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ERIC Number: ED542248
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
Attachment Perspectives on Classroom Relationships: Helping Ourselves through Helping Others?
Riley, Philip
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Dec 2-6, 2012)
Aims: Recent research showing complex interactions between personality, experience, expectancies, values and career choice indicate that a prospective psychodynamic approach, via attachment theory, may yield important complementary motivational information. In this study, an unconscious need for a corrective emotional experience (CEE) driving the choice to teach was investigated. It was hypothesised that insecure attachment style predicts: (a) motivation to teach, (b) the search for CEE, and (c) anger at students and staff. Method: Data were obtained from 514 (68.5%) pre-service and 236 (31.5%) experienced teachers, of whom 179 (23.9%) were principals and 464 (61.9%) were female (N=750). Each completed either the Experiences in Close Relationships questionnaire (ECR: Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998) or a revised version for teachers (ECR-RT) based on Fraley and colleagues (2000) to compute attachment style. Pre-service teachers were also asked to report feelings of anger toward students and staff during practicum. Results: Multiple and logistic regressions assessed the choice of Teaching Type, Gender, Age and Experience, in relation to Attachment (Anxiety and Avoidance) and Anger. A number of significant associations were discovered. MANOVA found significant differences in attachment style by Principal Type and Age Group. Pre-service teachers' reported the highest levels of both Anxiety and Avoidance, Principals the lowest. For Anger at Students, secondary teachers reported higher frequencies. Only secondary teachers reported Anger at Staff. The combined results provide partial support for the hypotheses. Significance of the Research: If initial motivation to teach is predicted by an insecure attachment style, these teachers are vulnerable to student rejection. Adding psycho-education to pre-service courses would produce more resilience in teachers entering classrooms for the first time. (Contains 1 figure, 7 tables and 1 footnote.)
Australian Association for Research in Education. AARE Secretariat, One Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6285-8388; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)