Margaret Beale Spencer, Lauren Rich. Development of a Measure to Assess Teacher Perceptions of Self-Student Differences. ($150K)

The primary goal of this project is the development and pilot testing of a measure of teacher perceived self-other overlap with students. The methods to be employed include: 1) interviews with 40 teachers from Chicago Public Schools (CPS); 2) formal coding and analysis of the interviews, guided by a grounded theory approach; and 3) use of member-checking teacher groups to examine the integrity and validity of the measure. We will pilot test the measure with a sample of 50 teachers from CPS and 50 teachers from outside CPS. Our intent is to employ this measure in a larger study for which we intend to seek funding of the relationships between teacher self-other overlap; teacher (mis)perceptions of, and self-efficacy in handling, student behavior; teacher use of negative disciplinary strategies; student negative teacher perceptions; and student engagement and persistence. We are also interested in the impact of teacher training with respect to cultural differences on this system of relationships. In addition to piloting our measure of teacher self-other overlap, we will collect data on teacher-reported self-efficacy in managing student behavior and teachers’ training in strategies to deal with cultural differences. These data will be used to conduct correlational analyses of the extent to which our measure is associated with teacher self-efficacy and teacher training regarding cultural differences, two important variables in the model for our overarching study. Finally, we will conduct exploratory classroom observations in order to better understand the contexts that students represent for teachers (and vice versa), and implications for the character of interactions in the classroom.


Margaret Beale Spencer
University of Chicago, Department of Comparative Human Development 


Lauren Rich
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago