Date of Award

9-1999

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Willard Kniep

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative research study was to answer three research questions: 1) How do students bond to their class and their teacher(s)? 2) What is the relationship between gender and student-classroom bonding? and 3) What degree of congruence is there between student and teacher perceptions of student-classroom bonding? I chose to investigate these questions based on the current research on human resiliency that links this capacity, in part, to a child's school experiences, particularly the quality of the attachment between the child and hislher class. My study was conducted at a suburban K - 5 elementary school located in the metropolitan area surrounding Portland, Oregon. The participants were a class of first grade students. The data were collected in this group's primary classroom, their music classroom, and in their physical education facilities using a variety of compilation techniques, including: structured interviews, written surveys,. and classroom observations. In an effort to protect the confidentiality of all study participants, a pseudonym was provided for each. Meaningful patterns in the students' and teachers' perceptions of classroom attachments became apparent when the collected data were analyzed. The findings from this project indicate that these students were weakly to moderately bonded to their class as a whole, that the girls were generally more highly valued by their peers than the boys, and that the boys were more likely to be securely attached to one or more of their teachers. Additionally, the teachers' perceptions of the students' level of group bonding were generally higher than those of the students themselves. Similarly, the teachers tended to perceive the students to be more intensely attached to their instructors than the students indicated they actually were.

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