Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 10-24-2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Brandy A. Kamm, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Janice Powell, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Barbara Calabro, Ph.D.

Keywords

at-risk students, teachers’ perceptions, teachers’ efficacy, awareness, teacher-student relationships, relationships of mutual respect

Abstract

This study addressed teachers’ perceptions of at-risk students. With a focus on teachers’ efficacy and its effect on their perceptions of at-risk students, this qualitative case study examined the perceptions of teachers toward at-risk students, following a school’s three-year implementation of an initiative that was geared toward helping educators improve teaching efficacy. The effects of professional development on improving the relationships with at-risk students and the influence on middle school educators' perceptions and efficacy were explored. Data was gathered by conducting 20 interviews with the participants; including classroom teachers, administrators, and a guidance counselor, regarding teacher perceptions of the at-risk students, following a schoolwide initiative. Five themes were found when the codes were analyzed and grouped within and across interviews. The themes included awareness, relationships, impact, teacher efficacy, and teacher perception. The majority of the teacher participants mentioned the school's initiative increased their awareness of their perceptions. The findings of this study suggested that districts seeking change should consider providing educators with concrete strategies and consistent reminders of the importance of forming healthy relationships of mutual respect with all students. Professional development should be provided on the interaction with at-risk students and effective strategies to improve teacher perspectives that will impact the success of all students.

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