A descriptive study of the relationships between classroom verbal interaction and students' school-related attitudes Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/37720g153

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  • The Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the classroom environment by determining if student attitudes are significantly related to the quantity and characteristics of verbal interaction. A second concern was to determine if such verbal interaction could be effectively examined through a student-perception, self-report questionnaire. If student attitudes were found to be related to verbal interaction, and if verbal interaction could be accurately assessed with a self-report questionnaire, then a third purpose of the study would identify the means for an educator to evaluate one aspect of the classroom climate, verbal interaction, that has been shown to effect students. Procedures A self-report questionnaire was designed to accurately reflect sixth grade students' perceptions of classroom verbal interaction and their expressed attitudes toward school, teachers, classmates, and themselves. Students in self-contained classrooms from schools within the Central Oregon Willamette Valley comprised the population from which a random sample was drawn for inclusion in this study. A questionnaire was administered to 33 classrooms and the resulting data were analyzed based on classroom mean scores. The correlational research method was used to determine the strength of 12 hypothesized relationships. Findings For the purpose of this study, 12 hypotheses were tested to determine if there exists a significant correlation between students' perceptions of the verbal interaction found in sixth grade classrooms and their expressed attitudes toward school, their teachers, their classmates, and themselves. Each of the three verbal interaction scales (quantity, receptiveness, and openness) was correlated with each of the four student attitudinal scales (teacher, school, classmates, and self). These 12 hypotheses were statistically tested using the correlational method to determine if significant coefficients existed. The level of confidence was set at .05. Seven hypotheses were found to have from moderate to very close relationships that were statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence. The results of this study indicate that classrooms where teachers encourage student verbal interaction and are receptive of student ideas and feelings, and where students feel safe when disclosing their personal ideas and feelings, are also classrooms where their expressed attitudes toward school, teachers, classmates, and themselves. Students in self-contained classrooms from schools within the Central Oregon Willamette Valley comprised the population from which a random sample was drawn for inclusion in this study. A questionnaire was administered to 33 classrooms and the resulting data were analyzed based on classroom mean scores. The correlational research method was used to determine the strength of 12 hypothesized relationships. Findings For the purpose of this study, 12 hypotheses were tested to determine if there exists a significant correlation between students' perceptions of the verbal interaction found in sixth grade classrooms and their expressed attitudes toward school, their teachers, their classmates, and themselves. Each of the three verbal interaction scales (quantity, receptiveness, and openness) was correlated with each of the four student attitudinal scales (teacher, school, classmates, and self). These 12 hypotheses were statistically tested using the correlational method to determine if significant coefficients existed. The level of confidence was set at .05. Seven hypotheses were found to have from moderate to very close relationships that were statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence. The results of this study indicate that classrooms where teachers encourage student verbal interaction and are receptive of student ideas and feelings, and where students feel safe when disclosing their personal ideas and feelings, are also classrooms where students express strong positive attitudes toward school, their teacher, and themselves. The five remaining hypotheses tested were found to have slight relationships that were not statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence. Recommendations In view of the findings, it is recommended that teacher-education programs and educators concerned with teacher effectiveness consider competencies in the areas of personal communication, active listening, values clarification, questioning techniques, and increased group discussion in open, relaxed, trusted environments. It is also recommended that teachers create classroom environments where students feel safe to disclose their personal feelings and ideas, and where ample opportunities are available for discussion and the sharing of ideas. Educators seeking to improve student attitudes should include in their efforts activities and skill building techniques that promote teacher receptiveness and safe, open classroom environments.
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