The researcher also attempted to
find out how domains were related. For example, within the
domain "Feedback Teacher Gave to Students," there was
"Verbal Feedback and Written Feedback".
c. Comoonential analysis helped the researcher to
look for units of meaning participants assigned to their
specific cultural categories.
d. Theme analysis involved the search for a theme
that would tie together the identified parts of the
participants’ perspectives. It focused the search for
meanings across domains.
The analysis of data helped locate particular patterns
of experiences that represent how students make sense of
their everyday classroom experiences with the teacher. The
main type of relationship in the domain analysis was strict
inclusion (see Table 3-2).

85
Table 3-2
Strict Inclusion Example
RELATIONSHIP
FORM
EXAMPLE
Strict Inclusion —»
X is a kind of Y -4
Playing the guitar
(is a kind of
extra curricular
activity)
Table 3-3 shows the type of worksheet used to help
visualize the structure of each domain:
Table 3-3
Domain Analysis Worksheet
1. Semantic Relationship: strict inclusion
2. Form: X is a kind of Y
3. Example: Being good in science (is a kind of) ability
Included terms Semantic Relationship Cover Term
Being good in writing
Being good in reading } -4 is a kind of -4 ability
Being good in math

86
The researcher analyzed and counted each student's
written statements. Statements were grouped according to
content, and broad categories were formed. Finally, broad
categories were grouped to form specific categories. The
content and domain analyses were interweaved. The
reseacher took a frequency count of students' statements in
order to explore differences in quality as well as quantity
of students' responses. Students' verbal statements were
analyzed for content.
The researcher coded students' written and oral
reports by assigning pseudonyms and numbers. For example,
(BF21.2) means: this statement came from a female (F)
student in class (B); the student's assigned number was 21;
and she gave this statement at time two. This coding
system made it easy for the researcher to maintain the
students' confidentiality, readily retrieve information
from data, and study patterns in students' responses over
time. Teachers were also given pseudonyms. Teacher A was
called Ms. Naylor, and Teacher B was called Mrs. Cleary.
Audio-taped classroom observations were transcribed.
The transcription involved three phases: (a) description of
events, (b) interpretation of events, and (c) extension of
events. The following transcript conventions were used:

87
(2, 3, or 4s)= number of seconds without verbal discourse
Sx= unidentified student
Ss= more than one student speaking, all unidentified
XXX = inaudible
The three-phased analysis of the verbatim transcripts
showed how everyday classroom interactions between students
and their teacher provided opportunities for students to
co-construct interpretations about their teacher's
perceptions about them in class. Findings from the
transcription data were triangulated with findings from
students artifacts and interview data to validate and
expand on how students formed their interpersonal
perceptions. Field notes were used to give additional
background information about classroom interactions. Table
3-4 (see p. 88) summarizes the research questions, data
collection, and analysis in this study.
The Researcher's Role and Biases
The qualitative researcher is the key research
instrument in qualitative research. The researcher's
biases, methods, and training may influence data collection
and analysis. Wolcott (1975) stated that a researcher must
be flexible, sensitive, a keen observer, sociable,
sensitive to and perceptive of the participants' needs, be

Table 3-4
Research Questions. Data Collection, and Analysis
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
DATA COLLECTION
ANALYSIS
1. In what manner do fourth-
grade students perceive
themselves? What is the content
of their self-perceptions?
• Student artifacts
(i.e., free responses)
• Interviews
• Domain, taxonomic
analysis
• Content analysis
2. In what manner do fourth-
grade students perceive their
teacher's perceptions about
them? What is the content of
their interpretations?
• Student artifacts
(i.e., free responses)
• Interviews
• Domain, taxonomic
analysis
• Content analysis
3. What kind of information do
fourth-grade students use to
form interpretations of their
teacher’s perceptions about them
in class?
• Interviews
• Content analysis
4. What is the role of
classroom interactions in the
construction of students'
interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions about them
in class?
• Classroom
observations
(i.e., field notes,
audio-taped classroom
interactions)
• Transcription of
recorded classroom
interactions

89
able to "tell" his/her story effectively, and have
experience conducting fieldwork.
Whether a researcher chooses to be a full participant
or fully a non-participant, he or she must put himself or
herself into the research and interpret what he/she sees,
hears, or is told to by others (Woods, 1992). By
observing, taking notes, tape-recording, talking to
participants, reflecting on data, and some initial
analysis, the researcher makes indications, attributes
meanings, and interprets symbols continually. How a
researcher does this depends on the self he/she brings to
the situation and its' interpretation: the experiences,
interests, values, "theories", training, attitudes toward
the participants, and commitment to research (Woods, 1992) .
A standard problem for qualitative researchers is the
one between involvement and increased familiarity on the
one hand and distance and objectivity on the other. The
demands of qualitative research create a tension between
"getting inside" and "being outside", and "knowing nothing,
to knowing some things, to knowing too much" about the
participants and their world. Involvement and objectivity
are both ingredients of scientific appraisal, but "too much
of a good thing" may interfere with the "healthy"
progress of one's research. Woods (1992) suggests that
researchers can guard against these dangers by maintaining

90
a social distance through triangulation of methods to
increase validity, reflectivity outside the situation, and
the writing up of field notes and research memos.
Although the researcher's ability to negotiate access,
sensitivity to participants' needs, perception of classroom
events, flexibility, and writing skills will have to be
judged by the reader, the following information related to
the above criteria are discussed below:
1. The researcher was an elementary classroom
teacher for one year and has been a college instructor for
ten years.
2. The researcher earned a Master's degree in
educational psychology.
3. The researcher has completed coursework for a
Ph.D. in instruction and curriculum, including courses in
elementary curriculum, social psychology, qualitative and
quantitative research methods, and evaluation of teacher
education programs. The researcher has read extensively in
the area of qualitative research foundations and methods in
the United States and the United Kingdom.
5. The researcher has completed two qualitative
studies in the USA and a qualitative study in the UK. A
report of one study was written and was presented at a
Qualitative Research Conference.

91
6. The researcher has extensive experience as an
elementary classroom observer by supervising student
teachers over a five-year period.
8. The researcher has worked to develop her writing
skills by preparing manuscripts for presentation at various
conferences. In addition, the researcher has published a
study guide to accompany an educational psychology college
textbook.
In addition to dealing with certain criteria for
conducting qualitative research there is a need to bring to
the surface any personal, or theoretical assumptions,
beliefs, and interests that may help the reader better
understand this study.
1. The researcher views perceptions as mediators of
student learning.
2. The researcher believes that students and
teachers are actively involved in perceiving each other in
class (Downey, 1977).
3. The researcher believes that how children
interpret what their teacher thinks about them in class may
affect not only how they perceive themselves, but also how
about their interactions with the teacher, and possibly
their overall learning and success in school.

92
4. The researcher also believes that teaching and
learning can be better understood and improved by knowing
its effects upon the students.
5. The researcher views classroom interactions
between students and teachers as dynamic, structured, and
meaningful (Shantz, 1983) .
6. The researcher views classrooms as complex,
dynamic, and multi-dimensional environments in which
teachers and students influence one another's perceptions
and behaviors (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993).
7. The researcher expected that students'
perceptions may not be congruent with their interpretations
of the teacher's perceptions about them (Hargreaves, 1975).
8. The researcher expected that there may be
differences in the kinds of knowledge students possess
about what their teacher thinks of them in class (Cochran-
Smith, 1984).
Issues of Validity and Reliability
According to Erickson (1986), the primary validity
criterion of qualitative research is "the immediate and
local meanings of actions, as defined from the actors'
points of view" (p. 119). Erickson (1986) suggests that
the story itself should persuade the reader that things
were in the setting in the way the author claimed them to

93
be and the richness of detail in the story along with the
interpretation of the particulars in the story, make a
valid account that is not only a description but is an
analysis. In addition, the story must be clear,
appropriate, and useful to potential audiences (Erickson,
1986) .
Lincoln & Guba (1990) proposed the following standards
for validity in educational research: (a) the fit between
research questions, data collection procedures, and
analysis techniques; (b) the effective application of
specific data collection and analysis techniques (i.e., how
interviews should be conducted or how data should be
reduced); (c) alertness to and coherence of prior knowledge
about the topic; (d) research studies should be conducted
in an ethical manner and should explicitly address, in
language that is accessible to the interested audiences,
the importance of the research and its implications; (e)
clarity and coherence, as well as being able to engage
knowledge from outside the particular perspective one is
working and being able to apply general principles for
evaluating arguments.
Some of the steps taken to ensure the validity of the
study's findings have already been discussed: (a) the long
period of data collection enabled the researcher to become
familiar with the participants and the setting in which

94
their perceptions were constructed; (b) the triangulation
of methods of data collection which provided opportunities
to compare data and better understand the participants'
perspectives; (c) the techniques for analyzing data which
enabled the researcher to search for patterns in students'
responses; and (d) the ethical and systematic manner in
which the study was conducted.
Specific considerations were made to optimize the
validity of children's answers (Assor & Connell, 1992): (a)
the researcher asked children questions in a way that
helped them understand what she was looking for; (b) the
researcher convinced the children that any answer they gave
was acceptable as long as they were telling us what they
really believed; (c) the researcher explained to the
children why she was asking them to become her informants
and what she was going to do with their answers; (d) the
researcher told children who would be seeing or hearing
their answers; (e) the researcher told the children that
she might be asking a lot of similar questions and why (for
internal consistency).
Reliability refers to the repeatability of the study
by another researcher. The comprehensive and elaborate
description and documentation of the research process is
sufficient for independent researchers to replicate the
same procedures in comparable settings (Sherman & Webb,

95
1990) . The use of audio instruments, the stressing of low-
inference descriptions, and the confirmation of findings by
informants were some additional measures taken to insure
internal reliability (LeCompte & Goetz, 1982) .

CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of
children's interpersonal perceptions in two fourth-grade
classrooms. As previously discussed, the researcher
adopted a symbolic interaction perspective wherein it was
assumed that people construct meanings about self and
others through their interactions in social contexts.
Students1 written and oral reports and observations of
classroom interactions were collected over a period of five
months. More specifically, the researcher analyzed the
content of the students' self-perceptions and
interpretations of their teacher's perceptions about them
in class, the information students used to form their
interpretations, and the students' classroom interactions
with the teacher.
The collected data from both classes were analyzed to
produce broad and focused domains. Taxonomies were
constructed by integrating data from different domains. In
this chapter, as children's self-perceptions and
interpretations are described, data from the taxonomies
96

97
and interviews will be provided to support and illustrate
the findings.
The analysis of the data showed the following:
1. There were differences in the content of
students' (a) self-perceptions and (b) in
the interpretations of their teacher's
perceptions, across the two classes.
2. Students in both classes gave more information
about themselves than about what their teacher
thought of them in class.
3. Students in Class B gave more information about
themselves and what their teacher thought of
them than students in Class A.
4. There were similarities in the types of
information students from the two fourth-grade
classes used to form their interpretations.
5. Students' interpersonal perceptions are
products of student-teacher interactions.
In this chapter, the researcher will examine in detail
the findings according to each research question.

98
Students' Self-Perceptions
Table 4-1
Content Analysis: I Think I Am.
CATEGORY
CLASS A
CLASS B
Ability
137
193
Personal information
86
24
Personality characteristics
51
69
Likes
41
89
Favorite things
33
20
Friends
16
14
Dislikes
12
09
Relationships with others
10
28
Behavior
07
06
Effort
00
06
TOTAL
393
450
Table 4-1 shows the content analysis results of
students’ written responses about their self-perceptions by
category and frequency count of written statements. For a
detailed analysis of students’ self-perceptions, see
Appendix D (Tables D-l and D-2).
Table 4-1 shows that students gave a lot of written
information about themselves (N=843 statements). The
content of their self-perceptions consisted of statements
about their abilities (i.e., in different subjects, sports,

99
and in general); their physical (i.e., age, name, physical
appearance) and personality characteristics; family
information (i.e., siblings, parents); things they liked,
disliked, and loved; who their friends were; how they
related to others; and how they behaved in class. The
content of students' self-perceptions was similar in both
classes, with the exception of effort, which was reported
only by students in class B.
Table 4-1 shows that the majority of students' self¬
perceptions were about abilities (N=330 statements); things
they liked (N=130 statements) about school, hobbies, and
sports; personality characteristics (N=113 statements);
personal information (N=110 statements). The way students
perceived themselves was stable over time (see Appendix D,
Tables D-l and D-2).
When children were asked to report about themselves,
they gave a lot of information about subjects and sports
they were good at, in contrast to things they were not good
at. Students’ self-perceptions reflected a strong emphasis
on their various abilities in school. For example,
students perceived themselves as "I think I am good in
math" (AM6.3); "I think I am good in writing" (AM12.1); "I
think I am a pretty good soccer player" (BF23.1); "I think
I am good in basketball" (BM6.1); "I think I am athletic"
(BF14.1). The domain and taxonomic analysis (see Appendix
D, Tables D-l and D-2) showed that although students in

100
both classes reported about how good they were in various
subjects, their written statements reflected a heavy
emphasis on mathematics (29% of subject-related
statements), reading (12% of subject-related statements),
and writing (12% of subject-related statement).
In sports, students' self-perceptions were centered
around soccer (31% of sports-related statements),
basketball (14% of sports-related statements), and football
(12% of sports-related statements). Students also
perceived themselves in general ways; for example, "I am
smart," "I am good in school," or "I am intelligent" (see
Appendix D, Tables D-l and D-2).
Students' in both classes offered personal information
about their siblings, family, own age, and name (33% of
personal information statements), their physical appearance
(27% of personal information statements), and extra
curricular activities they were involved in (10% of
personal information statements).
A similarity across both classes in the content of
students' self-perceptions was discovered but there was a
difference between the two classes in the frequency of
different categories (see Table 4-1). Overall, children in
class B gave more information about themselves (N=450
statements) than children in class A (N=393 statements).
More specifically, children in class B reported more about
things they liked (N=89 statements) than children in class

101
A (N=41 statements). Students' reported self-perceptions
in class A involved more statements about demographic
information, physical appearance, and extra curricular
activities (N=86 statements) than students' self¬
perceptions in class B (N=24 statements).
In sum, the analysis of students' reported self¬
perceptions reveals that children in both classes gave a
lot of information about themselves. The analysis also
showed that there were similarities in the content of
students’ self-perceptions across the two classes but
differences existed in the frequency of statements given by
students in the two classes.
Students' Interpretations of Teacher's Perceptions
Table 4-2
Content Analysis: I Think Mv Teacher Thinks I Am. , .
CATEGORY
CLASS A
CLASS B
Ability
74
102
Personality characteristics
69
57
Relationships with others
15
33
Don11 Know
14
01
Effort
13
08
Behavior
11
49
Teacher likes/dislikes me
11
02
Other
05
01
Favorite things
02
05
Personal information
01
01
TOTAL
215
259

102
Table 4-2 shows the content analysis results of
students' written responses about their interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them by category and
frequency count of written statements. For a more detailed
analysis of students' self-perceptions, see Appendix D
(Tables D-3 and D-4).
Children in both classes formed various
interpretations about what their teacher thought of them in
class. Table 4-2 shows that, overall students'
interpretations in the two classes varied not so much in
content but in frequency of statements. Children did not
report as much about what their teacher thought of them
(N=474 statements) as they did about themselves (N=843
statements).
Children's interpretations consisted of statements
about what they thought their teacher thought of their
abilities (i.e., in various subjects, sports, and in
general), personality characteristics, relationships with
others in class, classroom behavior, effort, whether they
thought the teacher liked them or disliked them, and some
information about their favorite things.
Some children reported a lack of knowledge about their
teacher's perceptions about them in an explicit way:
"I don't know" (.03% of total statements). Fourteen of 15
statements of this kind were made by children in class A.

103
In addition, the children made interpretations about their
teacher liking them or disliking them in class (.02% of
total statements).
Although the children gave a lot of personal
information when they reported their self-perceptions,
there were only two instances where children wrote about
what their teacher thought of them in terms of personal
information. One student’s statement referred to what the
teacher thought of the child's physical appearance (i.e.,
"Ms. Naylor thinks I am good looking") and a second child's
statement was about the him watching too much television
(i.e., "Mrs. Cleary thinks I watch too many movies.").
The content of children's interpretations was
remarkably similar in both classes, but differences in the
frequency of statements were discovered. The majority of
students' interpretations were about what their teacher
thought of their abilities (N=176), their personality
characteristics (N=126), their classroom behavior (N=60),
and how they related with others in class (N=48). For
example, students thought their teacher thought of them as
"good at math" (AM9.1), "good at multiplication" (AF11.3),
"sort of a smart person in math" (BM9.1), "good at soccer"
(BF23.2), "friendly and caring to others" (BF21.1), or "a
good listener" (BF13.1).
Students' interpretations reflected an absence of
information on about they thought their teacher knew about

104
their favorite things. There were only six occurrences in
which children reported that their teacher knew what some
of their favorite things were. Also striking was the total
absence, even in these six cases, of what students thought
their teacher knew about the things they liked to do inside
or outside the school setting.
When children were asked to interpret what their
teacher thought of them in class, their statements focused
on their abilities in various subjects and sports (37% of
total statements), followed by students' personality
characteristics (27% of total statements), and classroom
behavior (13% of total statements). The domain analysis
(see Appendix D, Tables D-3 and D-4) showed that children's
interpretations were stable over time, and contained many
statements about their mathematics (43% of subject-related
statements) and writing abilities (13% of subject-related
statements).
Students' in class B made more statements about what
Mrs. Cleary thought of their abilities in mathematics
(27% of subject-related statements) than students' in class
A. In class B, students' reported that their teacher
thought they were "not good" in math (10% of subject-
related statements), spelling (10% of subject-related
statements), handwriting (4% of subject-related
statements), Florida history (2% of subj ect-related
statements), and literature groups (2% of subject-related

105
statements). Also, in class B, students gave more specific
statements about what their teacher thought of their
personality characteristics (n=30) than students in class A
(n=25).
In sports, children's interpretations were centered
around soccer (19% of sports-related statements) and being
"a good athlete" (17% of sports-related statements).
Relationships with others in class was another
interesting domain, as children reported about who their
teacher, thought were friends with other students (48%
relationships with others statements), how they treated
others (44% of relationships with others statements), and
how they worked with others in class (8% of relationships
with others statements). What the teacher thought about
the way students treat each other in class was more evident
in class B (29% of relationships with others statements)
than in class A (15% of relationships with others
statements).
Classroom behavior was another area which was
particularly emphasized by children in class B. Children
reported what they thought their teacher thought of them in
terms of "talking too much," "talking in line," following
directions, and paying attention (see Appendix D, Tables D-
3 and D-4). More children in class A (n=14 statements)
reported that they did not know what their teacher thought
of them than in class B (n=l statement).

106
Finally, children interpreted what their teacher
thought of them in terms of effort (4% of total
statements). Children thought their teacher thought they
were trying their best (n=12 statements) and working hard
(n=5 statements; see Appendix D, Tables D-3 and
D-4) .
Table 4-3 (see p. 107) shows a cross-comparison of the
content analysis results for students' self-perceptions and
interpretations of their teacher's perceptions across the
two classes.
When the researcher asked the students whether they
thought children could know what their teacher thought of
them, they answered "yes" (n=ll statements), "yeah" (n=7
statements), "children have a good idea" (n=l statement),
and "most of them know" (n=l statement). Only one student
said:
I don't know; I don't think that kids would tell
you everything they know, though. Maybe the
kindergartners would tell you everything. (AF12)
Students also suggested that some children could know
more than others. They thought that the students who
"spend more time with her" or "talked more to her," "wrote
more to her," "helped her," or "watch if she makes a face
or anything," had a better understanding of what their
teacher thought of them; they had more information. One

Table 4-3
Content Analysis Comparison Across Two Classes: Students' Self-Perceptions And
Interpretations Of Their Teacher's Perceptions.
CATEGORIES
CLASS A
CLASS A
CLASS B
CLASS B
J THINK I AM
I THINK
TEACHER THINKS
I AM
I THINK I AM
X THINK
TEACHER THINKS
I AM
Ability
137
74
193
102
Personal
information
86
01
24
01
Personality
characteristics
51
69
62
57
Likes
41
89
Favorite thinqs
33
02
20
05
Friends
16
14
Dislikes
12
09
Relationships
with others
10
15
28
33
Behavior
07
11
06
49
Effort
13
06
08
Teacher likes
me/dislikes me
11
02
Don't know
14
01
Other
05
01
TOTAL
393
215
450
259
107

108
student thought that "the kids in writer's workshop can
know more because they are with her longer" (BM24). The
following examples from interview excerpts with students
highlight this point:
Yeah, some people know more because they talk more
to the teacher. (BM25)
Well. . . the people who write to her like in their
journals, . . . and not many people write to her.
(BMl0)
Like the people who really like the teacher and talk
to her more, and they watch if she makes a face or
anything. (BF29)
Two students reported that children "who don't work at
their effort and don't care about their grades" (BF15), or
"those who don't listen to what the teacher tells them may
not know" (AF23). According to the interviewed students,
the children who did not care about their grades and did
not try hard, or those who did not care about their
classroom behavior, would not know as much about what their
teacher thought about them as those who cared.
Because the researcher wished to get a deeper
understanding of students' interpretations, she asked
children to report--in written and oral form—what they
would like to know about what their teacher thought of them
in class (see Table 4-4). All students wrote their free

109
responses and 21 were interviewed. All children wrote and
spoke extensively on this subject.
Table 4-4
Content Analysis: I Would Like To Know What Mv Teacher
Thinks Of Me When I. . .
CATEGORY
CLASS A
CLASS B
Subject-related information
87
42
Behavior
63
98
Ability
34
09
General
27
03
Responsibilities
19
37
Relationships with others
18
21
Personality characteristics
04
06
Effort
00
04
TOTAL
252
221
Table 4-4 shows the content analysis results of
students' written responses, about what they would like to
know their teacher thought of them in class, by category
and frequency count. For a detailed analysis of these
statements, see Appendix D (Tables D-5 and D-6).
The analysis of students' statements indicated that
there was consistency in what the students wanted to know
about their teachers' perceptions of them but differences
in how much information they lacked in certain areas. The

110
top three types of information students' wanted were: (a)
what their teacher thought of their behavior (34% of total
statements); (b) what their teacher thought about their
performance and participation in various subjects (27% of
total statements), and (c) what their teacher thought of
the them taking care of or neglecting their
responsibilities (12% of total statements).
Students1 comments indicated that they wanted more
information particularly in what the teacher thought about
their performance in mathematics (29% of subject-related
statements), followed by other subjects such as writing,
reading, and spelling (see Appendix D, Tables D-5 and D-6).
The analysis showed that students sought feedback on
what the teacher thought about them when they did things
right or wrong, when they participated in class or did not
participate in class, when they behaved or did not behave,
and especially when they turned in or forgot to turn in
their work (see Appendix D, Tables D-5 and D-6). For
example, students wanted to know what their teacher thought
of them when they "come to school on time," "don't do my
work," "forget to put my name on it," or "don't turn in
things on time" (see Appendix D, Tables D-5 and D-6).
Children from class B were especially interested in
what their teacher thought of their behavior. For example:
I would like to know what she thinks about how I
behave. (BM10.1)

Ill
When I do something she preferred me not to do.
(BF5.1)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when I
talk in line and when I am in trouble. (BM2.1)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when I
don't listen. (BF16.2)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when I talk
when I shouldn't be talking. (BF23.2)
Children from class A were very interested in what
their teacher thought of their performance, ability, and
participation in various subjects. For example:
I would like to know what she thinks of me when I do
my subjects like math and science. I'd like to know
what she thinks about my writing, if my stories are
good. (AF4.1)
I would like to know. . . in my math, does she think
I brag? (AF14.1)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when
it's math time and I'm trying my best but a lot
of them are wrong. (AF16.1)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when
I am doing well in art. (AF18.2)
I would like to know what she thinks of me when
I don't write in cursive. (AM20.2)
Students in both classes were interested in what the
teacher thought of them when they "talked in line" and when
they "walked back from art, music, science, and the
cafeteria." Talking in line was a problem most students
had and it was discussed a lot by the teacher in the
classroom. For example:

112
I would like to know what she thinks of me when I'm
bad and when I'm good, and when I talk in line. I
think I should know because if I don't I won't be
able to improve. I would like to know what she thinks
when I am talking in line because I talk in line a
lot. It's because lots of people talk to me and I
can't just say, I can't just tap them on the shoulder
and say "be quiet." It's just when they ask me
questions that I have to answer them. (AF10.1)
In sum, the analysis of students' reported
interpretations of their teacher's perceptions about them
reveals that students reported less information about what
the teacher thought of them than about themselves. The
analysis also showed that there were similarities in the
content of students' interpretations across the two
classes, but differences existed in the frequency of
statements given by students in class A and B.
Information Students Used to Construct Interpretations
Data from three interviews with eight children from
class A and 13 children from class B showed that all
children used information from their classroom interactions
with the teacher to construct interpretations about how she
perceived them in class.
When children were asked to explain how they knew the
different things they wrote about what their teacher

Table 4-5
Sources Of Information Children Used To Construct Interpretations
SOURCE OF INFORMATION
TYPE OF INFORMATION (Students' Actual Statements)
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
Teacher
Sometimes she tells me
(n=21)
Teacher
Writes "good job" on my work
(n=14)
Teacher
Doesn't tell me
(n=13)
Student
Don't know
(n=07)
Teacher
Writes in our journal
(n=06)
Teacher
She shows it
(n=05)
Teacher
Sometimes she tells me "good job"
(n=04)
Teacher
The way she acts
(n=04)
Teacher
Writes me a putt-up
(n=04)
Teacher
Writes me notes on my paper about my work
(n=04)
Teacher
She encourages me
m
o
II
£
Teacher
She rewards me with stars
(n=03)
Teacher
She sometimes makes me compliments
(n=0)
Teacher
She writes me a note
(n=03)
Teacher
From my report card
(n=02)
Teacher
Gives you feedback about your work
(n=03)
Teacher
She doesn't call on me
(n=02)
Teacher
She rewards me with candy
(n=02)
Teacher
She tells me I am smart
(n=02)
Teacher
She tells my parents
(n=02)
Teacher
She says "good"
(n=02)
Teacher
Sometimes she says "thank you"
(n=02)
Student
I know
(n=01)
Student
It's just a feeling
(n=01)
Student
I get good grades
(n=01)
Teacher
Her attitude
(n=01)
Teacher
Let me pass out papers
(n=01)
113

Teacher
She calls my name when I'm good
(n=01)
Teacher
She came to watch some of my baseball games
(n=01)
Teacher
She doesn't look bored when I read my report
(n=01)
Teacher
She gives me hints
(n=01)
Teacher
She gives me notes saying "you are very bright", and "you
are smart *
(n=01)
Teacher
She goes thumbs up to me
(n=01)
Teacher
She puts me in advanced groups
(n=01)
Teacher
She has a mean voice when I'm bad
(n=01)
Teacher
She has a gentle voice when I'm good
(n=01)
Teacher
She reads my work as an example
(n=01)
Teacher
She rewards me with free homework passes
(n=01)
Teacher
She says "I like this"
(n=01)
Teacher
She says "you’ve improved a lot"
(n=01)
Teacher
She says "you shouldn’t do this"
3
II
o
H1
Teacher
She talks to me but doesn't tell me what she thinks about
me
(n=01)
Teacher
She smiles
(n=01)
Teacher
She talks in a stern voice when she has to move me
(n=01)
Teacher
She talks more advanced to me
(n=01)
Teacher
She tells me I am kind
(n=01)
Teacher
Sometimes she acts like she hates me
(n=01)
Teacher.
Sometimes she says "you are a good writer"
(n=01)
Teacher
Sometimes she says "you have a nice handwriting"
(n=01)
Teacher
The way she looks at me
(n=01)
Teacher
Writes a note to your parents
(n=01)
Teacher
Writes "nice summary"
(n=01)
Teacher
Writes on your report card
(n=01)
Teacher
Writes "you are smart" on my papers
(n=01)
Teacher
You can ;just tell
(n=01)
TOTAL
(N=145)

115
thought of them in class, they talked about their
experiences and classroom interactions with their teacher.
Table 4-5 shows the analysis of students' written
statements about the kinds of information they used to
construct their interpretations of what the teacher thought
of them in class. The table shows the sources of
information (i.e., something the teacher did or said and
the student himself/herself), the students' actual written
statements, and a frequency count of their statements.
This analysis revealed the influence the teacher's
verbal and written comments had on the children's
interpretations. The information the students used to
construct their interpretations was: (a) something the
teacher said to the child about their work, abilities,
personality, effort, or behavior; (b) something the teacher
wrote on the child's work, notes, or report card; (c)
something the teacher did in the classroom; (d) the
teacher's non-verbal behavior toward the student in class,
and (e) something the student felt about the teacher's
perceptions of her/him in class. In addition, some
children said they "didn't know" exactly what their teacher
thought of them because the teacher "didn't tell them."
The children spoke freely about the information they
had about their teacher's perceptions of them, how they
used that information, and what kind of information they
did not have. Students gave many examples to support their

116
statements. Their reasoning reflected how these children
processed and analyzed their everyday classroom
interactions with their teacher.
Table 4-6 shows the verbal information from their
teacher the students used to construct their
interpretations. The table shows the exact student
statements and a frequency count of the statements.
Table 4-6
Verbal Information Students Used To Construct
Interpretations
TYPE OF STATEMENT
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
• [something] teacher said to student
(n=23)
• [something] teacher said to student about
work
(n=ll)
• the compliments teacher paid to student
(n=04)
• the encouragement teacher gives to student
(n=04)
• [something] teacher said to student about
ability
(n=02)
• [something] teacher said to student about
behavior
(n=02)
• [something] teacher said to student about
effort
(n=01)
• [something] teacher said to student about
personality
(n=01)
• [something] teacher said to student's
parents
(n=01)
TOTAL
(n=49)

117
Of all the things the children said about what their
teacher did in the classroom, her verbal statements (n=49
statements) were most often reported by the students as the
kind of information they used to construct their
interpretations of what she thought of them in class.
Although interpretations of others1 perceptions is a
complex task, especially for children, the children who
participated in this study were able to report both in
written and oral form what they thought their teacher
thought of them. What the teacher said to the children
privately or publicly seemed to be the most often reported
information they used to construct and validate their
interpretations. The children viewed the teachers' verbal
statements as expressions of her perceptions about them in
class. The following examples taken from interview
excerpts highlight the importance most students placed on
their teacher's verbal statements:
Sometimes she tells me like "good job." (BM25.2)
Sometimes she makes compliments about my work, and you
can just tell. (BF23.2)
Because she'll compliment me a lot and she'll say "you
have a very high score". . . . She compliments me and
gives me feedback. She says "you've improved a lot"
and "I like this." (BF15.2)
She says "You shouldn't do this." if she doesn't like
something and she says "That's a good job," and stuff
like that. (BM10.1)
She sometimes talks to me. (BM10.2)

118
She sometimes talks to me and stuff like that.
(BM10.3)
Sometimes she tells me I do good work. (AF12.1)
She says I'm smart and stuff. . . . She tells me not
to talk in line. (AF12.2)
Another interesting finding was that a couple of
students questioned whether their teacher's verbal
statements really expressed what they thought about them.
They viewed the teachers' comments as "tools of the trade,"
as something teachers do anyway, and decided not to
interpret them any further. That is, students' responses
revealed the analytic work students did to bring
distinctions between what's said or heard, and how it can
be interpreted. Thus, students noted limits of looking at
the teacher's verbal statements.
For example, some students said:
She talks to me, but that doesn't tell me what she
thinks of me. (AM5.3)
Sometimes she tells me. . . . I don't know if
sometimes she tries to impress me or something or if
she wants me to like school and stuff, I don’t know.
(AF12.2)
She says "good job," but that's what teachers do.
I mean, when someone does a good job that's not about
them; that's just about their work. (AF12.3)

119
Table 4-7
Written Information Students Used To Construct
Interpretations
TYPE OF STATEMENT
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
• [teacher] writes "qood" on my work
(n=14)
• [teacher] writes in my -journal
(n=06)
• [teacher] writes me notes on my paper
about my work
(n=04)
• [teacher] writes me a note
(n=03)
• [teacher] gives me note saying "you're
smart"
(n=01)
• [teacher] writes a note to your parents
(n=01)
• [teacher] writes "nice summary"
(n=01)
• [teacher] writes on the report card
(n=01)
• [teacher] writes "you are smart" on my
papers
(n=01)
TOTAL
(n=34)
Table 4-7 shows the written information from their
teacher the students used to construct their
interpretations. The table shows the exact student
statements and a frequency count of the statements.
The second type of information students selected from
their classroom interactions with the teacher was the
teacher’s written statements or feedback (n=34). The
comments the teacher wrote on their work about their work
or about the students were viewed by the children as

120
significant evidence of the teacher's perceptions about the
them.
Students valued the notes or "put-ups" (i.e., a
communication system developed by both teachers to
encourage children to write compliments about each other in
class.) they received from the teacher.
These were viewed by the children as more significant
because they were private, personalized messages the
teacher wrote and placed in their "put-up" folder
periodically. Even written comments given to parents or
written on the students' report cards were viewed as
evidence of the teacher's actual perceptions of the
students. Finally, some children especially valued what
the teacher wrote in their response journal. It should be
noted that response journals were used only at the
beginning of the school year by Mrs. Cleary (Class B).
The journals were later discontinued because of lack of
classroom time.
The following are some examples taken from interview
excerpts that highlight the importance students' placed on
the teachers' written statements.
Sometimes she writes me a note or a put-up. Uh,
sometimes she writes "good job" in my work. (BM25.1)
She like, writes on my work "good job,* "nice
summary," and stuff like that. (BF22.1)
I've been getting notes that kept saying "you are
very bright and you are very smart." (AMl.l)

121
Like when she's writing down on my papers, after
they're turned in, she'll write "good," or "I think
you did your best at this." (BM11.3)
She writes in my challenge and in my journal writing.
(BM6.1)
Sometimes she writes "great, great job," and stuff
like that. (BF16.1)
She'll write stuff like "nice work," but you could
have done better in this place or that place. (BF8.2)
She puts "good work" and stuff like that in my
papers. She writes comments like "needs paragraph
lines". She writes in my response journal and she
asks me what books I've read, what I did in my
vacation, and stuff. (BM24.2)
She'll write letters to us, in our journals, and
she'll ask us a couple of things. (BF8.2)
More students questioned whether the teachers' written
feedback on their work really expressed the teacher's
actual perceptions of the students. For example:
Sometimes she writes "good work" and stuff on my
papers, but she doesn't really say what she thinks
really. Like a lot of times they write "good work"
and something, but it doesn't really mean how they
feel about it. And a lot of times they'll say "fix
this" and write why you need to fix it. I don't
really think that tells anything about how they feel
about it. (AF23.1)
She writes notes in my work, but they are not really
about how she feels about me. They are about what to
do, what to fix or something. (AF23.2)
She writes "good job" and stuff on papers, but that
doesn't tell you what she thinks of you. (AF23.3)
Like she writes "nice work" and "you need to work
on it," but that doesn't mean that's what she thinks
of me. (AF12.1)

122
Again, some students questioned the significance of
the teachers' general written statements. They viewed the
teachers' written feedback as part of the teachers' job and
separated her comments about their own work from what she
actually thought of them in class. In other words, some
children viewed written statements such as "good job" as
statements that had nothing to do with what the teacher
thought of the students, but they valued compliments or
messages written in the "put-ups" or the students' journal.
Table 4-8
Non-Verbal Information Students Used To Construct
Interpretations
TYPE OF STATEMENT
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
• she [teacher] shows it
(n=05)
• the way she [teacher] acts
(n=04)
• her [teacher's] attitude
(n=01)
• she [teacher] acts like she hates me
(n=01)
• she [teacher] doesn't look bored when I
read my report
(n=01)
• she [teacher] goes thumbs up to me
(n=01)
• she [teacher] smiles
(n=01)
• the wav she [teacher] looks at me
(n=01)
TOTAL
(n=15)

123
Table 4-8 shows the non-verbal information from their
teacher the students used to construct their
interpretations. The table shows the exact student
statements and a frequency count of the statements.
The third type of information students used to
construct their interpretations was the teachers' non¬
verbal behavior (n=15). This was a particularly
interesting finding, for it showed that some children
noticed not only what the teacher said or wrote, but how
she said something toward or about them in class. Thus,
for these children, meaning is given not just in the words,
but in the co-verbal and non-verbal accompaniments of
gesture, pace, volume, pitch, and intonation.
Many children talked about the teacher's actions and
reported that they knew what their teacher thought about
them because of the way she acted toward them. For
example:
She sometimes shows it. Because whenever I write
stories, whenever I do a report or something. She
asks "Who would like to share their stories?"
uh, she'll pick me second, first, or third, and you
can tell when the teacher is bored at someone's
story because they'll be reading it and. She'll be
scratching her foot and looking everywhere, tying
her shoe lace, and thinking; stuff like that and she
gets bored from it. (BF15.1)
Because of the way she acts. She acts differently
cause like other people, they are doing things in
writing that I already know, so, she talks more
advanced to me. Well, uh, say the other person is
working on just learning how to do similes, she'll
just come over and talk to me about what similes
I've already put in my story. (BF15.

124
Sometimes she acts like she hates me. For
instance, calling on me last and always when I'm quiet
leaving me on my desk instead of calling me. So,
sometimes I think she absolutely hates me and
sometimes I think she likes me. It's just the way her
attitude certain points of time, and what she does to
me and things like that. She doesn't tell me; she
sort of gives me hints at certain points, like she
doesn't call on me when she's mad at me, and things
like that. (AF10.1)
Well, I'm talking sometimes she has a mean voice,
sometimes because she has a short temper and
sometimes she talks in a mean voice when I'm talking
or something and when I'm being good she has a nice,
gentle voice. Her actions, maybe sometimes she might
stick her hand out and point somewhere meanly and
she does it meanly and sometimes she does it nicely.
(AF10.2)
Uh, actually I think she shows it. Like yesterday,
uh, she, she said "would you like to pass [homework]
out?" and I was willing to take it and she smiled. She
doesn't tell you what she thinks, but I can tell by
the things she does. Like if I misspelled something
she’ll say it doesn't matter she encourages me.
(BM11.1)
Actually, she shows by encouraging me. She was
helping me improve. (BM11.2)
I can tell by the way she acts or looks at me and
stuff. She doesn't really tell me. (AF23.1)
She kind of talks in a stern voice when she has to
move me. (AF23.2)
By her actions and by the way she acts. (BF8.1)
Well, from the way she acts to me. (AF21.3)
Some students paid particular attention to how their
teacher talked to them when she was angry or when the
students were not behaving well (Class A), how she
encouraged them rather than criticized them (Class B), and
how the teacher even looked at them at different times.

125
Some children seemed to have paid more attention to the
teacher's non-verbal behaviors than her oral or written
feedback about them or about their work.
Table 4-9
Information From Teacher's Practices Students Used To
Construct Interpretations
TYPE OF STATEMENT
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
• she [teacher] rewards me with stars
(n=03)
• she [teacher] rewards me with candy
(n=02)
• she [teacher] comes to some of my baseball
games
(n=01)
• she [teacher] doesn't call on me
(n=01)
• she [teacher] lets me pass out papers
(n=01)
• she [teacher] puts me in advance groups
(n=01)
• she [teacher] reads my work as an example
(n=01)
• she [teacher] rewards me with free
homework passes
(n=01)
TOTAL
(n=ll)
Table 4-9 shows information from things the teacher
did (i.e., practices) in the classroom that students used
to construct their interpretations. The table shows the
exact student statements and a frequency count of the
statements.

126
The fourth type of information students used to
construct their interpretations of what their teacher
thought about them was the teacher's practices (n=ll).
Some children talked about the rewards and privileges or
responsibilities they were given by the teacher for
behaving well, and about special experiences they've had
with the teacher.
The following examples taken from interview excerpts
illustrate this point:
If you don't talk in line when we are walking or
something, you don't get any minutes off recess and
she might give you a prize, like a pencil or
something. (BF23.1)
We have a star for when we pass addition,
subtraction, division, and mixed facts. (BM6.2)
When I am helping others, she'll give me a treat and
call my name. (BF29.1)
She puts me in groups, I don't have to go to tutor
groups, because in enrichment we have a higher level
on our math. (BF15.1)
She talks more advanced to me when she talks to me.
(BF15.2)
She's come to watch some of my baseball games.
(BM10.2)
She gives us free homework passes and gold stars on
your paper. (AF10.3)
She rewards me with something like candy or a jolly
rancher. (AF10.2)
She reads my story for examples to class but she
doesn't like come and talk to people personally about
what she thinks about them. (BF15.2)

127
Some children viewed their teacher's actions toward
them and their work, and whether the teacher asked them "to
pass out the homework papers" to the rest of the class, as
"proof" for their interpretations of their teacher's
perceptions about their work or behavior. None of the
children questioned the teachers' actions. Instead, they
viewed her giving them a reward like a star with their name
on it for having passed the division facts, as evidence of
her thinking they were good in mathematics. Also, when a
child received a "jolly rancher" (i.e., a lollipop) or a
pencil for walking quietly in line, that meant (to that
child) that the teacher thought he/she had good behavior.
Table 4-10
Other Information Students Used To Construct
Interpretations
TYPE OF STATEMENT
FREQUENCY
OF
STATEMENT
• [information] from my report card
(n=01)
• I get good grades
(n=01)
• I know
(n=01)
• It's just a feeling
(n=01)
• You can just tell
(n=01)
TOTAL
(n=05)
The last type of information reported by some of the
students was their personal feelings about what the teacher

128
thought of them (n=5; see Table 4-10). A few students had
no actual evidence for their interpretations. Instead,
they had "just a feeling," a "you can just tell," or "I
know" kind of information. They seemed to base their
interpretations of what they thought their teacher thought
of them on their personal instincts. A couple of children
said that they could tell what their teacher thought of
them because "of my report card" or "from my good grades."
Finally, there where seven instances were children
said "I don't know" and 13 instances where they said "She
doesn't tell me." These children were able to write about
what they thought their teacher thought of them in class
but gave no evidence for their judgment.
When the researcher asked the students to share with
her what they would like their teacher to do so they can
know better what she thought of them, the majority of them
wanted the teacher to tell them what she thought, and a
couple specified that they wanted her to tell them
privately.

129
Table 4-11
What Students Wanted The Teacher To Do
STATEMENT
FREQUENCY OF STATEMENT
• tell me
(n=07)
• write to me
(n=04)
• I don't really care
(n=02)
• nothing
(n=02)
• talk to me more
(n=02)
• give me signs
(n=02)
• have more fun activities
(n=01)
• smile more at me
(n=01)
TOTAL
(N=21)
Table 4-11 shows what students wanted the teacher to
do so they could have a better understanding of what she
thought of them. The table shows the exact student
statements and a frequency count of the statements.
Many students wanted the teacher to write to them,
especially in their journals, and one asked for the teacher
to write notes on the report card. The following are some
excerpts from interviews with the students:
I would like her to give signs, like if I was bad,
like looking at me in a mean way or something like
that. (AF10.3)
Just talk to me, just like give me hints and
stuff, just talk to me. (BM10.3)
Like when we have journals where we write back, I
like it when she writes to me. . . . May be just
write some more in the journals. (BM10.2)

130
Uh, maybe tell me what she thinks of me, privately.
(AF23.2)
Tell me what she thinks of me. I would like her to
explain to me when I am in trouble why I am in
trouble. (AF10.2)
I would like her to write to me, to write me a
personal letter and tell me if I am doing good or
bad. (AM25.2)
I would probably like her to come up and tell me
"Cindy, I wish you wouldn't have done that; that
was kind of rude or that was wrong." (BF8.2)
I would like her to tell me more what she thinks of
of me and write to me. I would like her to have more
class meetings and talk to me more. (BF29.2)
All students expressed that they wanted their teacher
to give them more specific feedback about how they are
doing in class, how they relate with other students, how
they behave, and what exactly she would like them to do.
In addition, their responses showed that they were really
looking for a more personalized, one-on-one oral or written
type of feedback from the teacher. A couple of students
even asked for specific non-verbal clues and explanations
about punishments they received.
Finally, when students were asked about the importance
of their teacher's perceptions about them, all, except four
who said "it didn't matter," believed it to be important to
them. The two students for whom the teacher's perceptions
did not matter said that they instead cared about what
their friends thought of them. The children who assigned

131
importance to the teachers' perceptions of them explained
that:
It matters because if she like wonders a certain
thing about me, she might chatter to other teachers
and other teachers will have the same impression may¬
be she has. (BF15.1)
She is my teacher and I have to get along with her for
the rest of the year. (BF23.1)
Like when I am doing math. I don't really care when I
am doing Art because it's my favorite subject.
(AF10.1)
She is my teacher. (AF4.2)
Because what my teacher thinks of me is going to help
me later in life. (BMll.l)
It matters if I am getting in big trouble. (AF23.1)
Because if she said bad things about me it would make
feel bad. (BM6.1)
Yes, because I want to know desperate. (BF17.1)
I think it's important, because I don't want to be
like a bad student and have her think I am a bad
student. (BF8.1)
Because it affects my grades and when I grow up I want
to be a doctor. (AF21.1)
In sum, the analysis of students' written and oral
statements showed that students used various kinds of
information to construct their interpretations of what
their teacher thought of them in class. Verbal, written,
and non-verbal information given by the teacher, as well as
rewards or privileges the students received, formed the
foundation for their interpretations. Children analyzed

132
the teacher's feedback and asked for personalized, private
feedback. Students also reported that they would like to
know more about what their teacher thinks of them in class
They indicated that their teacher's perceptions of them in
class affects their present and future school success and
even their future in general.
Classroom Interactions and Students' Interpretations
To answer this question the researcher analyzed
verbatim transcripts and field observations and searched
for evidence (i.e., messages, events, patterns) about the
role of classroom interactions in the construction of
students' interpretations.
According to the symbolic interaction perspective
(Blumer, 1969), individuals assign meanings to the things
of their world through their interactions with others in
social situations. In this study, the way the children
viewed themselves and, especially, what they thought their
teacher thought of them in class were viewed as products of
student-teacher interactions.
The analysis of the verbatim transcripts and classroom
observations showed that the emphasis the teacher placed
upon certain things, such as appropriate classroom
behavior, performance, student responsibilities, and

133
relationships with others in class, influenced the way
students' interpreted their teacher's perceptions about
them. The classroom environment or culture created by the
teacher became the source of information for the students'
interpretations. Data from the students' writing and
interviews with them support this finding (see Research
Questions 1-3, pp. 98-132).
The researcher selected four examples, two for each
class, from verbatim transcripts to describe and discuss
in this section (see Appendix H for the entire
transcripts). The teacher's discourse is highlighted by
boldface to show the contrast in the presentation.
Excerpt one is taken from an afternoon in class A (see
Appendix G, Transcript #23). The children are back from
recess and the teacher is sitting on her stool, in the
front of the room, waiting for them to get ready for
spelling.
Excerpt 1
Line Speaker Discourse
0032 Teacher
0033
0034
0035 Class
0036 Teacher
0037
0038
0039
0039
0040
Also, let me ask you a question. Do
you think I was having fun this
afternoon?
No!
I wasn't having fun and you weren't
having fun. What can we do differently
next week so we don't have this
problem next week? What can we learn
from this day so we don't do the same
thing twice? Lizie?

134
0041 Lizie
0042 Teacher
0043
0044
0045
0046
0047
0048
0049
0050
0051
0052
0053
0054
0055
0056
0057
0058
0059
0060
0061
0062
0063
0064
0065
0066
0067
0068
0069
0070
0071
0072
0073
0074
0075
0076
0077
0078 Student
0079
0080 Teacher
0081
0082
0083
0084
0085
0086
0087
0088
0089
0090
0091
Get ready on time.
And that's what the class discipline
is for. I mean, the reason we got so
long wasn't because I was giving you
extra time. It was because I need it
to get through to everybody because
you were taking so long. Our schedule
does not allow us any extra time.
There is no extra time in our day to
do things. I barely have time to
check homework and grades and that's
one of the reasons I made you
go to art today instead of that other
program; it's because I needed time to
go through your work and
get ready for math; I needed that
time. And so, it is really important
when we talk about the standards we
set, when we send the newsletter to
your parents, it's all part of this.
Not turning our work in, not
putting our name on it; it's showing
me that you don't care. I care; I
care enough to check into your work,
and grade your work. You care enough
to do your work, but I need you to
take it to the next level. I need you
to do a good, a better job than what
you've been doing. Okay? We are in
fourth-grade. I am not going to
say if you didn't turn in your work,
to turn it in. I am not going to say
you didn't put your name. If you
don't do it right, you are just going
to have to redo it. I am going to
write a letter to your parents; that's
a given. Yes?
I understand why you were mad at
people.
Uh? I am not mad. I am just
frustrated, not mad. There are so
many people and then you guys get
upset at me when I have to make you
sit in and then it gets more
frustrating. So, if we can have some
common ground, some mutual respect.
We don't have that. I call you, I make
eye contact with the person that's
talking, and still they don't do
anything. We really need to work on
that; we really need to get it

135
0092
0093
0094
0095
0096
0097
0098
0099
0100
0101
0102
0103
0104
0105
0106
0107
0108
0109
0110
0111
0112
0113
0114
0115
0116
0117
0118
0119
0120
0121 Mario
0122 Teacher
0123
0124
0125 Mario
0126 Teacher
0127
together. (2s.) Like, we have six
minutes before we need to be in our
places for literature.
Uh, anyway.
Our policy is that when you are in the
classroom you need to be always ready
to listen. From doing a rough draft
for writer's workshop to listening to
the D.A.R.E. officer, or anything.
When you work with me or you work with
Ms. Jules, or with Mrs. Adams, it's
the same. And I think that we all
here, that and we don't need to ask
that question. It's like you don't
need to ask 'Do I need to capitalize
a proper noun?' When you're saying
that over and over, that's what you
are really saying to me. My
expectations are way up here for you
in what X want you to achieve, and
right now, you are only up to
here; you are only half way. We can
produce better work, we can be better
students, I know you can, and I am
going to help you get there.
And it's painful sometimes; it's
painful, like today, but we learn from
it and we try not to make
the same mistakes. Mario?
Now we can act better.
I know you can do it.
Our goal for next week is to not do
what we did this week.
Try to be the best we can be.
Okay, show me that you are ready by
getting your folder and your book.
In lines 32-34 the teacher talks to the class about
what happened prior to coining to class and explains to her
students how she felt about it. This class did not attend
a special presentation at the school auditorium because
they had other things to complete and they were taking too
long to complete their assignments. Ms. Naylor

136
acknowledges the fact that neither she nor the class had
fun (lines 36-40) and also explains to the class that
because of the high number of students and their
assignments, they did not have enough time to do other
things.
In addition, Ms. Naylor reminds her students of the
need to be doing things on time, to show more
responsibility about their work and its quality. She talks
to them about her expectations of them in terms of behavior
and performance, and tells them that if they do not do what
they are supposed to do they will just have to face the
consequences (lines 57-120). A student remarks that the
teacher is "mad" with them but Ms. Naylor explains that she
is frustrated because of their lack of mutual respect.
Finally, in lines 113-127, she tells the students that
she expects the quality of their work to improve and that
she will help them in their efforts. She ends this short
discourse by reminding the students of their
responsibilities and the need to cooperate with her.
In summary, the messages Ms. Naylor communicated to
her students were about:
• The importance of starting lessons on time.
• The importance of being ready to start work.
• The need for students to improve their behavior.

137
• Things students have not being doing with their
work.
• Consequences students face for not doing what is
expected.
• The pressures and demands the teacher is
experiencing because of the lack of student
cooperation.
• The need to work and act as a fourth-grader.
• The high, positive expectations the teacher has
about her students.
Excerpt two is drawn from another day in class A.
After taking a spelling test, the teacher divides the class
into groups for mathematics games, assigns students to the
various groups, and the mathematics games begin. The
teacher monitors the students1 understanding of the game
rules. Some children are using the tables in the back of
the room, some are on the floor, two groups by the computer
center, and two more are in the front of the room. The
students have been playing mathematics games for twenty
minutes when they get interrupted by the D.A.R.E. officer,
who has come to talk to them about drugs and at-risk
behaviors. The children show disappointment because they
have to put their games away and they have not been able to
play games for the last few weeks. The teacher leaves
while the officer is giving her presentation, and she
returns a few minutes before it is time to go to lunch.

138
Excerpt 2
Line Speaker Discourse
0130 Teacher
0131
0132
0133
0134
0135
0136
0137
0138
0139
0140 Students
0141
0142
0143
0144
0145
0146
0147
0148
0149
0150
0151
0152
0153
0154
0155
0156
0157
0158
0159
0160
0161
0162
0163
0164
0165
0166
0167
0168
0169
0170
0171
0172
0173
0174
0175
Please make sure when we line up for
lunch. One, two, three, eyes on me.
I am sorry we didn't get to finish
the math games today. We will be
having them next Friday. Hum, I will
wait for everybody to get ready.
Hum, what we need to do is line up
quietly for lunch. When we line up
for lunch I want you to put your stuff
on your desk quietly.
Shh!
I want to thank the people who did a
real good job today. Roberta, and
the people at her table did a real
good job, hum, once you got started,
over there, too. Today it was kind
of crazy because we tried to fit
everything in.
Some of the games were new and a
little more difficult, that's why
I needed to explain. (3s.) So, I
needed some patience and
understanding. And some of these
games are new and tougher and some
that means that some rules are not
really clear. That means you need
to be patient with the people in your
group and with me because sometimes I
have to deal with a lot of people.
Hum, we will try this again next
Friday to see how we do. Hum, I
liked that you guys did real well
with the D.A.R.E officer. Some if
you did talk a little bit much, but
overall most people were participating
and did a real good job. Let's try to
keep that up. And try to improve in
our behavior. When we get back from
lunch I have a lot of work that people
need to make up that's going to take
a little bit a little while. I am
going to hand out the papers and tell
people who owe me work from this week.
So, you need to be patient. If you
get up and come see me while I am
trying to help people on their work

139
0176 you're going to have to wait 'till I
0177 get to you. Okay? I'd like our line
0178 leader to line up. I'd like, (2s.)
0179 if you are wearing blue today and have
0180 a lunch box to line up.
[The children and the teacher go to lunch. After recess
they return to the classroom. The children take some
time to settle down; some are chatting, others are reading
silently at their desks, and some others are putting their
lunch boxes in their cubbie holes.]
0181 Teacher
0182
0183
0184
0185
0186
0187
0188
0189
0190
0191
0192
0199
0200
0201
0203
0204
0205
0206
0207
0209
0210
0211
0212
0213
0214
0215
0216
0222
0223
0224
0225
0226
0227
0228
0229
0230
0231
0232
Okay, I need you to redo this for me
today; Jane, Marcus, Jonathan, Kyle,
Gloria, Jim, Melissa, and Patrick.
Rainbow words need to be in 3 colors.
Okay, math worksheet, these people:
Marcus, Alexa, Roberta, Michelle,
Pam, Melissa, Christopher, and that's
it. If your name was called for that
you need to get your worksheet.
A lot of you did it, but you didn't
put your name on it, so you're going
to have to redo it.
No, you were told.
A lot of you didn't do the work right
and you need to redo it.
You need to color the water table blue.
Rainbow work must be done. It must be
done in three colors and you need to
write it in cursive.
Jimie, you owe me your literature.
When I call your name, you have work
to finish you can bring it to me.
Otherwise you should not be out of
your seat.
Marcus, you need to finish your work.
You need to have a seat, Marcus.
You need to have a seat, Roberta.
Wait 'till I call you name, Albert.
Also, I am missing a lot of assignment
sheets today. Remember, if your
assignment sheet is not signed, for
the majority of the days, you don't go
to recess. So, Marcus, it's only
signed one day. Andreas, it's only
signed one day. Lizie, it's only
signed one day. Roberta, it's not
signed at all. Gloria, not signed,
you are missing a bunch of assignment
sheets.

140
0234
0235
0236
0237
0238
0239
0240
0241
0242
0243
0244
0233 Teacher
Hey, I told you I was going
to be cracking down on this. When
there is not a name on your homework,
that policy that we talked about
fourth-grade work. The work I've
been getting has not being fourth
grade work. I am sorry, but that's
it. Your assignment sheet, that's
your work every night, needs to be
filled out and turned in on Friday.
If not, you are going to redo it.
Sorry, that's the way it works
In lines 130-133, Ms. Naylor gives instructions to the
students about how to properly line-up for lunch and in
lines 134-139 she is apologetic about their mathematics
games being interrupted. She promises to give them time
next week and waits for the students to get ready for
lunch. Her waiting usually consisted of sitting at her
stool, by the front door, watching for people who put their
things away and get ready for lunch. The students were
supposed to sit quietly at their desks and wait for her
signal to line up.
The teacher reminds her class about the proper way of
lining-up, and she verbally acknowledges the students who
are ready (lines 137-147). Moreover, the people who were
well-behaved get to line up first. While she is waiting
for the rest of the students to get ready, she talks to her
class about the fact that she could not spend much time
with every group during mathematics games because some

141
games were new and she needed to explain the instructions
to a number of children (see lines 148-158).
Ms. Naylor thanks the students for their improved
behavior during the officer's presentation, and she asks
them to "keep it up." She also explains to the class what
she will be doing with them as soon as they come back from
class. Ms. Naylor prepares her students by telling them
that she will need their cooperation in the afternoon
(lines 160-173).
The children return to their class after lunch and
recess, and the teacher calls on people who need to re-do
different pieces of work because they either forgot to
complete it, or did not do it according to the teacher's
specifications and standards. More than two-thirds of the
class has to re-do assignments, and a lot of people cannot
go to recess because they did not get parent signatures on
their homework assignment sheet (lines 180-229).
In lines 233-244, the teacher explains to the students
that they are facing the consequences of not doing their
work right and not being responsible with their work.
In summary, the messages Ms. Naylor communicated to
her students were about:
• Student behavior before students line up for
lunch.
• Student behavior while waiting for everybody to
line up.

142
• Teacher's feelings about not finishing a fun
activity.
• Reinforcement of well-behaved students.
• Teacher needing student cooperation and
understanding.
• How students should work with others in their
groups.
• How students should relate with others in
their groups.
• How students should behave while teacher is
working with other students in class.
• Reinforcement of students who participated in
class.
• The need for students to improve their behavior.
• Students' work responsibilities: complete all
work, do work right, don't forget to turn it in,
put name on it, turn in all necessary
papers, have homework sheet signed by parent.
Excerpt three is taken from a morning in class B. It
is first thing in the morning and the students are working
on their daily challenge. A male student is walking
around, visiting other students, while the teacher is at
her desk looking at the homework the children are turning
in. After the pledge to the flag, morning announcements,
and lunch count, Mrs. Cleary goes over the challenge with
her students.

143
Excerpt 3
Line Speaker Discourse
0025 Teacher
0026
0028
0029
0030
0031
0032
0033
0034 Michael
0035
0036 Teacher
0037 Michael
0038 Teacher
0039
0040
0041 Class
0042 Teacher
0043
0044 Doreen
0045
Michael, I want you to stop
right now. Okay, let's look at
these words. Number one, bumpy
is to something as crooked is to
straight. Look at crooked and
straight.
What can you tell us about those
words, Michael?
Crooked is crooked and straight
is straight.
So, what kind of words are they?
Hum, synonyms.
No synonyms, means they are the
same. So, they are, they are not
the same, they are...
Opposites!
They are opposite I
Doreen are you finished?
Yeah.
I need you to look up here.
[The teacher completes and corrects the challenge
with the class. The teacher walks around the room
and gives written feedback to children about their
challenge.]
0089 Teacher
0090
0091
0092
0093
0094
0095
0096
0097
0098
0099
0100
0101
0102
0103
0104
I hope that you will start to do
better and think about
relationships between words and
how they relate to each other.
Remember, I said you have to
look for the parallel in the
words. You have to
learn how to do this because in
high school when you take tests
like, to get into college, these
kinds of things are in the test.
Analogies, and you'll be a better
test taker if you start to learn
now how to think about these
things like that. It will help
you become a better thinker.
[The children get their D. A. R. E. folders from their
desks and while they are waiting for the D. A. R. E.

144
officer to come the teacher reads aloud from a
book. The officer is late, so the teacher
continues reading to the class. She reads for
15 minutes and then asks the class to put their
things away and get ready to do some writing.
The D. A. R. E. officer did not come.]
0158 Teacher
0159
0160
0161
0162
0188 Teacher
0189
0190 Doreen
0191
0192
0193
0194
0195
0196
0197
0198
0200
0201
0202
0203
0204 Barbara
0205 Teacher
0206
0207
0208
0209
0210
0211
0212
0213
0210
0211
0212
0213
0214
0213
0214
0215
0216
0217
0218
0219
0220
0221 A student
Put your things away and take out
a pencil. You need to take a
piece of paper out.
We are going to do a writing
prompt.
Doreen, do you know what you need
to do?
Yes.
I am not entirely sure why there
are people wandering around the
room and talking as loudly as you
are. Everybody knows what they
need to do and this need to be
finished by next Wednesday. Your
sloppy copy needs to be done by
Monday. You don't have a lot of
time. You're writing four
different paragraphs. A
paragraph has at least four or
five sentences in it.
Can it be more?
Yes it can be more.
One sentence is not a paragraph.
If you are writing about what
they eat, you need to write a
lot. You need to be writing five
or six sentences right now about
the different foods that they
ate. Not one sentence. We have
lots of information.
Each paragraph is going to be on
a different topic. You do one
about what they looked like, one
about what their clothing looks
like, another one about
what they eat and another one
about their homes looked like in
their villages. There need to be
four different paragraphs. This
one everyone is going to write.
Choose four of these to write
about and write a whole paragraph
about each one of these.
Do we get to type it?

145
0223
0224
0225
0222 Teacher
Probably not. We don't have
enough time for thirty people to
type on the computers and get it
done by Wednesday.
In lines 25-33 Mrs. Cleary tells Michael to sit at his
desk and stop wandering around the room. She then starts
reviewing the challenge and asks the students to share
their answers. Mrs. Cleary involves Michael in the
activity and she encourages him to think of the right
answer (lines 34-40). Mrs. Cleary makes sure that
everybody has the same answer by giving her students
specific feedback. In lines 42-43 she checks on Doreen who
has been talking and requests her attention to this
activity.
After the completion of the challenge, Mrs. Cleary
gives some more feedback to her students about how to work
with analogies. She encourages them to think critically
about "relationships among words" and she discusses the
meaningfulness and purpose of analogies for their future
test performance and overall learning (lines 89-104).
Later on, Mrs. Cleary reads aloud to her students for
minutes and then they go to lunch. The students and
teacher return from lunch and recess break and in lines
158-162 they get ready to start writing. Mrs. Cleary gives
instructions about what supplies are needed for this
activity. The children start working on their writing

146
assignment and in lines (188-189) Mrs. Cleary monitors
Doreen's work by asking her if she understands what needs
to be done.
In lines 191-203 Mrs. Cleary responds to a number of
students walking around during writing by reminding of how
they should behave during work. She also reminds students
that the project is due soon and she gives some students
specific feedback about how much they need to write on each
topic. Mrs. Cleary offers a lot of specific information to
her class about the specifics of the assignment and she
monitors the progress of students who are on and off task.
In summary, the messages Mrs. Cleary communicated to
her students were about:
• How students should approach specific tasks.
• Student behavior during work.
• Student involvement during work.
• Monitoring students' behavior.
• Monitoring students' progress.
• The need for students to think carefully and
critically about information.
• The meaningfulness and purpose of class
activities.
• What students need to have before they start
working on a task.
• Specific instructions and feedback about a task.
• Students' work responsibilities: turn work in on
time, do it right, complete all work.
• The teacher's interest in students' progress.

147
Excerpt four is drawn from a morning visit to class B.
Mrs. Cleary has been working with her students on the daily
challenge and later she does a lesson on Florida's climate.
Excerpt 4
Line Speaker Discourse
0123 Teacher
0124
0125 Joshua
0126
0127
0128 Student
0129 Teacher
0130
0131
0132
0133
0134
0135
0136
0137
0138
0139
0149
0150
0151
0152
0153
0154
0155
0156
0157
0158
0159 Cindy
0160 Lucas
0161 Dimitri
0162 Teacher
0163
0164
0165
0166
How do we find information about
what page to turn to in the book?
We look at the back of the book.
Do we look at the back of the book
or at the front of the book?
The front.
The front; that's not called the
index, but it's called the table of
contents.
We are going to make sure we use
that table of contents.
This morning we are going to read a
bit more about Florida's environment.
We know a lot of information about
Florida's environment already, since
we've been studying the environment
and have been learning about animals
in the everglades and the everglades
is a big part of Florida's
environment. There are some other
things that are important in the
environment, too. (2s.)
What do you think most people think
about when they say the word
Florida? What comes to most
people's mind? (3s.) What do you
think, Cindy?
Beaches, hot sun.
Oranges, sunshine.
Disney and MGM.
The most important thing in Florida,
is its' environment. The reason
why we have all these
attractions here that Dimitri
mentioned, is because we really have

148
0167
0168
0169
0170
0171
0172
0173
0174
0175
0176
0177
0178
a very good climate here. What we
are going to do is read about what
exactly is climate and how it
affects our lives in the state
of Florida and how important it is.
So, let's read.
There are living and non-living things
in the environment, and hum, we are
going to find out how the sunshine
affects the plants that we grow
here the foods that we eat, and also
the jobs that we have. Linda?
[Linda reads aloud from her book.]
0179 Teacher
0180
0181
0182
0183
0184
0185
0186
0187
0188
0189
0190 Michael
Thank you. Let's look at those maps.
Here is a map of Florida. Look at
the temperature in January. What
would be the average temperature, in
Naples, in January? You need to
raise your hand and look at the pink
and purple map on page 45.
I want you to tell me what is the
average temperature in Fahrenheit
degrees in January, in Naples.
Michael?
61-71.
[The teacher continues asking questions about the
temperatures of other cities in Florida and helps
the students understand that the state's climate
helps create a longer growing season for crops.]
0191
0192
0193
0194
0195
0196
0197
0198
0199
0200
Remember, we have East, West, North,
and South.
Excuse me, it is very noisy in here.
There is a lot of noise. Joshua, you
need to get to your seat.
Okay, you need to get ready for a Mad
Minute.
Joshua, you need to go back to your
table; I don't want you to sit in the
back table.
The morning bell has rung, the children have unpacked
their book bags, have turned in their homework, have
completed their daily challenge with the teacher, and at

149
8:47 a.m. they start Florida history (a social studies
lesson). Mrs. Cleary is standing in the front of the room
and in lines 122-123 she asks her students to think about
how people locate information in a book. One students
says, "we look at the back of the book." The teacher does
not reject his answer but instead repeats it. She later
calls on a girl, who says we look at "the front" of a book.
Mrs. Cleary then explains that people look at the table of
contents and informs her students that this morning she is
going to have them use the table of contents in their
social studies book.
In lines 133-154, the teacher first introduces the
day's topic and then she draws connections between the
students' past experiences and knowledge of the topic and
the new information. Mrs. Cleary involves her students in
a discussion about Florida and its environment (lines 154-
158) and she encourages the students to think critically
about the relationship between Florida's climate and the
theme parks in Florida (lines 162-171).
Later on, the teacher reads aloud from the textbook
while the students follow along in their books. In lines
173-178 she comments on the material they read and explains
that they are going to learn a lot more about Florida's
climate and environment. She occasionally asks various
students to read aloud from their books. In lines 179-188
Mrs. Cleary comments on various temperatures in Florida and

150
reminds some students who call out answers that they need
to raise their hands before they speak. Mrs. Cleary
involves more students in the discussion by asking them to
find the annual temperature of various cities in Florida,
and in line 193 she comments on the noise level in the
room. She completes this activity, and in lines 196-200
Mrs. Cleary prepares her students for the next activity and
checks on a student's behavior.
In summary, the messages Mrs. Cleary communicated to
her students were about:
• How students should locate information in a
book.
• The need for students to think critically about
information.
• The meaningfulness and purpose of certain
information.
• Student involvement during discussions.
• Student behavior during discussions.
• Student cooperation during activities.
• Monitoring students' behavior.
• Monitoring students' progress.
• What students need to have before they start
working on a task.
• Specific feedback about a task.
• The teacher’s interest in students'
understanding of material.
• The teacher's interest in students applying and
critically evaluating material.

151
Discussion
The four transcripts discussed in this chapter
illustrate some of the similarities and differences in the
two classroom settings. Both teachers stressed the
importance of responsible student behavior inside and
outside the classroom, the importance of quality work, and
also the need for cooperation and collaboration among
classroom members.
Ms. Naylor and Mrs. Cleary made common curriculum
decisions for their classes, used similar materials and
packets, and spent a lot of time planning together. Both
teachers worked as a team they had some common academic and
non-academic goals. The students in their classrooms worked
on the same literature books for language arts, and did
many projects together (e.g., making and launching rockets,
or the medieval literature unit). Both teachers were very
interested in their students' academic and social growth,
and both wanted to know how they could best help and
understand their students.
Although the four excerpts illustrate numerous
similarities in the practices of the two teachers, they
also indicate some differences. Both teachers stress
performance, high work standards, appropriate classroom
behavior, and respect of others. At the time this study
was conducted, both teachers were working hard to prepare

152
their students for the "Florida Writes" exam. Writer's
workshop was part of all students' daily activities. In
addition, both teachers used Mad Minutes (a timed
mathematics facts "exercise") and mathematics games, which
took place every Friday. The fourth-grade schedule
included a two and a half hour language arts block, which
was packed with children's literature, reading, reading
skills, and writing activities. Both teachers invested a
lot of their time in language arts and math.
The teachers’ emphasis on these subjects seems to be
have influenced how their students perceived themselves
and how they interpreted their teachers' perceptions about
them in class. Specific subject abilities and performance,
classroom behavior, work responsibilities, and
relationships with others constituted the content of
students' self-perceptions and interpretations.
Both teachers had a "Community" bulletin board in
their rooms. There were many posters and written messages
posted in each classroom. Figure 4 shows the message that
was posted on the "Community Board" in each classroom:

153
We are all a part
of a community of friends:
My teacher, my classmates and me.
We are all a part of
a community of friends.
A caring and safe place to be.
Figure 4. Community Bulletin Board Message.
On the "Community" board there were pictures of each
student in the class, and some children had different color
stars next to their picture. There was a different star
for each mathematics function, and as children passed their
mathematics facts they would get a star for that function
next to their picture. In one of the interviews with Mrs.
Cleary, the researcher asked her about these stars, to
which she responded:
Those are for when we do timing and basic facts,
addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and
then mixed facts, so they have like five minutes to
complete it at the beginning of each math session, so
when they get, they have to get 90%, and if they get
90%, they get a star for that; that's why you see
different children having different stars; some are at
a different family of facts than others.
In one of the interviews Ms. Naylor said that aside
from using the stars on the "Community" board, she also
uses the "Super Solver Award" to encourage students to work

154
hard on their mathematics. The following is an excerpt
from that interview:
I use the "Super Solver Award" when we have
addition, subtraction, multiplication,
division, and mixed facts. When we have
all these scrambled up, and you have certain
time, you have to do so many in a minute
or five minutes. People who pass all facts
get this award.
Furthermore, both teachers were interested in
improving student behavior. Both teachers rewarded
appropriate classroom behavior by giving students free
homework passes, or extra computer time, or sometimes by
giving them a lollipop, or stickers. In addition, Mrs.
Cleary recognized improved student behavior by writing a
student's name on a star and placing it on the inside of
the entrance door to her classroom. Mrs. Cleary labeled
that display of stars "Shining Stars in 4th Grade." For
example, some of the students received a star for having
the "Most improved behavior," "The highest math test
score," for "Always following directions," for being
"Perfect in line," and for being an "Outstanding helper."
The same class rules were posted in both classrooms.
The following are rules (exact text from signs) that were
posted in both classrooms. Figure 5 shows the rules that
were authored by the school and Figures 6, 7, 8, and 9 show
rules that were authored by the two fourth-grade teachers.

155
SCHOOL RULES
1.
Be where you are supposed to be—and be
time
on
2.
Be prepared and on task in class
3.
Respect the rights and responsibilities
others
of
4.
Strive for excellence
Figure 5.
School Rules.
TEACHER'S FLAG RULES
1.
Be in your seat and ready to begin when
bell rings.
the
2.
Turn in your homework by 8:15.
3.
Select a library book by 8:15.
4.
Eyes on me when I count to 3.
Figure 6. Teacher's Flag Rules.

156
RULES
TO PLAY BY
•
Stand up to speak
•
Use a loud, clear speaking voice
•
Be a good listener
•
Sit up
Lean
Ask good questions
Nod
Track
Figure 7.
Rules To Play By.
THIS
IS HOW YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME
•
Raise your hand quietly
•
Be pleasant
•
Listen to others (and me)
•
Follow directions
•
Participate with enthusiasm
•
Smile
Figure 8. How Students Can Get What They Want From The
Teacher.

157
THIS DOES NOT WORK WITH ME
• Jumping up to ask questions
• Yelling in class or in my face
_• Arguing
Figure 9. What Does Not Work With The Teacher.
Class goals were written on the board, and "walk
quietly in line" was a goal that stayed on the board, in
both classes, for five weeks. Other goals were added
periodically (e.g., "receive more compliments"). When the
researcher asked Mrs. Cleary to talk about the purpose of a
"class goal," Mrs. Cleary said:
For one, because it gives me an opportunity to discuss
things, you know, if there is a problem that I see
occurring, we'll get some goal setting, you know.
They do a good job about walking in line quietly and
that was a big problem, so after we had a big problem
walking in and out of class quietly and in order, we
put it in our class agenda so we could all discuss it.
So, sometimes there are issues that we as a class
discuss and concerns that we have, so it gives me an
opportunity to talk about things that concern
all of us.
Although both teachers accented the need for
appropriate student behavior inside and outside the
classroom, there were differences in the way they
approached this issue. Ms. Naylor, as some of her students

158
mentioned in a previous section, talked more to her
students about their inappropriate behavior and also about
the pressures such behavior created for her. Mrs. Cleary-
tended to give her students more examples, and she modeled
how students could become more responsible for their own
behavior. The following excerpts from an interview with
each teacher, help illustrate this point:
Ms.Navlor: I feel like I don't always have to be
critical of them, and my conversations are always, but
you don't want to get in the habit of always sounding
so positive and then very critical of them, because
they then know that that's the pattern, that they are
going to be slammed in a minute. That's one thing I
have a hard time with, having those conversations
giving them feedback, but really trying to give it to
them in a way that they don't feel crushed. I think
I am still working on it and I am still trying to grow
because that's the hardest thing: giving them
appropriate feedback.
Mrs. Clearv: Well, our philosophy here is to stress
responsibility training rather than rewards. I mean,
we do have consequences but we really try to stress
the responsibility aspect rather than I am going to
give you checks and minuses on the board for your
behavior. Like this student today, he had a problem
with another student and I encouraged him to solve it
and talk to her, but he would do anything to avoid
problem solving.
Although "put-ups" and a "class agenda" (both
artifacts of local usage that refer to a specific practice)
were evident in both classes, Mrs. Cleary (class B) used
them more than Ms. Naylor. In the following interview
excerpt, Mrs. Cleary explains:
We usually have class meeting on Wednesdays.

159
What happens is, we have an agenda sheet over there,
the one you saw on the board, and the kids get to sign
up to sign up for issues they want to discuss and we
start up discussing their concerns and vote on things
as a class.
About the "put-ups." Every child can write a
note to another or to one of the teachers. They can
do it whenever they have free time; we also have a
basket with paper slips that fit the folders, for the
children to write their messages on. It's kind of
neat and the kids like it. The purpose of the
"put-ups" is not to be like a mailbox where kids can
write notes and ask others "Hi, how are you doing
today?", that kind of thing. It’s not for them to
write "I like you." It's for writing compliments to
others and saying nice things to each other.
Finally, although the way students interacted with
others in class was something both teachers were concerned
about, Mrs. Cleary spent more time talking with her
students on one-on-one basis, gave more specific feedback,
and modeled ways to relate with others more often than Ms.
Naylor. Figure 10 contains a copy of the exact text on one
of the posters in class A and B, about how students should
interact with others in class.

160
HOW TO TREAT OTHERS
1. Respect others:
• work quietly
• be polite
• listen when others are talking
2. Keep hands and feet to yourself
Figure 10. How To Treat Others.
In the following interview excerpts, both teachers
discuss the ways they stress relationships among student in
their classrooms:
Mrs. Clearv: We talk. Like today, "What are the
kinds of things we can say about people?" Like you can
say "you are courteous, you are kind, you are
considerate or responsible," and talk about kind of
ways to encourage or compliment each other, like "you
are kind, you are responsible,* and talk about kinds
of ways to encourage or compliment each other like,
"you are a good athlete," you know. Another thing
about this class, is that they get along with each
other so well. I mean, we really want to try to build
a sense of community and I don't know if I spend too
much time like stressing "We need to get along; we
need to get along," and that's important, but I want
to kind of back up and let them know that it's okay
to disagree.
Ms. Naylor: I mean, I try but it's not all the time
in the day I can have conversations with them and give
them more personal feedback and so, I think that's
been cut out in our day, especially this year.
There's more and more things pouring on us to do, so
there's less time for me talking to them, and I guess
that's the way I can get a sense of how they feel and

161
what's going on. I think a lot of them want that
personal connection, and I don't think they always get
that with being thirty in there. They don't get that
time with me, just the two of us, because there's
always someone interrupting when they want to tell me
something important, someone else is waiting always
behind them. That's really important to them, and I
mean it's important to me, and I feel that I don't
always give it to them.
In one of the interviews, Ms. Naylor talked about her
non-verbal reactions to some of the students' inappropriate
behavior and how she wanted to change that. She explained:
I am really bad about my body language, like showing
what I feel and I guess, I do, I do. I don't take
things so personally when I am teaching and if you
misbehave I just enact the consequence. I think I am
learning and I think that's what they see a lot of
time; I think they read a lot from my body language,
my voice, the way I change my voice. I don't yell at
them when I get really, I get really quiet so I let
them know that instead of yelling you can be mad and
hold your temper, and so.
For Mrs. Cleary, having a "light-hearted relationship"
with her students, where she could talk with them either
about personal issues, birthday parties, or personal
interests, was an important goal. Ms. Naylor said that she
"didn't have as much time as she would like to have with
her students." On the other hand, Mrs. Cleary tried to
create as many opportunities as possible to help students
learn either how to get along with each other or what
exactly was needed with their work. For example:

162
Mrs. Clearv: One of the things I have been working on
is using "I-messages" and I think that I can really
practice that and they can get really good at that and
use it consistently. That will strengthen their
relationships with one another because they'll be
talking about how the things that they do make them
feel. So, I think that this lets them know that not
only about the expectations I have for them, but that
I care enough for them to tell them to tell them when
they are letting me down or they are doing the right
thing.
Academically, I try to give feedback on their papers,
and even with Mad Minutes if they get like 89 and they
need 90 to get a star, I tell them "Oh, you are so
close," "keep trying," or "you've really made an
improvement."
Mrs. Cleary predicted that most of her students would
have a "pretty good idea" about what she thought of them,
and she added that "some may have a better idea than
others." On the other hand, Ms. Naylor hoped that "they
know, I think, they know." Ms. Naylor believed that:
I think they typically know what I want from them and
what I expect from them, and that I do have high
standards for them, but I haven't had much time with
them. I am trying to be clear about what I want them
to do and what I expect them to do. I would think they
would think positive things.
Mrs. Cleary added that:
I put forth an effort particularly in the beginning of
the year because I think it helps build a personal
relationship. I try to talk to them and I have
interactions with them every day because I think the
better relationship I can build with them the better
they are going to do in school.
Finally, both teachers believed that some of their
students probably had a better understanding of their
perceptions about them than others. According to Ms.

163
Naylor, the students who "seek me out at a good time and
receive criticism well" may have a better understanding of
what she thought of them in class. Mrs. Cleary thought
that students with "outgoing personalities" and "those who
demand that I talk to them about things,* the ones who "ask
for feedback rather than the ones who do not ask anything,"
may have a better idea of what she thought of them.
In summary, in these two fourth-grade classrooms,
students' interpretations of their teachers’ perceptions
about them, were products of an interactive social process
between children and teacher. Each teacher's practices
(i.e., the things they did together and differently in
class) shaped children's interpersonal perceptions. When
it came to the construction of their interpretations,
children selected different information from their
teacher's practices than when they constructed their self-
perceptions.
The things that were emphasized by each teacher in her
classroom seemed to influence the interpersonal perceptions
children constructed in that classroom. Students based
their interpretations on information that was made
available to them through verbal, written, and non-verbal
communication with the teacher. Students in class B
reported more information about their teacher's perceptions
about them because the teacher provided the students with

164
specific feedback both on academic and non-academic
matters.
The analysis of data, collected from (a) 60 fourth-
grade students' written reports, (b) 21 students' oral
reports, and (c) classroom observations in both classes
indicates that students' interpersonal perceptions in these
classrooms are products of student-teacher interactions.

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
The purpose of this study was to uncover the nature of
students' interpersonal perceptions in two fourth-grade
classrooms. Researchers have investigated children's
perceptions of self, objects, others, and events, but there
is a lack of research evidence about the content and
process of children's interpretations of their significant
others' perceptions about them.
Only recently have researchers begun to examine
students' perceptions from a social interaction
perspective. From this perspective people's perceptions of
self and others' perceptions about them, are viewed as
products of their interactions in social settings. This
study aimed to provide a step in filling the gap of little
empirical evidence available to demonstrate the content and
process involved in the construction of students'
interpretations of their teacher's perceptions about them
in class.
To study the nature of students' interpersonal
perceptions, the researcher (a) analyzed 60 fourth-grade
students' written and oral responses and (b) observed
classroom interactions in two classrooms overal period of
165

166
five months. In addition, informal discussions and
interviews were conducted with the two teachers. The data
collected were analyzed using procedures described by
Spradley (1980).
Analysis of the data produced a number of interesting
results. There were differences in the content of
students' self-perceptions and interpretations of what
their teacher thought of them in class. Students' self-
perceptions were loaded with information about abilities in
various subjects and sports, physical characteristics,
demographics, and family information. Students'
interpretations of what their teacher thought about them in
class consisted of information on specific abilities and
performance, personality characteristics, and classroom
behavior.
Students' interpretations reflected their classroom
culture: students interpreted their teachers’ perceptions
of them in terms of what they had heard or seen the teacher
emphasize in their classroom. Students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them were shaped,
constrained, and supported by their classroom setting and
experiences. Students' constructed their interpersonal
perceptions by interpreting their social experiences with
the teacher in class and the feedback they received from
their teacher.

167
Different students possessed different types and
amounts of information about what their teacher thought of
them, but all students asked for more specific feedback
from their teachers. Girls reported more information—
orally and in written form--than boys. Girls provided more
specific examples and evidence to support their
interpretations than boys. The more outgoing students
seemed to have more specific information about what their
teacher thought of them than other children. These
students also seemed to have more frequent interactions
with the teacher in class. Students expressed their desire
to know more about what their teacher thought of them in
specific areas such as, academic performance, behavior, and
personality characteristics. Students wished for more
specific verbal feedback from their teachers and more time
to interact with their teachers. As one student said: "I
would like to know what she thinks of me not only like in
math and stuff, but also in tiny, certain things."
(BM24.1).
The results of this study showed that: (a) these
fourth-grade children were capable of forming interpersonal
cognitive reciprocations; (b) the students analyzed the
teacher's verbal, non-verbal, co-verbal, and written
feedback; (c) what a teacher shares or does not share with

168
his/her students in class has implications for the
construction of students' interpersonal perceptions; (d)
teachers' practices and classroom interactions with their
students provide the "ingredients" for students'
interpersonal perceptions; (e) a qualitative approach to
the study of interpersonal perception in classroom settings
offers detailed and insightful data about children's
processes, and (f) this area of research warrants
methodological triangulation.
Limitations of the Results
This study was not undertaken to describe prevailing
student perceptions, match or mis-match between children's
interpretations and their teacher's actual perceptions of
them, or typical classroom interactions. The results of
this study are not generalizable in describing the
interpersonal perceptions of an at-large population of
students and classrooms. However, the researcher believes
that the results of this study can be viewed as
generalizable in the sense that they describe possibilities
for classroom interaction and practices. That is, ideas
about how students develop self-perceptions and
interpretations about their teacher's perceptions may be
exported to other sites to continue raising questions about
students' interpersonal perceptions in other classrooms.

169
This study was conducted at an elementary school, in
two classes, with two teachers, and 60 fourth-grade
students. The results of the study describe the content of
these particular students1 interpersonal perceptions and
the information they used to construct them. While the
students were sexually, academically, socio-economically,
and racially balanced, they are a group selected non-
randomly. Therefore, the specific results of this study
may or may not apply to other fourth-grade students. Also,
the particular characteristics of students' self¬
perceptions and interpretations are securely weaved within
the unique characteristics of their classrooms. Although
the content and process of students1 interpersonal
perceptions are limited to the two classes under study, the
implications for research and classroom practice are
abundant.
Each classroom setting may constitute a limitation on
the results of this study. Students' interpretations of
their teacher's perceptions about them may differ depending
on class goals and overall classroom culture. The teachers
themselves may constitute another limitation on the results
of this study. Each teacher interacted uniquely with her
students, and both teachers were interested in the topic of
interpersonal perception, which may not be the case for
other teachers. In addition, each classroom had a full-

170
time intern and although the researcher focused in the
students' interpretations of their regular classroom
teacher's perceptions about them the students' interactions
with the intern could have affected their classroom
interactions with the regular teacher. The data showed
that students had no difficulty in differentiating between
their teacher and the intern. The presence of the interns
in these two settings constitutes a limitation as it may
not be the case for other classes.
Another limitation of the results has to do with
methods used in this study. Although children's free-
responses provided abundant information about the content
of their perceptions, some children's responses may have
been influenced by their writing abilities or even
attitudes toward writing. The repeated free-responses
enabled the researcher to see the consistency in children's
written responses, but because of time limits the students
could write only for ten to fifteen minutes each time.
Writing was a part of both classes under study, but that
may not be the case for other classrooms.
Repeated interviews with students proved to be very
helpful in providing insight about the information students
used to construct interpersonal perceptions. Moreover,
interviews enabled the researcher to see a consistency
between the children's written and oral responses. Face-

171
to-face interviewing could become a challenging situation
for some children who are asked to share their personal
perspectives with an outsider. Individual student
characteristics may have something to do with how much
information some students shared with the researcher.
Also, because of time constraints, the researcher was able
to interview only 21 out of the 60 students in the two
classes, which caused her to miss the perspectives of other
students.
Another important limitation has to do with the length
of observations in the two class settings. The researcher
observed classroom interactions over a five-month period,
and she became a very familiar and comfortable figure in
the classrooms. Nevertheless, the researcher was an
outsider, and her personal perspective constitutes a
limitation to her interpretations.
The final limitation has to do with the purpose of the
study. The researcher limited her analysis to a
description and interpretation of the students'
interpersonal perceptions. The researcher's investigation
into this area was not aimed to consider other variables
that may relate to the construction of such perceptions,
such as self-concept or personality characteristics.

172
Relationships of Findings to Previous Research
The present study adds depth and breadth to the body
of research on children's interpersonal perceptions. As
Combs (1962) suggested, different children have different
perceptions and form different interpretations because of
the unique way they view themselves, their teacher's
perceptions of them, and because of the individual meanings
they assign to their classroom experiences and
interactions.
This study supports Wittrock's (1986) research by
showing that the children were capable of perceiving their
teacher's feedback. The results of this study add
especially to Livesley and Bromley’s (1973) landmark study
on children's person perception. The students in this
study, used both peripheral, (e.g., appearance,
possessions, likes/dislikes) and central (e.g., personality
characteristics, motives, attitudes) statements in their
self-perceptions and interpretations.
In addition, these fourth-graders were able to handle
the high level of mental abstraction required by
perception. The high concentration of central statements
in students' interpersonal perceptions verifies Livesley
and Bromley's (1973) findings about children over the age
of eight being able to form perceptions that are not
dominated by a concrete, here-and-now situation.

173
As in Livesley and Bromley's study (1973), a couple of
the children who thought the teacher disliked them gave
more explanatory statements because they were possibly
trying to justify their feelings. The results of this study
add an interesting twist to Weinstein's studies (e.g.,
Brattesani, Weinstein, & Marshall, 1984; Marshall &
Weinstein, 1986) about high-achieving students receiving
more feedback from the teacher than lower-ability students.
Results from the interview data suggest that higher-ability
students asked for more feedback, knew how to get more
feedback, and negotiated differently with the teacher, than
the lower-ability students.
Sainsbury (1992) stressed that teachers should focus
on understanding education from the perspective of their
students. The present study provides a wealth of evidence
on what kind of information the students selected from
their classroom interactions to construct interpretations
about their teacher's perceptions of them. The results of
this study suggest that teachers may not be aware of how
their students perceive and interpret their verbal, non¬
verbal, and written messages, or the amount of times they
interact or do not interact with their students in school.
Also, the results indicated that students interpreted
their teacher's verbal, non-verbal, and written feedback as
evidence of the teacher's perceptions about them. These

174
results add to the lack of empirical evidence about how
students interpret their experiences with the teacher in
class (Darley & Fazio, 1980; Marshall, 1994; Wingfield &
Harold, 1992) . These findings may offer researchers a new
perspective about how students learn over time in various
educational contexts. The children in this study received
more information about what it means to be a fourth-grade
student in their class by interpreting both the explicit,
as well as implicit, information that was located "between
the lines" of their daily classroom interactions with the
teacher (Kantor, Davies, Fernie & Murray, 1994).
Results about the students1 interpretations of their
teacher's perceptions add to the body of research (i.e.,
Yeager, Florianni & Green, 1995) that suggests that
students' perspectives reveal that learning—academic,
personal, or social--is fundamentally a matter of inquiry
and interpretation of people's experiences in various
settings. The results also support Bloome & Green's (1984)
and Cochran-Smith's (1984) findings that through their
social interactions, students and teachers construct
classroom life and create opportunities for interpersonal
learning.
Moreover, this study adds to the research evidence in
the area of "meta-perceptions," in which research is very
minimal with children. Felson (1981, 1992) suggested that

175
people use their self-perceptions to interpret what others
think of them. The results of this study propose that the
students based their interpretations on the type of
feedback they had received from the teacher. The majority
of the children were able to support their interpretations
with detailed explanations, especially in areas in which
they had much verbal and written information about their
teachers' perceptions of them.
Lastly, the results of this study make a contribution
to Wing's work (1995) on children's construction of
identity through negotiation. This study suggests a
possibility that children who negotiate more meaning from
classroom events and interactions are able to form a richer
framework around which they understand what they do in
school and how teachers perceive them than those who do
not.
As is often the case in qualitative research, data
analysis reveals a number of variables that have bearing on
the questions of interest. In this study students’ self-
perceptions and interpretations suggest a connection to
several variables, including age, gender, developmental
factors, academic ability, personality factors, and the
context in which the defining processes were constructed.

176
Implications for Future Research
The study of students' perceptions is not new to the
field of educational research. However, the construction
of students' interpersonal knowledge, the students'
interpretation of their teacher's perceptions about them,
and the combination of methodology may be new to some
researchers.
By examining the content and construction of students'
interpersonal perceptions in naturalistic contexts, this
study contributes to theories and practices of social-
interaction, as well as theories of the social construction
of children's interpersonal knowledge. However, the
results of this study also generate questions that warrant
further investigation.
One of the questions relates to the teachers' actual
perceptions of their students. Since the focus of this
study was on the students' interpersonal perceptions, the
researcher did not examine the perceptions the two teachers
held about their students. A more concentrated effort to
obtain this information could have added to the
researcher's understanding of possible incongruities
existing between the teachers' and the students
perceptions.
Another question suggested by the study concerns the
role of developmental factors on students' interpretations.

177
Piaget (1952) suggested that a child who is advanced in
understanding what others see is also advanced in
comprehending another's thought. What about children who
do not have an advanced understanding? How do children who
are not as socially competent as other students interpret
the teacher's perceptions about them in class? What about
students who can negotiate meaning better than other
students? Do they have a better understanding of what
their teacher thinks of them in class than the students who
cannot negotiate meaning? These are some of the questions
the researcher is planning to further investigate.
Research findings (Dickman, 1963; Flapan, 1968) have
indicated that age is a significant factor in the degree of
realism of perceptions and degree of subtlety of cues
children use in their perceptions. How about younger or
older students? This kind of questions demands a lengthier
study that could possibly show changes in children's
interpersonal growth. Some girls in this study seemed to
be more fluent in describing and explaining their
perceptions and interpretations than some boys. Are there
gender differences in children's interpersonal perceptions?
Do girls and boys use different means to obtain information
from the teacher about her perceptions of them? These
questions warrant further investigation.

178
An individual's behavior is, in part, a reflection of
how he or she perceives the environment around him or her
(Ayers, 1969). How do at-risk students interpret their
teacher's perceptions about them? How do children who are
less socially competent and less independent interpret
their teacher's perceptions about them? Research with an
at-risk student population could help prevent future
breakdowns in student-teacher relationships.
Implications for Educational Practice
This study was designed to describe and not prescribe.
Every classroom is a living community with unique members.
What happened in the two fourth-grade classes cannot be
copied and expected to work in the same way in another
setting. However, certain general principles can be
derived from this situated study.
Students in any classroom need opportunities to
interact with and receive meaningful feedback from their
teachers. Teachers need to recognize that all students
need opportunities to discuss their understanding of
classroom events. Discussions that invite students'
perspectives may help students' interpersonal learning.
Mead (1934) stated that individuals become independent by
their ability to reflect upon, interpret, and judge the
world around them.

179
Hansford (1988) states that the teaching-learning
process is built upon the assumption that the participants
actively listen to each other. However, from our
experiences in interpersonal communication and knowledge of
the complexity of classrooms, we know that the extent to
which students and teachers listen to each other varies
according to the participants involved in the interaction,
the discussion topic, the setting, and even how people feel
on that particular day.
A great part of life's meaning comes from our
relationships with others. A richer understanding of
interpersonal communication in classroom settings may give
teachers insights that would allow them to make their
relationships with their students more effective. Better
communication between students and teachers may aid
students' interpersonal growth.
This study could help teachers to recognize that (a)
information they share with their students about what they
think of them in class may help create interpersonal
understanding; (b) quality, personalized feedback--academic
and non-academic--may help students understand their
experiences with the teacher and help create improved
relationships in the classroom. Teachers need to recognize
that students' perceptions and interpretations of self,

180
influence the students' social, interpersonal, and academic
growth.
Teachers must realize that their students may not be
learning just what teachers think they are learning.
Students enter the classroom with unique interests,
abilities, and needs that influence the way the perceive
and learn in social settings. The results of this study
suggest that teachers need to become more aware of the
influence their messages have upon their students.
Teachers must become more sensitive to the interpretations
their students construct and should monitor through
personal interactions the meanings students assign to their
classroom experiences.
Teachers can ask themselves "How can I let my students
know what I think of them?" "What can I talk to them
about?" "How can I tap into their perceptions and better
understand them?" "How can I connect better, especially
with students who have blocked communication with me?"
Real sharing, opening up, exploring ideas together,
listening to each other, and learning more about each other
are some of the ways teachers can create learning
communities in their classroom and help in the construction
of student identities.

181
According to Pajares & Webb (1994, p.16):
Any learning community, if it is to flourish, must
have the courage to examine its practices and look for
ways to improve. When we listen to students, we come
to understand how they experience school. . . . That
then, is the challenge: to have the courage to listen
and when necessary, the willingness to change.

APPENDIX A
IRB APPROVAL

July 29
1996
Ms. Vicky Zygouris-Coe
3002 NU 62nd AVE.
Gainesville, FL 32653
C. Michael Levy, Chair,
University of Florida Institutional
Review Board
Approval of Project #96.346
Interpersonal perception: students' and teachers' mutual
knowledge of each other in class
Funding: Unfunded
I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional Review
Board has recommended the approval of this project. The Board concluded that
participants will not be placed at more than minimal risk in this research.
Given your protocol, it is essential that you obtain signed documentation of
consent from each participant over 18 years of age, and from the parent or legal
guardian of each participant under 18 years of age. When it is feasible, you
should obtain signatures from both parents. Enclosed are the dated, IRB-approved
informed consents to be used when recruiting participants for this research.
If you wish to make any changes in this protocol, you must disclose your
plans before you implement them so that the Board can assess their impact
on your project. In addition, you must report to the Board any unexpected
complications arising from the project which affect your participants.
If you have not completed this project by July 29, 1997, please telephone
our office (392-0433) and we will tell you how to obtain a renewal.
It is important that you keep your Department Chair informed about the status
of this research.
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
CML/h2
cc: Dr. Weade

APPENDIX b
A SAMPLE OF FREE RESPONSES

I THINK MS. NAYLOR THINKS I AM...
CLASS A
1.Mario (male)
Time 1
She hates me because I don't like her.
Time 2
She thinks I am good and bad. She thinks I am bad when
I eat in line and good when I am finished with math.
Time 3
She thinks I am good when I walk in line quietly.
2.Albert (male)
Time 1
I think my teacher thinks I am nice to other people and
smart. I think she even thinks I am funny and cool. I think
she thinks I am help ful.
Time 2
A trifeck student at sports !!
Time 3
kind and weird.
3.Marcus (male)
Time 1
She hats me in she likes every bidy elsip (everybodyelse).
[Has drawn a picture of the teacher with a sad face on)
Time 2
dump because I'm not as smart as others. Good at science.
Time 3
She thinks I am sioupted because I am stoupied.
4.Christina (female)
Time 1
I think rry teacher thinks I'm a good student. Sharing,
leting people know that is not how you do it but in a nice
way. She might think I'm a good listener. I'm always
185

186
staying on task. She might think I try to do my very best
instead of playing like some students.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am a good writer because
she read a story that I made to the whole class. I think
Ms. Naylor thinks I am good at computers because she tells
me all the when I write on the computer.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am good at math because I
am in mixed facts which is really good and I think that I
am quiet in line because my name is never chehed (checked)
by the caboose.
5. Andreas (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I'm very wako, crazy, cool but
weird, wako and funny, loud and if not I don't know.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor thinks that I am unike. (unique)
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am smart because she
expects a lot from me.
6. Dale (female)
Time 1
I think my teacher thinks I'm smart at times and a hungry
eater maby I don't really know what my teacher thinks of me
but this is what I think she thinks. I think she thinks I'm
a good soccer player. And a good environmental person
because I'm in this mushroom club with my friend's. I think
my teacher thinks I'm a good writer and I know that because
she told me. I think she thinks I'm a neat reporter too I
know she thinks so because teachers are suposed to like
their student's. Well, I ran out of things to say to write
again.
Time 2

187
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I'm a good writer when I write in
writers workshop. When I read aloud to the class in lague
arts in walk The Sky path, (a book they've been studying)
When I play soccer and make a goal. When I read in silent
reading.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am cool because she doesn't
like me. Im smart at spelling. Thats all.
7.Buddy (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I am cool, neet, bad, mesterees.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor think I m bad at line leeding.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am neet because of this!! (has
drawn a skeleton.)
8.Tara (female)
Time 1
I don't know what she thinks of me! /comments on
worksheets/
1. super work 2. write on the lines
Time 2
I don't know what Ms. Naylor thinks I am. I don't know what
she thinks of me.
Time 3
I don't know what Ms. Naylor thinks I am because she never
tells my what she thinks of me.
9.Jimmie (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I am a nice jentelmana. Ms. Naylor thiks
I am good at math and nice. She thiks I am a nice and caful
student. I am glad I am in her class because she dose a lot
of cool things. She is vary nice. I hope you can by (be) my
5th grade tecaher.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor thinks lam a good studen. She thinks I
am a nice person in school and at recess.
Time 3
good at douring (doing) my homework, playing sports and
working hard.

188
10. Jane
Time 1
A wird, smart cool kid that likes to try to be good
and be the best I can. I think she likes me but I'm not
sure I think she thinks I like work and art. I think she
thinks I'm a good kid when I try.
Time 2
I think that she thinks I mostly try my best, but not
always.
Time 3
a bad kid and I know she hates me and I hate her
because she acts like it!
11. Alexa (female)
Time 1
I think Ms. Naylor Think I am good stand a good writer.
Time 2
I think she thinks am funny go at math when it is math time
go at sports go at Writers workshop.
Time 3
A good and hard worker. The proble thats I can do any think
of I put my mind to it! I think Ms. Naylor I am go at my
multiplications.
12.Lizie (female)
Time 1
I don't know what she thinks I am!!!
Time 2
For the last time...
I don11 know!!
Time 3
I don't know and I don't C A R E ! ! !
13.Kyle (male)
Time 1
She thinks I am smart. Also she thinks I am good at sports.

189
Time 2
She thinks I'm good at goalie also in class I'm nice to
people. Sometimes she thinks I'm bad.
Time 3
She thinks I am good at sports and other things like math.
14. Roberta (female)
Time 1
I think my teacher likes me. When my teacher askes the
class a qaustion she tries to give everybody a chance and I
understand that but it seems like she takes forever to call
me. I like Ms. Naylor she is kind and fair. When my mom
picks me up she picks me up on her lunch break. My mom said
I have to get out as soon as I can. I told Ms. Naylor that
my mom has to get me as soon as she can and now I live on
time.
Time 2
Ms. Naylor is a nice teacher. She probley thinks I a
very Intelligent girl. Im not trying to be a gooddy to shoe
but I think she likes me
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am not trying my best
because I feel like I,m not reaching her goal for me. I
also think she thinks I am a nice girl.
15. Jim (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I'am a human but I'am a allin from allin
workshop. (Done and you won't know any more.)
Time 2
I think Miss Naylor thinks I am a human but I'am ALLIN
Time 3
Ms. Naylor thinks I am God because my powers people bow so
you can now.
16.Gloria (female)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor think I'm almos always nice to other. I'm a good
student. She think Im a pretty smart kid. If I try my best
I can get a good score. I'm good at writing long stories.

190
I'm not the best at math but if I try my best I can go a
hole lot better. I need to encerege (encourage) my self
when I do stuff so I can do good on what I'm doing. She
thinks I love to read a lot because Im sometimes reading my
book because I like it so much.
Time 2
I'm a nice girl. Fun to be with. Friendly and generous.
Kind, helpful when I want to.
Time 3
I don't care what Ms. Naylor thinks of me.
17.Adam (male)
Time 1
She thinks I'm an obnoxious little brat. And a homely,
repulsive, ugly and bizare.
Time 2
mean because I sometimes do things I shouldn't.
Time 3
Smart because I know my addition.
18.Michelle (female)
Time 1
A smart kid who needs alot of understanding to work, thow I
am not that smart it still bose not make me a bad kid. I am
a nice kid with lovin parents.
Time 2
I think that she thinks that I am ok or smart. I I might
think I get in trudle to much. Like in the line or other
things.
Time 3
I dont know.
19.Pam (female)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor think that I am smart and enteligent she saids.
That I sweet and confidete and care and I am . Ms. Naylor
also helps me learn and understand things better. She is a
nice and caring. Ms. Naylor_ said that I'm a good soccer
player.
Time 2
Absent

191
Time 3
I am funny in what I do. And when I'm smart in math.
20.Greg (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I have very sloppy hand writing. She
probily thinks I am also good at math. She might think I am
horrid at Florida History. She might also think I am funny.
She also thinks I talk a lot. I gues thats all.
Time 2
A good student in Math and Florida history. Because I
answer a lot of questions. I think she thinks I am a very
good coloror.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am good at my math. Bacause I
don't miss a lot of problems.
21.Melissa (female)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I am good looking and very nice to.
She dose not like the way I dress. She doesnt like the
things I like either. She wants me to be great. She doesnt
like me.
Time 2
Well, I think that she thinks I am a very smart kid and I
am really good at making friends. I also think that she
thinks I am sometimes a not very nice kid but mostly I'm
pretty good. She thinks that every kid is good noone to her
is a bad kid cause I know that all kids are good inside and
I think that she's a very really good teacher and I hope
she never becames somthing else besides a teacher cause
this school really needs her.
Time 3
(couldn't participate; was sent to time-out by
teacher)
22.Patrick (male)
Time 1
I Don't no

192
Time 2
good at soccer
Time 3
I am good at math.
23.Heather (female)
Time 1
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am a good student, maby
bad at not talking in line. I'm not relly shure. Sorry.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am kind of a nusence
because it is hard for me to not talk in line and she has
to move me alot.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am a good student, pritty
good at math, a nousence to have to move to the back of the
line.
24.Samantha (female)
Time 1
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am a pretty good student. I
listen. I think she injoys having me.
Time 2
good at soccer, I am nice to class mates, I am kind to
people.
Time 3
smart because I don't miss alot of problems on worksheets,
I am nice to classmates.
25.Christopher (male)
Time 1
A good hard worker and that I try to help as much as I can.
I'm grateful and I try to get people out of trouble.
Time 2
Good at math and writing.
Time 3
Good at math because I been working hard and I am on
dividion in the mad minutes. I need to speed up in math.

193
26.Jonathan (male)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I am a nice and kind person. She thinks
the work I do is great. She thinks I'm a great person. She
thinks I'm great in science and computers. She thinks my
favorite thing is computers.
Time 2
...great when I am peaceful.
Time 3
...gtreat at science and math.
27.Tim (male)
Time 1
I don't know
Time 2
I don't know
Time 3
Ms. Naylor thinks I am a little crazy, weared.
28.Addy (female)
Time 1
Ms. Naylor thinks I am a nice freindly kid. With a lot of
friends, a hard worker.
Time 2
I talk to much in line. I think she thinks I am a good
student that follows derikshons.
Time 3
that I try my best at all my work.
29.Lynette (female)
Time 1
A nice person, and she sometimes gives me warnings. I have
not, I repeat not. been sent to outer circle yet. When I
work with another group, she always complements on it. She
is a very nice person. And I personally know how she feels
about me.
By Lynette

194
Time 2
A very pacific person. Pacific means I give good answers
when my teacher calls on me when she wants me to correct or
anser a question. Sometimes she thinks I am a good, nice,
sometimes gets warnings (checks) and I hardly ever let my
friend down and I always give them put-ups person.
Time 3
nice because I am nice to my friends I play with. I think
she also thinks I am special.
30. Richard (male)
Time 1
I think Ms. Naylor thiks I am nice.
Time 2
I think Ms. Naylor thinks I am good at soccer because I
[layed soccer for 3 yeras.
Time 3
I think Ms. Naylor thinks of me good at soccer.

APPENDIX C
A SAMPLE OF DOMAIN ANALYSIS

Figure 2
Domain Analysis; I Think Mrs. Clearv Thinks I Am... Class B
ABILITIES:Subject-related
good at math because I get my highest grades in math
(BM1.3)
not good at American language (BM5.1)
very bad at SA's because I don't get l's, 2's, 3's
(BM5.3)
good at math because I can solve problems (BM6.1)
sometimes good with solving science (BM6.1)
good at math (BM6.2)
good at science (BM6.2)
good at social studies (BM6.2)
good at reading (BM6.2)
good in math because she'll pick me and I'll be right
(BF7.1)
bad in Florida History because she'll pick me and I'll
be wrong (BF7.1)
bad in literature groups (BF7.2)
good at spelling (BF7.2)
bad in math because I get most of the words right
(BF7.3)
a sort of a smart person at math (BM9.1)
good at spelling (BM9.1)
good at reading (BM9.1)
bad in math because I can't get past subtraction
(BM9.3)
good at math (BM10.2)
good at math (BM12.1)
good at writing (BM12.1)
good at addition (BM12.1)
good at subtraction (BM12.1)
good at multiplication (BM12.1)
good at division (BM12.1)
good at mixed facts (BM12.1)
good at math (BM12.2)
good at spelling (BM12.2)
good at P.E. (BM12.2)
good at math because I am good at addition,
subtraction, multiplication and division (BM12.3)
good in music because I listen (BF13.3)
good in FL History because I raise my hand (BF13.3.)
good at reading (BF15.2)
a good writer because she always compliments me on my
writing (BF15.3)
very good at math (BM19.2)
good at math (BF21.2)
196

197
• good at writing (BF21.2)
• a good reader (BF21.2)
• whiz-kid in math (BF22.2)
• should be a writer someday for children's books
(BF23.2)
• a math champ (BF23.3)
• good writer in cursive (BF23.3)
• I have to work on my math a lot because I don't get
finished in time (BM25.1)
• have to work a little harder because I don't get
finished in time (BM25.1)
• have to work a little harder in math (BF26.2)
• need more help with spelling (BF29.2)
• need more help with math (BF29.3)
• good at cursive (BF29.3)
• great at recess (BF29.3)
• good at making up details when I have a book report
(BF30.1)
• good at spelling (BF30.2)
• not that good at rounding in math (BF30.2)
(N=52)
ABILITIES:Sports
• good at soccer because when I am goalie only a few can
pass me (BM5.3)
• good at football because I can catch passes and run
for a touchdown (BM6.1)
• good at football (BM6.3)
• good at basketball (BM6.3)
• good at soccer (BM6.3)
• good at soccer (BM9.1)
• a good athlete (BM12.2)
• good at soccer (BM12.3)
• good at football (BM12.3)
• good at baseball (BM12.3)
• a very good soccer player (BM19.1)
• a sports person (BM19.2)
• very athletic in sports because I score goals (BF19.3)
• a good runner (BF21.2)
• a sports person (BF22.2)
• athletic (BF23.1)
• an athletic person (BF23.2)
• good at soccer (BF23.2)
• an athletic person (BF23.3)
• fast runner (BF23.3)
• tough kid at soccer (BF23.3)
• a very flexible person because I take karate and I
stretch every day (BF23.3)
Figure 2—continued

198
• good in some sports, not wonderful (BF24.1)
• a good soccer player (BF25.3)
• a good football player (BF25.3)
• I don't really know if she thinks I am a good athlete
(BF26.2)
• good at soccer (BF29.2)
(N=27)
ABILITIES:General
• a good student (BM2.2)
• an OK student (BM3.1)
• smart because I try my hardest in class (BM6.3)
• good at some things (BF7.2)
• a good student (BF8.1)
• smart because I do good on most of my assignments
(BF8.3)
• dumb (BM9.3)
• smart (BF12.1)
• dumb (BF14.1)
• smart (BF15.1)
• smart (BF15.2)
• a good learner (BF16.1)
• very smart (BF16.2)
• smart (BF18.2)
• good at a lot (BF19.2)
• a good student (BF21.1.)
• a good student (BF21.3)
• a good student (BM25.1)
• dumb because I do a lot of work and I don't do it good
(BF25.2)
• good or OK in school (BF26.1)
• smart (BF30.1)
• good student (BF30.3)
(N=22)
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS
• nice in school (BM1.1)
• crazy (BM2.1)
• nice (BM2.2)
• good (BM2.2)
• weird (BM3.1)
• weird (BM3.2)
• weird (BM3.3)
• think negative a lot (BF8.2)
• nice because I am nice to most people (BF8.3)
• shy (BM9.1)
j a nice kid (BM10.1)
Figure 2—continued

199
• nice to be around (BM10.1)
• nice to be around (BM10.2)
• kind to be around (BM10.2)
• nice kid to be around (BM10.3)
• a kind person (BMll.l)
• silly (BF13.1)
• weird (BF13.1)
• nice (BF13.1)
• ugly (BF13.1)
• energetic (BF15.1)
• weird (BF15.1)
• funny when I make everyone laugh (BF15.2)
• caring (BF15.2)
• nice (BF15.2)
• friendly (BF15.2)
• outgoing (BF15.2)
• caring (BF15.3)
• trusting (BF16.2)
• very nice person (BF16.2)
• polite (BF16.2)
• sweet (BF17.1)
• funny (BF18.2)
• nice because she always gives me compliments (BF18.3)
• very pleasant (BM19.1)
• a nice kid (BF21.1)
• fair (BF21.2)
• a good sport (BF21.2)
• silly (BF21.3)
• friendly (BF21.3)
• a good person (BF22.1)
• good (BF22.2)
• nice (BF23.1)
• well-mannered person (BF23.1)
• bossy person (BF23.1)
• cruel when I am bad (BF23.1)
• crude or I hit or something (BF23.2)
• an OK kid (BF24.1)
• crazy because I act like it (BF25.2)
• a pretty good kid (BF26.1)
• very nice (BF26.2)
• sometimes good (BF26.3)
• sometimes kind (BF26.3)
• a good kid (BM27.1)
• a nuisance (BM28.1)
• cheerful because I am always smiling (BF29.1)
• responsible most of the time (BF29.1)
• good student because I listen (BF30.1)
(N=57)
Figure 2—continued

200
BEHAVIOR
• good in school (BM1.1)
• not bad in school (BMl.l)
• not as good in home as I am in school (BMl.l)
• not as good at home as I am in school (BM1.2)
• a trouble maker (BM2.1)
• a good kid (BM2.3)
• I talk too much (BM3.1)
• I don't talk in line, but I do (BM3.2)
• I don't pay attention (BF4.1)
• I’m always talking to my friends (BF4.1)
• I play around when it's time to work (BF4.1)
• a very bad child because I ran around the classroom
all day(BF4.1)
• bad because I talk to my friends (BF4.3)
• bad because I don't listen to her (BF4.3)
• good when I pay attention (BF4.3)
• good in lunch (BF7.1)
• can be annoying but she doesn't really mind (BF8.2)
• a good student because I do what I am supposed to do
(BF8.3)
• good because I hardly ever get in trouble (BF8.3)
• a person who talks too much in line (BM9.1)
• I get in so much trouble (BM9.3)
• good (BM12.1)
• she won't call me a nuisance (BM12.1)
• a listener (BF13.1)
• good (BF13.1)
• a nuisance (BF13.1)
• good (BF13.2)
• bad (BF13.2)
• good sometimes (BF13.2)
• bad sometimes (BF13.2)
• bad (BF14.1)
• talkative (BF15.1)
• a good listener (BF16.1)
• a good kid (BF16.1)
• a loud speaker when I talk (BF16.1)
• I am very bad because I am not always on task (BF17.2)
• I can be good when I feel like I would like to be
(BF17.3)
• I am not on my best behavior all the time (BF17.3)
• bad when I walk in line with my friends (BF19.3)
• always follow directions (BF21.2)
• a good listener (BF21.2)
• always follow directions (BF21.3)
• get my work done and turn it in on time (BF22.1)
• sometimes I don't pay attention (BF26.1)
• bad when talking while she's teaching (BF26.3)
Figure 2—continued

201
• sometimes a bad student (BM27.1)
• bad when I don't turn in my homework (BF28.2)
• bad (BF28.2)
• I don't cheat on tests (BF30.1)
(N=49)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
• nice to my friends (BM1.2)
• I don't fight with my peers (BM1.2)
• I help kids out (BM2.3)
• nice to people (BF4.2)
• good at playing with little buddies (BM6.2)
• a nice friend to others (BM10.1)
• a good friend to others (BM10.3)
• a good helper because I volunteer a lot (BM11.2)
• kind because I always try to help out (BM11.3)
• nice to other people (BM12.1)
• I am William's friend and I like him (BF14.2)
• mean to her (BF14.2)
• bad and a bully to some people but I am not (BF14.3)
• caring about other people (BF15.1)
• caring because I always look out for other people
(BF15.3)
• very nice to others (BF16.2)
• a good classmate to my friends (BF17.2)
• nice to my classmates (BF17.2)
• I respect her most of the time (BF17.2)
• a good friend to my friends (BF21.1)
• good to my friends (BF21.2)
• nice to people (BF21.2)
• nice to others (BF21.3)
• I care about people (BF21.3)
• cruel when I am bad (BF23.1)
• popular person because I have a lot of friends
(BF23.3)
• a experienced big buddy (BF24.2)
• respectful (BF24.2)
• I help people (BF26.3)
• I give other people a chance (BF26.3)
• I help others (BF29.2)
• I have friends (BF29.3)
• I help her during after school with whatever she needs
help with (BF30.3)
(N=33)
Figure 2—continued

202
EFFORT
• I try my best on class work (BM1.2)
• somebody who does not try (BF4.2)
• I try my hardest in math (BM6.3)
• a hard worker (BF8.1)
• a hard working person that tries my best (BM11.2)
• I try very hard in math (BF16.2)
• I try very hard in spelling (BF16.2)
• a hard worker when I work on something (BF16.2)
• a hard worker (BF22.1)
(N=9)
FAVORITE THINGS
• loving writing (BF15.1)
• liking reading (BF15.2)
• like science (BM24.1)
• like to read (BM24.1)
• interested in reading (BM24.2)
(N=5)
TEACHER LIKES ME/DISLIKES ME
• she likes me (BF26.1)
• hates me because I am bad (BF27.2)
(N=2)
DON'T KNOW
• I don't know (BM27.2)
(N=l)
OTHER
• nothing because I am nothing (BF22.3)
(N=2)
PERSONAL INFORMATION
• watch too many movies that have a lot of killing in
them (BM19.1)
(N=l)
Figure 2—continued

APPENDIX D
SAMPLES OF TAXONOMIC ANALYSIS

204
Table D-l
Taxonomic,Analysis; I Think I Am... Class A
ÍÍMÜÍÜ^Ü|pl|p
SUBJECT-RELATED (n«$0>
• math (n=24)
• good (n=24)
• not so qood (n=5/24)
• writing (n=10)
• reading (n=8)
• not good (n=2/8)
• spelling (n=7)
• not do good (n=l/7)
• art (n=6)
• cursive (n=4)
• not so good (n=l/4)
• Fl History (n=3)
• not so good (n=l/3)
• music (n=3)
• acting (n=l)
• French (n=l)
• general (n=l)
• language arts (n=l)
• story telling (n=l)
SPORTS (n=37)
• soccer (n=14)
• sports (n=5)
• basketball (n=3)
• running (n=3)
• baseball (n=l)
• football (n=l)
• gymnastics (n=2)
• hockey (n=2)

Table D-l—continued
• athletic (n=l)
• climbing (n=l)
• skateboardinq (n=l)
• swimminq (n=l)
GENERAL (n=20)
• smart (n=9)
• qood in school (n=5)
• intelligent (n=3)
• stupid (n=2)
• dumb (n=l)
PERSONAL INFORMATION (N=86)
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION (n=33)
• siblinqs (n=9)
• aqe (n=6)
• name (n=6)
• birthday (n=4)
• parents (n=3)
• birth order (n=2)
• cultural heritage (n=l)
• family (n=l)
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE (n=24)
• general (n=7)
• eye color (n=6)
• hair color (n=6)
• height (n=2)
• fat (n=l)
• strong (n=l)
• uqly (n=l)
SCHOOL-RELATED (n=10)
• bored (n=2)
• classwork (n=2)
• abilities (n=l)
• grades (n=l)
• memory (n=l)
205

Table D-l—continued
• school performance (n=l)
• teacher (n=l)
• writinq pace (n=l)
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (n=9)
• lanquaqes (n=4)
• sports (n=4)
• acrobatics (n=l)
• qymnastics (n=l)
• soccer (n=l)
• Music (n=l)
• play quitar (n=l)
POSSESSIONS (n=5)
• pets (n=l)
OTHER (n=3)
• I like myself (n=3)
HOBBIES (n=2)
• art (n=2)
• cookinq (n=l)
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS (N=51)
SPECIFIC (n=28)
• fun (n=4)
• funny (n=4)
• happy (n=4)
• determined (n=2)
• enerqetic (n=2)
• crazy (n=l)
• friendly (n=l)
• qenerous (n=l)
• helpful (n=l)
• hopeful (n=l)
• independent (n=l)
• kind (n=l)
• lazy (n=l)
• not sensitive (n=l)
206

Table D-l—continued
• playful (n=l)
• speak my mind (n=l)
• thinkable (n=l)
GENERAL (n=17)
• nice (n=10)
• not cool (n=6)
• qood person (n=l)
• weird (n=l)
• qood sport (n=l)
• qreat kid (n=l)
• special (n=l)
LIKES (N=41)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=29)
• writinq (n=8)
• math (n=6)
• qames (n=2)
• qeneral (n=2)
• don't like math trivia (n=l)
• hate math (n=l)
• art (n=3)
• music (n=2)
• p.e. (n=2)
• computers (n=l)
• Enqlish (I don't like) (n=l)
• enrichment (n=l)
• FL history (don't like) (n=l)
• qeoqraphy (n=l)
• literature qroups (don't like) (n=l)
• recess (n=l)
• spellinq (n=l)
SCHOOL-RELATED (n=19)
• sports (n=15)
• soccer (n=7)
• football (n=4)
207

Table D-l—continued
• qeneral (n=2)
• swimming (n=l)
• track (n=l)
• qeneral (n=3)
• playing (n=l)
HOBBIES (n=5)
• board qames (n=l)
• look at sharks, whales (n=l)
• readinq books (n=3)
• qeneral (n=l)
• mystery stories (n=l)
• science fiction (n=l)
OTHER (n=l)
• qoinq home (n=l)
FAVORITE THINGS (N=33)
SUBJECTS (n=24)
• art (n=5)
• writing (n=5)
• qeneral (n=4)
• at the computer (n=l)
• math (n=4)
• qeneral (n=3)
• dice qames (n=l)
• science (n=3)
• p.e. (n=2)
• book reports (n=l)
• computers (n=l)
• lanquaqe arts (n=l)
• music (n=l)
• spellinq (n=l)
SPORTS (n=9)
• qeneral (n=4)
• soccer (n=2)
• kick and jump (n=l)
208

Table D-l—continued
• gymnastics (n=l)
• skateboarding (n=l)
FRIENDS (N=16)
FRIENDS-RELATED (n=16)
• have friends (n=5)
• best friend's name (n=3)
• my friends are (n=3)
• best friends are (n=2)
• best friend sits at (n=l)
• cool with friends (n=l)
• don't have lots of friends (n=l)
DISLIKES (N=12)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=9)
• math (n=2)
• general (n=l)
• math trivia (n=l)
• English (n=l)
• Fl history (n=l)
• literature groups (n=l)
• pronouncing (n=l)
• punctuation (n=l)
• reading out loud (n=l)
• spelling (n=l)
OTHER (n=3)
• coming to school (n=l)
• computers (n=l)
• leaving enrichment (n=l)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (N=10)
BEING FRIENDS WITH OTHERS (n=6)
• a good friend (n=3)
• caring to friends (n=l)
• make friends easily (n=l)
• very nice to friends (n=l)
TREATING OTHERS (n=3)
• get along (n=l)
• hard time when in a fight (n=l)
209

Table D-l—continued
•
hard to tell on people (n=l)
PLAYING WITH OTHERS (n=l)
•
play well with others (n=l)
BEHAVIOR (N=7)
GENERAL (n=6)
•
qood (n=4)
•
bad (n=l)
•
behave (n=l)
SPECIFIC (n=l)
•
talk in line (n=l)

Table D-2
Taxonomic Analysis: I Think I Am... Class B
ABILITY (N=193)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=85)
• math (n=24)
• not so good (n=4/24)
• readinq (n=12)
• writing (n=9)
• art (n=8)
• handwriting (n=7)
• not so good (n=2/7)
• spelling (n=7)
• computers (n=4)
• p.e. (n=4)
• music (n=3)
• Fl history (n=2)
• science (n=2)
• homework (n=l)
• literature groups: not so good (n=l)
• telling stories (n=l)
SPORTS (n=78)
• soccer (n=22)
• not so good (n=l/22)
• basketball (n=l3)
• football (n=13)
• not so good (n=l/13)
• good athlete (n=li)
• runner (n=9)
• tennis (n=3)
• bike rider (n=l)
• karate (n=l)
• playing tag (n=l)
211

Table D-2—continued
• roller bladinq (n=l)
• softball (n=l)
• swimmer (n=l)
• wall ball (n=l)
GENERAL (n=30)
• qood student (n=ll)
• smart (n=9)
• not smart (n=l/9)
• dumb (n=2)
• makinq stuff (n=2)
• stupid (n=2)
• above averaqe expected behavior (n=l)
• cominq up with qood ideas (n=l)
• retarded (n=l)
• talented (n=l)
LIKES (N=89)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=47)
• science (n=10)
• math (n=9)
• qeneral (n=5)
• add (n=l)
• do times tables (n=l)
• mad minutes (n=l)
• subtract (n=l)
• writer's workshop (n=6)
• qeneral (n=3)
• writinq stories (n=2)
• writing (n=l)
• music (n=5)
• qeneral (n=l)
• dance (n=l)
• drums (n=l)
• sinqinq (n=l)
• p.e. (n=5)
212

Table D-2—continued
• reading (n=5)
• art (n=4)
• computer (n=2)
• geography (n=l)
SCHOOL-RELATED (n=33)
• recess (n=10)
• games (n=6)
• general (n=2)
• run laps (n=2)
• tag (n=l)
• 4 square (n=l)
• play (n=4)
• general (n=4)
• rocket events (n=3)
• classroom iobs (n=2)
• free time (n=l)
• fourth grade (n=l)
• lunch (n=l)
• teacher (n=l)
HOBBIES (n=7)
• collect football cards (n=l)
• make rocks (n=l)
• pretend (n=l)
• ride bike (n=l)
• roller blade (n=l)
• talk to myself (n=l)
• weapons (n=l)
OTHER (n=2)
• animals (n=2)
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS
(N=62)
SPECIFIC (n=36)
• funny (n=6)
• responsible (n=4)
213

Table D-2—continued
• good friend (n=3)
• honest (n=3)
• kind (n=3)
• mean (n=2)
• playful (n=2)
• caring (n=l)
• cheerful (n=l)
• crazy (n=l)
• creative (n=l)
• friendly (n=l)
• fun (n=l)
• good sport (n=l)
• helpful (n=l)
• not mean (n=l)
• obedient (n=l)
• polite (n=l)
• respectable (n=l)
• wild (n=l)
GENERAL (n=26)
• nice (n=9)
• weird (n=7)
• good person (n=2J
• bad (n=l)
• butthead (n=l)
• cool (n=l)
• getting better (n=l)
• interesting (n=l)
• like people (n=l)
• neat (n=l)
• nuthead (n=l)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
(N=28)
TREATING OTHERS (n=20)
• nice (n=10)
214

Table D-2—continued
• beinq fair (n=2)
• respect friends (n=2)
• good classmate (n=l)
• helping in accidents (n=l)
• kind (n=lj
• not get mad (n=l)
• respect the teacher (n=l)
• don't get along with brother and sister (n=l)
WORKING WITH OTHERS (n=3)
• help others (n=l)
• help teacher (n=l)
• work with others (n=l)
BEING FRIENDS WITH OTHERS (n=5)
• good friend (n=3)
• friendly (n=l)
• make friends laugh (n=l)
PERSONAL INFORMATION (N=24)
OTHER (n=7)
• imagination (n=2)
• skills (n=2)
• acting (n=l)
• fighting (n=l)
• effort (n=l)
• wishes (n=l)
• pet loving (n=l)
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE (n=6)
• general (n=6)
INTERESTS (n=4)
• basketball player (n=l)
• children's writer (n=l)
• division/math (n=l)
• pet trainer (n=l)
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION (n=3)
• name (n=2)
215

Table D-2—continued
* age (n=l)
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (n=2)
• qeneral (n=l)
• sports (n=l)
SCHOOL-RELATED (n=2)
• school (n=2)
• is fun (n=l)
• am on X tables (n=l)
FAVORITE THINGS (N=20)
SUBJECTS (n=ll)
• art (n=5)
• p.e. (n=2)
• science (n=2)
• math (n=l)
• writing (n=l)
OTHER (n=9)
• comic stores (n=l)
• D.A.R.E. (n=l)
• day of the week (n=l)
• fourth qrade (n=l)
• qun stores (n=l)
• havinq own desk (n=l)
• attractions/cities (n=l)
• play with best friend (n=l)
• read (n=l)
FRIENDS (N=14)
FRIEND-RELATED (n=14)
• havinq many friends (n=4)
• best friend (n=2)
• best friend's name (n=2)
• likinq X as a friend (n=2)
• not havinq many friends (n=l)
• qet alonq with friends (n=l)
• make friends easily (n=l)
• play football with friends (n=l)
216

Table D-2—continued
DISLIKES (N=9)
SUBJECTS (n=6)
• Fl history (n=l)
• handwriting (n=l)
• math (n=l)
• music (n=l)
• spelling (n=l)
• writing papers (n=l)
OTHER (n=2)
• school (n=l)
• wearinq dresses (n=l)
BEHAVIOR (N=6)
SPECIFIC (n=4)
• good at following directions (n=l)
• good at listening (n=l)
• pay attention (n=l)
• quiet (n=l)
GENERAL (n=2)
• bad (n=l)
EFFORT (N=6)
GENERAL (n=3)
• try hard (n=2)
• school (n=l)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=3)
• math (n=2)
• handwriting (n=l)

Table D-3
Taxonomic Analysis; I Think Ms. Navlor Thinks I Am... Class A
ABILITY (N=74)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=38)
• math (n=15)
• writing (n=8)
• work (n=4)
• science (n=3)
• art (n=2)
• computers (n=2)
• Fl history (n=2)
• reading (n=2)
• handwriting (n=l)
• homework (n=l)
• oral reports/presentations (n=l)
• spelling (n=l)
GENERAL (n=22)
• smart (n=ll)
• good (n=7)
• intelligent (n=2)
SPORTS-RELATED (n=13)
• soccer (n=8)
• good (n=5)
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS (N=69)
GENERAL (n=34)
• nice (n=13)
• cool (n=5)
• weird (n=4)
• crazy/wako (n=2)
• neat (n=2)
• special (n=2)
• bad (n=l)
• bizarre (n=l)
218

Table D-3—continued
• qood (n=l)
• qreat (n=l)
• not nice (n=l)
• unique (n=l)
SPECIFIC (n=25)
• funny (n=5)
• kind (n=3)
• friendly (n=2)
• helpful (n=2)
• advisinq (n=l)
• careful (n=l)
• confident (n=l)
• determined (n=l)
• fun (n=l)
• qenerous (n=l)
• loud (n=l)
• mean (n=l)
• mysterious (n=l)
• nuisance (n=l)
• sharing (n=l)
• talk a lot (n=i)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (N=15)
TREATING OTHERS (n=7)
• nice to others (n=5)
• kind to people (n=l)
• care for others (n=l)
BEING FRIENDS WITH OTHERS (n=7)
• really qood at makinq friends (n=l)
• qet people out of trouble (n=l)
• nice to friends I play with (n=l)
• help friends (n=l)
• with lots of friends (n=l)
• don't let friends down (n=l)
• qive my friends put-ups (n=l)
219

Table D-3—continued
WORKING WITH OTHERS (n=l)
• work well in qroups (n=l)
DON'T KNOW (N=14)
DON'T KNOW (n=14)
EFFORT (N=13)
GENERAL (N=13)
• tryinq my best (n=7)
• hard worker (n=5)
• not tryinq my best (n=l)
BEHAVIOR (N=ll)
GENERAL (n=8)
• bad (n=5)
• qood (n=3)
SPECIFIC (n=3)
• qet in trouble in line (n=2)
• talk too much in line (n=l)
TEACHER LIKES ME/DISLIKES ME (N=ll)
GENERAL (n=9)
• hates me (n=3)
• likes me (n=3)
• doesn't like me (n=l)
• enjoys havinq me (n=l)
SPECIFIC (n=2)
• doesn't like me (n=l)
• doesn't like the way I dress (n=l)
OTHER (N=5)
GENERAL (n=4)
• a human (n=2)
• an alien (n=l)
• God (n=l)
SPECIFIC (n=l)
• a qood environment person (n=l)
FAVORITE THINGS (N=2)
SPECIFIC (n=2)
• computers (n=l)
• love to read a lot (n=l)
PERSONAL INFORMATION (N=l)
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE (n=l)
• qood looking (n=l)
220

Table D-4
Taxonomic Analysis: I Think Mrs. Cleary Thinks I Am... Class B
ABILITY (N=102)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=52)
• math (n=24)
• not so good (n=5/24)
• spellinq (n=5)
• need help (n=l/5)
• readinq (n=4)
• writinq (n=4)
• science (n=3)
• Fl history (n=2)
• bad (n=l/2)
• handwriting (n=2)
• bad at literature qroups (n=l)
• bad at SA's (n=l)
• music (n=l)
• not qettinq finished on time (n=l)
• not qood at American lanquaqe (n=l)
• p.e. (n=l)
• recess (n=l)
SPORTS (n=28)
• athletic/qood athlete ((n=10)
• don't know (n=l)
• soccer (n=9)
• football (n=4)
• runner (n=2)
• basketball (n=l)
GENERAL (n=22)
• a qood student (n=ll)
• smart (n=8)
• dumb (n=3)
221

Table D-4—continued
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS (N=58)
SPECIFIC (n=30)
• kind (n=3)
• caring (n=2)
• crazy (n=2)
• friendly (n=2)
• funny (n=2)
• silly (n=2)
• bossy (n=l)
• cheerful (n=l)
• crude (n=l)
• cruel (n=l)
• energetic (n=l)
• fair (n=l)
• kind (n=l)
• nuisance (n=l)
• outgoing (n=l)
• pleasant (n=l)
• polite (n=l)
• responsible (n=l)
• shy (n=l)
• sweet (n=l)
• think negative (n=l)
• trusting (n=l)
• uqly (n=l)
• well-manered (n=l)
GENERAL (n=28)
• nice (n=14)
• good (n=8)
• weird (n=5)
• OK kid (n=l)
BEHAVIOR (N=49)
GENERAL (n=28)
• bad in school (n=14)
• good in school (n=14)
222

Table D-4—continued
SPECIFIC (n=21)
• talk too much (n=4)
• don’t pay attention (n=2)
• follow directions (n=2)
• listener (n=2)
• annoying (n=l)
• don't cheat on test (n=l)
• don't talk in line (n=l)
• get in trouble (n=l)
• get work done on time (n=l)
• loud speaker (n=l)
• not a nuisance (n=l)
• not in best behavior (n=l)
• nuisance (n=l)
• play around (n=l)
• trouble maker (n=l)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (N=33)
BEING FRIENDS WITH OTHERS (n=16)
• nice to people (n=5)
• nice to friends (n=3)
• a good friend (n=3)
• have lots of friends (n=2)
• a good classmate (n=l)
• bad/bully (n=l)
• friend of X (n=l)
TREATING OTHERS (n=14)
• caring (n=3)
• help people (n=3)
• don't fight (n=l)
• give people a chance (n=l)
• help people (n=l)
• help the teacher (n=l)
• kind (n=l)
• mean to the teacher (n=l)
223

Table D-4—continued
•
respect teacher (n=l)
•
respectful (n=l)
WORKING WITH OTHERS (n=3)
•
biq buddy (n=l)
•
a qood helper (n=l)
•
(n=
good at playing with little buddies
=1)
EFFORT (N=8)
GENERAL (n=5)
•
hard worker (n=5)
SUBJECT-RELATED (n=3)
•
try hard in math (n=2)
•
try hard in spelling (n=l)
FAVORITE THINGS (N=5)
SUBJECTS (n=5)
•
readinq (n=3)
•
science (n=l)
•
writing (n=l)
OTHER (N=2)
GENERAL (n=2)
•
nothing (n=l)
TEACHER LIKES ME/DISLIKES ME (N=2)
GENERAL (n=2)
•
she hates me (n=l)
•
she likes me (n=l)
DON'T KNOW (N=l)
DON'T KNOW (n=l)
PERSONAL INFORMATION (N=l)
•
watch too many movies (n=l)

Table D-5
Taxonomic Analysis; I Would Like To Know What Ms. Naylor Thinks Of Me When I...
Class A
SUBJECT-RELATED (N=87)
MATH (n=33)
• do math (n=12)
• qet correct answer (n=4)
• bad? (n=2)
• get it wronq (n=3)
• good? (n=2)
• try my best (n=2)
• be in a different book in math (n=l)
• be in a special group? (n=l)
• do it good (n=l)
• learn more about X tables (n=l)
• mad minutes (n=l)
• mess up on a test (n=l)
• try my best at subtraction (n=l)
• try my bestand get it wrong (n=l)
OTHER (n=19)
• do reading (n=2)
• play at recess (n=2)
• play on computers (n=2)
• loose a game (n=l)
• read aloud to class (n=2)
• share a report in class (n=2)
• do Fl History (n=l)
• do projects (n=l)
• do work (n=l)
• good job (n=l)
• go to art (n=l)
• do well?" (n=l)
225

Table D-5—continued
• qo to music (n=l)
• run laps (n=l)
HOMEWORK (n=10)
• do homework (n=6)
• answer a question wronq (n=l)
• what she likes (n=l)
• write cursive (n=l)
• do it in class (n=l)
WRITING (n=9)
• do writing (n=2)
• qood writer? (n=2)
• don't write in cursive (n=2)
• stories qood? (n=l)
• write a story (n=l)
• write a story she doesn't understand (n=l)
SPELLING (n=8)
• do spelling (n=2)
• qood? (n=2)
• qet a question (n=l)
• miss a hard word (n=l)
• miss a lot on my tests (n=l)
• spellinq tests (n=l)
SCIENCE (n=4)
• do science (n=2)
• qet a question (n=l)
• make a catapult in science lab (n=l)
WORK (n=2)
• don't do a qood iob (n=l)
• use sloppy handwritinq (n=l)
BEHAVIOR (N=63)
SPECIFIC (n=54)
• talk in line (n=12)
• do what I’m supposed to do (n=4)
• don’t talk in line (n=4)
226

Table D-5—continued
• talk to my friends (n=4)
• separate me & my friends for talking in
line (n=3)
• do what I'm supposed to do (n=2)
• don't listen (n=2)
• don't turn in homework (n=2)
• am late (n=l)
• being called on to read and not knowing
where you are (n=l)
• call out (n=l)
• cry (n=l)
• do homework (n=l)
• don't participate in class (n=l)
• don't raise your hand to answer a question
(n=l)
• don't talk in class (n=l)
• don't turn in math work (n=l)
• draw when not supposed to (n=l)
• eat in class (n=l)
• follow directions (n=l)
• get sent to penalty box (n=l)
• qo crazy at recess (n=l)
• qo to outer circle (n=l)
• listen (n=l)
• participate in class (n=l)
• read a book too long before challenge
(n=l)
• talk to my friends in line (n=l)
• talk out of turn (n=l)
• work quietly (n=l)
GENERAL (n=8)
• am bad (n=4)
• good (n=3)
227

Table D-5—continued
• beinq weird (n=l)
ABILITY (N=34)
SPORTS (n=22)
• play soccer (n=ll)
• make a qoal (n=2)
• kick the ball (n=l)
• play with friends (n=l)
• play sports (n=l)
• qood at baseball (n=l)
• qood at football (n=l)
GENERAL (n=12)
• qood enough? (n=5)
• smart (n=2)
• stupid (n=2)
• am I where I am supposed to be? (n=l)
• bad? (n=l)
• qet a qood score (n=l)
GENERAL INFORMATION (N=27)
SCHOOOL-RELATED (n=27)
• answer a question (n=2)
• qet a question wronq (n=2)
• a qood listener (n=l)
• a qood student (n=l)
• absent (n=l)
• am happy (n=l)
• ask questions I should already know (n=l)
• do nothing (n=l)
• do somethinq she likes me to do (n=l)
• do stuff at recess (n=l)
• do thinqs (n=l)
• do what others have not done (n=l)
• qive the wronq answer (n=l)
• qo outside (n=l)
• qo to quidance counselor for help? (n=l)
228

Table D-5—continued
• have to borrow money from her for lunch
(n=l)
• participate (n=l)
• play around (n=l)
• play at computers (n=l)
• play on playground (n=l)
• present a topic (n=l)
• read a book (n=l)
• read more (n=l)
• wack my head on my desk (n=l)
RESPONSIBILITIES (N=19)
HOMEWORK (n=16)
• don't turn it in (n=5)
• turn it in on time (n=4)
• don't do it (n=2)
• turn in my paper (n=2)
• turn it late (n=2)
• sloppy (n=l)
OTHER (n=3)
• come to school late (n=2)
• line leader (n=l)
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS (N=18)
TREATING OTHERS (n=ll)
• be nice (n=2)
• fighting (n=2)
• get in fight with friends at school (n=l)
• give the teacher a put-up or a present
(n=l)
• helpful (n=l)
• helping her with the grading (n=l)
• hit someone accidentaly but she thinks I
hit on purpose (n=l)
• make friends (n=l)
• say mean things to someone (n=l)
WORKING WITH OTHERS (n=2)
229

Table D-5—continued
•
don't cooperate (n=l)
•
share (n=l)
PLAYING WITH OTHERS (n=3)
•
play at the field with friends (n=l)
•
play soccer with friends (n=l)
•
play when somebody else is talking (n=l)
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS (N=4)
SPECIFIC (n=4)
•
kind? (n=2)
•
not respectful? (n=l)
•
respectful? (n=l)

Table D-6
Taxonomic Analysis; I Would Like To Know What Mrs. Cleary Thinks Of Me When I.».
Class B
BEHAVIOR-RELATED (N=98)
SPECIFIC (n=76)
• talk in line (n=14)
• do something good (n=7)
• don't listen (n=4)
• raise my hand to answer a guestion (n=3)
• talk when I shouldn't be talking (n=3)
• act silly (n=2)
• am responsible in class (n=2)
• do what I am supposed to do (n=2)
• don't use a loud speaking voice (n=2)
• know answers but don't raise my hand (n=2)
• listen (n=2)
• not talking in line (n=2)
• play around in class (n=2)
• play rough (n=2)
• am bad during class time (n=l)
• am in time out (n=l)
• am responsible outdoors (n=l)
• ask her a question (n=l)
• call people names (n=l)
• dance around (n=l)
• do something bad like don't answer a problem
(n=l)
• don't pay attention (n=l)
• don't raise my hand a lot (n=l)
• don't raise my hand when I know the answer
(n=l)
• eat lunch (n=l_)
231

Table D-6—continued
• get in trouble (n=l)
• go to the bathroom a lot of times in the day
(n=l)
• half way asleep in class (n=l)
• have to stay in from recess (n=l)
• play around in line (n=l)
• play silly at recess (n=l)
• put stickers on my desk (n=l)
• raise my hand to talk (n=l)
• take off my shoes in class (n=l)
• run around the room and act crazy (n=l)
• talk back to her (n=l)
• talk too much (n=l)
• talk too much in boring subiects (n=l)
• try to beat someone to the lunch line (n=l)
• say "I don't want to read out loud" and she
asks me to read (n=l)
• walk around (n=l)
• walk guietly in line (n=l)
GENERAL (n=22)
• am bad during class (n=l)
• do something good (n=7)
• do everything good (n=l)
• do something bad (n=l)
• do something funny (n=l)
• do something right (n=l)
• do something sad (n=l)
• do something wrong (n=l)
• play nice (n=l)
• play weird (n=l)
• show off (n=l)
• we're coming back from art (n=l)
• we're coming back from music (n=l)
232

Table D-6—continued
• we're cominq back from p.e. (n=l)
• we're cominq back from science (n=l)
• we're cominq back from p.e. (n=l)
SUBJECT-RELATED (N=42)
OTHER (n=20)
• do oral presentations/reports (n=7)
• do bad at something (n=2)
• participate (n=2)
• answer a question (n=l)
• do FL History "(n=l)
• do qood at something (n=l)
• do science (n=l)
• don't participate (n=l)
• qrades (n=l)
• voice loud enouqh when I read? (n=l)
• write an experiment for somethinq (n=l)
• writer's workshop (n=l)
MATH (11=8)
• do math (n=2)
• doinq a math problem on the board (n=l)
• qive wronq answer (n=l)
• qood at math? (n=l)
• make 100 on my math test (n=l)
• miss a question (n=l)
• pass a mad minute test (n=l)
TESTS (n=5)
• do qood on a test (n=2)
• do bad on a test (n=l)
• qet a 100 on it (n=l)
• make some mistakes on it (n=l)
HOMEWORK (n=4)
• do it riqht (n=l)
• do it wrong (n=l)
• finish it (n=l)
233

Table D-6—continued
• have a bad grade in it (n=l)
READING (n=3)
• read a lot? (n=l)
• read bad? (n=l)
• read good? (n=l)
HANDWRITING (n=2)
• write bad cursive (n=l)
• forget to write in cursive (n=l)
RESPONSIBILITIES (N=37)
HOMEWORK (n=25)
• don't turn it in (n=7)
• turn it in (n=4)
• turn it in late (n=4)
• give a paper in to her (n=l)
• forget it (n=2)
• forget to do homework (n=2)
• complete all homework (n=l)
• do it (n=l)
• don't do it (n=l)
• forget to put my name on it (n=l)
• turn in math (n=l)
OTHER (n=6)
• forget something (n=2)
• late for school (n=2)
• don't come to school for a couple of days (n=l)
• don't take full responsibility into my actions
(n=l)
WORK (n=6)
• be responsible on my work (n=l)
• don't finish it (n=l)
• don’t turn in a report on time (n=l)
• don't turn in things on time (n=l)
• finish my stuff in class (n=l)
• hand things in when I'm supposed to (n=l)
234

Table D-6—continued
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
(N=21)
TREATING OTHERS (n=16)
• help someone when they are hurt (n=2)
• accidentally criticize people (n=l)
• am in a fiqht with a friend (n=l)
• am really mad at someone (n=l)
• do something nice to someone else (n=l)
• hit (n=l)
• how I relate to other people (n=l)
• kick (n=l)
• my friends bother me (n=l)
• nice by iust talking with others (n=l)
• not respecting others (n=l)
• rude to a substitute (n=l)
WORKING WITH OTHERS (n=4)
• help others (n=2)
• bring in stuff to help the class (n=l)
• friendly to others (n=l)
• help others do somethinq (n=l)
• help someone in a math problem (n=l)
• helping others with their work (n=l)
PLAYING WITH OTHERS (n=l)
• hanging out with my friends (n=l)
ABILITY (N=9)
GENERAL (n=5)
• be intelligent (n=l)
• be smart (n=l)
• construct various things, like Legos (n=l)
• do well in school (n=l)
• make straight A's on my report card (n=l)
SPORTS (n=4)
• being a good athlete (n=2)
• play soccer and score a goal (n=l)
• win a special medal in soccer (n=l)
235

Table D-6—continued
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS
(N=6)
SPECIFIC (n=5)
• be polite (n=l)
• cry when qet hurt (n=l)
• cry when worried (n=l)
• enerqetic (n=l)
• try to be funny (n=l)
GENERAL ((n=l)
• be a qood sport (n=l)
EFFORT (N=4)
GENERAL (n=4)
• do my best in class (n=2)
• try my best (n=l)
• try my hardest (n=l)
OTHER (N=3)
GENERAL (n=3)
• met my teacher the first few days of school
(n=l)
• want to move my desk (n=l)
• what she wants so I can choose to do it or not
(n=l)
DON'T CARE (N=l)
GENERAL (n=l)
• I don't care (n=l)

APPENDIX E
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
TEACHERS

INTERVIEW #1
Mrs./Ms. , thank you for talking with me this
afternoon. Would you explain your class schedule to me?
Would you please tell me a little bit about your class?
I noticed that on your community board that there are
different stars next to each child's picture. Each star
has a different color and a different sign on it; also,
some children have more stars than others. Would you tell
me a little bit about that?
What is a class meeting or class agenda? I saw a piece of
paper on the board with “Class agenda" on it.
What is this arrangement--the one with all the pocket
folders with everybody's name on it?
What is the purpose of the class goal I have seen written
on the board at times?
What kind of reward system do you use?
Thank you.
END
238

239
Interview #2
Thank you for talking with me this afternoon. I would like
to ask you a few questions about yourself.
Would you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
What are some things that are important to you, as a
teacher? (please explain)
What are some of your goals for this class? (please
explain)
Are there some children who may be more in tune with what
you think of them? (please explain)
Are there any ways that you use to encourage interpersonal
relationships between yourself and the students, in your
classroom?
Thank you.
END

240
Interview #2
Thank you for talking with me this afternoon. I would like
to ask you a few questions about yourself.
Would you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
What are some things that are important to you, as a
teacher? (please explain)
What are some of your goals for this class? (please
explain)
Are there some children who may be more in tune with what
you think of them? (please explain)
Are there any ways that you use to encourage interpersonal
relationships between yourself and the students, in your
classroom?
Thank you.
END

APPENDIX F
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
STUDENTS

Interview #1
Hi. My name is Mrs. Zygouris-Coe and today I am going to
ask you some questions. Thank you for coming to talk with
me. I won't tell your teacher or your classmates anything
you say to me. I also want to remind you that you do not
have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. You
can stop this interview at any time. Your participation or
non-participation in this study will not affect your grade
in any class. If you have any questions, please ask me.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Tell me about what you think Mrs./Ms. thinks of you.
Do you ever think about what your teacher, Mrs./Ms.
thinks about you, in class? (please explain)
Does it matter to you what your teacher, Mrs./Ms. ,
thinks of you? (please explain)
In your paper, you wrote that you think Mrs./Ms.
thinks
How do you know that is what she thinks of you? (please
explain)
What does she do to let you know what she thinks of you?
Is there something you'd like to know about what
Mrs./Ms. thinks of you? (please explain)
Thank you for talking with me, today. Do you have any
questions?
END
242

243
Interview #2
Hi. Today I am going to ask you some more questions.
Thank you for coming to talk with me. I won't tell your
teacher or your classmates anything you say to me. I also
want to remind you that you do not have to answer any
questions you do not want to answer. You can stop this
interview at any time. Your participation or non¬
participation in this study will not affect your grade in
any class. If you have any questions, please ask me.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Tell me about what you think Mrs./Ms. thinks of you.
Do you ever think about what your teacher, Mrs./Ms. ,
thinks about you, in class? (please explain)
Does it matter to you what your teacher, Mrs./Ms. ,
thinks of you? (please explain)
In your paper, you wrote that you think Mrs./Ms.
thinks
How do you know that is what she thinks of you? (please
explain)
What does she do to let you know what she thinks of you?
Is there something you'd like to know about what
Mrs./Ms. thinks of you? (please explain)
What would you like her to do so you can know better what
she thinks of you?
Thank you for talking with me, today. Do you have any
questions?
END

244
Interview #3
Hi. Today I am going to ask you some more questions.
Thank you for coming to talk with me. I won't tell your
teacher or your classmates anything you say to me. I also
want to remind you that you do not have to answer any
questions you do not want to answer. You can stop this
interview at any time. Your participation or non¬
participation in this study will not affect your grade in
any class. If you have any questions, please ask me.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Tell me about what you think, Mrs./Ms. , thinks of you.
How do you know that is what she thinks of you? (please
explain)
What do you think about this idea of asking children what
they think their teacher thinks of them? (please explain)
Do you think children can have a pretty good idea of what
their teacher thinks of them? (please explain)
Are there some people who you think can have a better idea
about what their teacher thinks about them than others?
Is there something you'd like to know about what
Mrs./Ms. thinks of you?
Thank you for talking with me, today. Do you have any
questions?
END

appendix g
SAMPLE OF VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTS

Transcript #23 Dato: 12/6/96 Teacher: Ms. Naylor
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Discourse
.m. I get to the room during recess. Melissa,
Andreas, Lizie, Marcus, Christina, and Albert
are in the room. They are playing games at the
computers. Andreas is pretty good at computer,
games.
The teacher is working at her desk.]
"Okay, recess is over! Let's get back to your
seat!", Ms. Naylor says.
“Escape! Escape!", Jonathan yells.
“Let me write my name.", Lizie says.
"Computers, off!", the teacher says.
"Okay, let me just write iry name and quit.",
Lizie says.
"We shut it off when I say to shut it off.", the
teacher comes over and tells Lizie and Greg.
"Greg, come on shut it off!", Lizie says.
The shut the computers off.
"Shh!!!", many children go.
"Okay, Mario is ready.", teacher says [and waits
for the rest to get ready.]
There is still quite a bit of noise and talking.
The teacher sits in the front of the room.
The children are passing out folders.]
"Who is number 7?", a girl asks.
"Mine!", someone says.
"Shh!!!", the teacher says.
"Quietly you can be finishing your work from
yesterday, part D and part E on lesson 101.",
she says.
"Whose pencil?", a boy asks while passing
pencils out.
"Continue on lesson 101. Also, let me ask you a
question. Do you think I was having fun this
afternoon?", she asks the class.
"No!", some children answer.
"I wasn1t having fun and you weren't having fun.
What can we do differently next week so we don't
have this problem next week? What can we learn
from this day so we don't do the same thing
twice? Addy?", the teacher asks.
Addy gives her answer. There is a lot of noise
in the tape; (XXX).]
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"And that's what the class discipline is for. I
mean, the reason we got so long wasn't because I
was giving you extra time. It was because I
need it to get through to everybody because you
were taking so long. Our schedule does not
allow us any extra time. There is no extra time
in our day to do things. I barely have time to
check homework and grades and that's one of the
reasons I made you go to art today instead of
that other program; it's because I needed time
to go through your work and get ready for math;
I needed that time. And so, is really important
when we talk about the standards we set, when we
send the newsletter to your parents, it’s all
part of this. Not turning our work turned in,
not putting our name on it, it's showing me that
you don't care. I care; I care enough to check
into your work, and grade your work. You care
enough to do your work, but I need you to take
it to the next level. I need you to do a good,
a better job than what you've been doing. Okay?
We are in fourth grade. I am not going to say
if you didn't turn in your work, to turn it
in. I am not going to say you didn't put your
name. If you don't do it right, you are just
going to have to redo it. I am going to write a
letter to your parents; that's a given. Yes?",
she says.
"I understand why you were mad at people.", a
boy says.
"Hum, I am not mad. I am just frustrated, not
mad. There are so many people and then you guys
get upset at me when I have to make you sit in
and then it gets more frustrating. So, if we
can have some common ground, some mutual
respect. We don't have that. I call you, I make
eye contact with the
anything. We really need to work on that; we
really need to get it together. (2s.) Like, we
have six minutes before we need to be in our
places for literature. Hum, anyway.", she says.
The children are listening quietly.
A girl asks a question (XXX).]
"Our policy is that when you are in the
classroom you need to be always ready to listen.
From doing a rough draft for writer's workshop
to listening to the D.A.R.E. officer, or

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anything. When you work with me or you work
with Ms. Jules, or with Mrs. Adams, it's the
same. And I think that we all hear that and we
don't need to ask that question. It's like you
don't need to ask 'Do I need to capitalize a
proper noun?' When you're saying that over and
over, that's what you are really saying to me.
My expectations are way up here for you in what
I want you to achieve, and right now, you are
only up to here--she shows--you are only half
way. We can produce better work, we can be
better students, I know you can, and I am going
to help you get there. And it's painful
sometimes; it's painful, like today, but we
learn from it and we try not to make
the same mistakes. Mario?", she says.
"Now we can act better.", Mario says.
"I know you can do it.", she says.
"Our goal for next week is to not do what we did
this week.", she says.
A couple more children comment, but I can't hear
what they are saying.]
"Try to be the best we can be.", Mario says.
"Okay, show me that you are ready by getting
your folder and your book. If you are in Mrs.
Cleary's group, line up outside.", she says.
Transition time. A lot of movement and noise.]
"Okay, if you are in the Whipping Bov group--a
literature group--you can go into the office—
next door—.", she says.
A lot of movement as some children leave and
some others come from Mrs. Cleary's room.
There are three literature groups from both
classes; one is working in the office with Ms.
Naylor, the second with Ms. Jules in Ms.
Naylor's room, and the third with Mrs. Cleary,
in her classroom. They each work on a
book. It takes some time for all children to
settle in.]

249
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48 p.m.Ms. Jules comes in to work with this group; they
children who present in the room are: Lizie,
Samantha, Craig, Tara, Alex, Edith, Kate, Jane,
Greg, Roberta, Edna, Dale, Cindy, Lynette, Kyle,
Arthur, Heather, Christina, Marianne, Lucas, Ed,
and Jonathan.]
"Good afternoon! Let's get started! Hum, I
picked up homework this morning and I looked at
it. I will talk about some of the answers
briefly, now, I'll grade your homework over the
weekend and give you some feedback.
I am pretty sure that you did
your best job; you probably did very well on it.
Okay, what do you recall from the book, that
Catherine used that was medicine or remedies?
What were some of the things they used, Kyle?",
Ms. Jules says.
"Mint, and garlic.", Kyle says.
"Anything else you could recall? Susanna?", she
asks.
"Cumin.", she says.
"Yes.", she says.
"Anything else?", she asks.
They continue talking about the different herbs
used and she writes some of the terms on the
board.]
"A goblet?", a boy says.
"A goblet, was a cup; you've drinking goblets at
your house, That’s what it is.", she explains.
"What's the definition?", a girl asks.
"It's a drinking cup. So, where did they put
the garlic and the mint, and the vinegar?
(4s.)
"In the goblet, and they would mix it up in the
goblet. That was a liquid that they gave her to
drink. What does vinegar and cumin seed, and
garlic, and mint, what is similar about all
these remedies?", she asks.
"They were healthy.", a boy answers.
"They were healthy. But, what about the
ingredients? The commonality of the
ingredients or how they are classified? What do
they all have in common? Jonathan?", she asks.
"They were all put in the goblet.", Jonathan
says.
"My question is what do they all have in common
as ingredients?", she asks.

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"They may have some acid in them.", a girl says.
"Well, that may be true; I am not sure.
Heather?", she asks.
"They are all herbs and spices.", Heather says.
"They are all herbs and spices. And where do we
get our herbs and spices from? (2s.) Where do
we get all our herbs and spices from, Patrick?",
she asks.
"A garden.", Patrick answers.
"Right! So they were all things that they could
grow In a garden new. So, that’s where they got
everything they needed. Does anyone know if
people take garlic for their health, today?
Edna?", she asks.
"Yes.", Edna answers.
"Yes. Some people still take garlic for their
health. Some of the medicine they used back
then, were useful. Not everything turned to be
something that caused a problem or didn1t cure
you. It may not have cured what they wanted it
to, it sounds like they had a theory of illness
and they kept little bit. I think there are
some scientific studies that show that.
Samantha?", she asks.
"We use garlic in our food.", Samantha says.
"Good point. Bur I think that some people take
garlic tablets for their health. Maybe some of
your parents do. (3s.) You know one other thing
that it's so important in having fewer diseases,
and if you think about it, it relates to all
those three that they had a problem with. (2s.)
Mold? And what do doctors do before they go in
to perform an operation or even before they
begin to work in their office?", she asks.
"We have to clean ourselves.", Lucas says.
"That's right; sterilization.", she says.
"How long do you think people might have lived
in those days? What would you say?", she asks.
"About twenty to thirty.", a boy answers.
"What would you say, Heather?", she asks.
"About seventy to eighty.", Heather says.
"What would you say, Christina?", she asks.
"Sixty to seventy.", Christina says.
"We have a long range; from a twenty to eighty.
Roberta?", she says.
"They probably lived long, like the people in
the Bible.", Roberta says.
"This was for sure a lot after that time. What
do you think the average age was?", she asks.
"Well, Roberta thinks it's way up there but I am
speculating it was pretty low. Ian?", she says.

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"Thirty to fifty.", Ian says.
"How about one more? Lucas?", she says.
"Forty to fifty.", Lucas says.
"In the book I was reading, it said that the
average life span of people in the medieval
times, was about forty. And today, it's a lot
higher than about what she used for colors? She
didn't have Crayola and stuff like that.", she
says.
"She used onions.", a girl says.
"True; what else did she use to get her colors?
Cindy?", she asks.
"Acorns.", Cindy says.
"Did she get them ground?", she asks.
"Maybe.", Cindy says.
"She used all natural kind soft things for color
and printing. Very interesting.", she asks.
"And speaking of color and printing, your next
question was: What machines are you aware of
that we have today that made this job very easy?
Bill?", she asks.
"The printing machine.", Bill says.
"The printing press. The invention of the
printing press marked the modern age.", she
says.
Jane shows some pages from a Bible that was
printed in the medieval times; they are framed.
Ms. Jules shows them to the class.]
Write a sentence you think she might write to
describe her friend or to describe George. And
if you remember what you said, I want you to
share it so I can write a couple of them on the
board because I do want us to get used to using
the language. Lucas?", she asks.
"George is fair, funny, cute.", Lucas says.
She writes it on the board.]
"What do you think it means 'he's fair'?, she
asks.
"He's fair.", Lucas says.
"But what do you think she mean when she said
that about him? Because I know I have a big
definition in my head.", she says.
"Nice.", Lucas says.
"Oh, okay. See, that's not part of what I was
thinking; maybe I was wrong. Fair, fairness I
thought was to be very attractive. Fair, you are
fair. Kate?", she asks.

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252
"I put flattering.", she says.
"For George?", Ms. Jules asks.
"Yes.", Kate says.
"What did you mean for flattering?", she asks.
"He's very cute.", Kate says.
"If I flatter you, what do I do, Lucas?", she
asks.
"Hum, you give me compliments.", she says.
"Absolutely! If I flatter you, I pay you
compliments. I pay you compliments maybe about
your books, or your intelligence, or something
that you've done. How about her friend? How
would you describe her friend, Cindy?", she
asks.
"She is a dove on the outside and a hawk on the
inside.", Cindy says.
"And what does that mean, Cindy?", she asks.
"Maybe she's pretty but she can also be a little
mean.", Cindy says.
"What else doe it mean, Marianne?", she asks.
"She may be a little sneaky.", Marianne says.
"Maybe she's a little sneaky on the inside.
Maybe she uses her manners to be nice but she
may be a little sneaky.", Ms. Jules says.
Cat, Bill, and Ms. Jules talk about why the use
birds to describe her.
"What does George do in his spare time?", she
asks.
"He was in crusades.", someone answers.
"What does it mean he was out crusading? What
was he doing?", she asks.
"He was a knight.", someone says.
"He was a knight of shinning armor. But what
was a crusade? Does someone want to take an
intelligent guess? Dimitri?", she says.
"He was out fighting for years.", Dimitri says.
"That's true. The crusades lasted for many many
years and the knights of England fought in the
crusade for many, many years. So, what was a
crusade? What was it? Ed?", she asks.
"It was war!", Ed says.
"It was war. So if you were a knight, you're
fighting a war. So when she dreamed of him in
his beautiful tunic, she dreamed of him in his
shinny armor.", she says.
"Heather?", she asks.
Another definition of fair, is when you are very
pale skin and hair.", she says.
"If you have very, very pale skin and usually
light skin and light color hair, you are
considered to be fair.", Ms. Jules says.

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[0343
0344
0345
0346
0347
0348
0349
0350
0351
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0354
0355
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0358
253
They continue discussing the story a bit more.]
"What does Catherine want to do?", Ms. Jules
asks.
"She wants to be a knight.", someone says.
"To be a knight. Yeah, she wants to find a way
to fight the crusades with her uncle George.
This will be fun and romantic and adventurous.",
Ms. Jules says.
The children are listening quietly.]
"Let's look at our book back to page 34 on the
bottom where it says '20th Crusade of October'
and I really want to finish this today.
Christina, do you want to read?", Ms. Jules
says.
Christina reads.]
"Please don't interrupt anyone while they are
reading.", Ms. Jules says.
Christina finishes reading.]
"Do you remember there was a woman in France who
became a knight? She was very, very famous.",
Ms. Jules says.
(4s.)
"Joan of Arc.", Ms. Jules says.
"What is a bed chamber, Roberta?", Ms. Jules
asks.
"A bedroom.", Roberta says.
A girl reads next.]
"Listen to what she says. I want you to keep
thinking about the language. She said 'Oh, my
cheeks glowed, my heart flutters, and my dreams
go soft and smooth.', when she thinks about
uncle George. What do you think, Alex?", she
asks.
"I think she's being sarcastic.", Alex says.
"You think she's been sarcastic?", she asks.
"Yes.", Alex says.
"You know, that's interesting that you say that.
I don't think she is being sarcastic.", Ms.
Jules says.
"I think she's being madly in love with him.", a
girl says.
"Hum... Ed?", she says.

0359
0360
0361
0362
0363
0364
0365
0366
0367
[0368
0369
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0371
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[0379
0380
0381
254
"She gets more excited and she gets excited when
she thinks about him. And what if George's
attitude about being a crusader?", she says.
(2s.)
"What about the fighting and being a warrior?
Bill?", she asks.
"Hum, he doesn't like to see all these people
getting killed.", Bill says.
"Okay. Let's continue reading.", she says.
A boy reads.
A few more children read and then Ms. Jules
reads. There is a lot of participation.
They end for the day. Transition time! Noise!]
"Boys and girls please put your things together
quietly and please remember...I haven't asked
you to leave yet. Please remember that if I
dismiss Mrs. Cleary's class and you have to
enrichment, walk quietly. Mrs. Cleary's group,
you may go.", she says.
Mrs. Cleary's group leaves. Enrichment leaves.
The rest of Ms. Naylor's class come out of the
adjacent room.]

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe was born and raised in Calamata,
Greece. She received her bachelor's degree in elementary
education from Arsakios College in Athens Greece, in 1982.
After teaching fourth and fifth grade for a year, she moved
to London where she completed a Diploma in Educational
Psychology and Sociology of Education in 1983. She then
completed her master's degree in educational psychology in
1984. After working for three years at the University of
London, she moved to Columbia, Maryland. In 1989 she started
teaching at Towson State University and the following year at
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ms. Zygouris-Coe entered the doctoral program in
instruction and curriculum at the University of Florida in
1994. During her three years in the program, Ms. Zygouris-
Coe taught undergraduate and graduate courses and supervised
pre-service elementary school teachers. She will receive her
Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1997.
270

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
?gina Weade-Lamme, CÓxáir
(ssociate Professor of
Instruction and Curriculum
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Foundations of
Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of
Instruction and Curriculum

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Foundations of Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate
Faculty of the College of Education and to the Graduate
School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December 1997
Dean, Graduate School

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