ERIC Number: ED214890
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Mexican-American and Anglo-American Student Perceptions of the Learning Environment of the Classroom. A Study of Schooling in the United States. Technical Report Series, No. 22.
Engstrom, Gerald A.
This study compared the perceptions held by Mexican-American secondary school students with those held by their Anglo-American peers toward the climate of their classrooms. The objectives of the study were to identify any differences in student perceptions and to examine the relationships between school climate perceptions, academic achievement, and attendance. The instrument for measuring climate perceptions required responses revealing attitudes toward: (1) teacher enthusiasm, authoritarianism, punitiveness, favoritism, warmth, and clarity; (2) instructional practices, class organization, and feedback; (3) student decision making, peer esteem, cliqueness, competitiveness, compliance, and apathy; (4) classroom dissonance and appearance; and (5) task difficulty. Teachers supplied information on student race, class attendance, and achievement. Findings indicated that the Mexican-American students generally had more positive perceptions of the classroom environment than did the Anglo-American students. Significant differences were found between the two groups on the climate dimensions of student cliqueness, teacher favoritism, and task difficulty. The Anglo-American students had higher perceptions of cliqueness and favoritism. The Mexican-American students scored highest on their perceptions of task difficulty, but reacted more favorably to student decision making, classroom dissonance, and classroom physical appearance than did the Anglo-American students. For the Mexican-American students the relationship between climate perceptions and class attendance and achievement was much stronger than for the Anglo-American students. Classes perceived to be characterized by teacher warmth and enthusiasm and an absence of authoritarianism and punitiveness were better attended by the Mexican-American students. These students also received higher grades in classes characterized by teacher clarity and good organization. This finding implies that efforts to improve attendance and achievement of Mexican-American students can focus on improving affective teacher behavior and teaching skills. (JD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute for Development of Educational Activities, Dayton, OH.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Graduate School of Education