ERIC Number: ED390836
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Pleasing the Teacher: A Qualitative Look.
Montalvo, Gregory P.; Roedel, Teresa DeBacker
This study explored why students attempt to please their teachers, the link between the self-reported desire to please teachers and academic performance, and the various ways students go about the task of pleasing teachers. The research focused specifically on the range of reasons students have for wanting to please teachers, what students do to please teachers, whether behaviors change when students like or dislike a teacher, and if some teacher behaviors might lead students to want to please teachers. The subjects were 22 high school students representing various socioeconomic and ethnic groups and varied achievement levels. The students were divided into six focus groups; nine discussion questions were used to focus the discussions. Eight reasons emerged as to why students try to please their teachers: (1) students' upbringing; (2) access to future help such as scholarships or letters of recommendation; (3) to show respect; (4) to maintain high esteem in teacher's eyes; (5) to receive confidence building feedback; (6) to stay out of trouble; (7) to stay on the teacher's good side; and (8) to make the grade. Specific ways students tried to please teachers included both academic and non-academic behavior. Behaviors of teachers that would lead students to try to please them included: helping with school work, providing positive confidence-building feedback, doing unnecessary things just to be nice, respecting and trusting students, and demanding less work. The findings suggested a link between the quality or amount of effort students will put forth on academic tasks and liking or disliking teachers, as well as a possible link between multiple goal theory and student teacher relationships. The nine focus group questions are appended. (ND)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Emotional Response, Focus Groups, High School Students, High Schools, Qualitative Research, Secondary School Teachers, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Student Motivation, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Influence, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).