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Do teachers treat students differently? An observational study on the relationship between teacher-student interaction, teacher expectation and student achievement

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Through classroom interaction, teachers provide students with different learning opportunities. Some types of interaction trigger more learning activities than others. Due to the differential treatment of students, teachers may exacerbate or reduce the performance differences in the classroom. In addition, different interactions may contribute to teachers expectation effect, and teachers will treat high expectation students more actively. This study explores the relationship between the difference of teacher-student interaction and students mathematics achievement and teachers expectation. In eight fourth grade classrooms in the Netherlands, the interaction between teachers and students (n   =   152) was observed in mathematics classes. Data on Teachers expectations of students and studentsathematics achievement tests scores were collected. Analyses indicated that there were relations between teacher expectations and teachers’ classroom interactions. Teachers gave more direct turns and more directive feedback to their low-expectation students, who were also the students who performed low in maths. After controlling for actual achievement, it appeared that students for whom the expectations were lower than could be expected based on their performance received more direct turns and directive task-related feedback. These results point to the existence of teacher expectation effects.

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