Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Teaching Behavior and Well-Being in Students: Development and Concurrent Validity of an Instrument to Measure Student-Reported Teaching Behavior

Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Teaching Behavior and Well-Being in Students: Development and Concurrent Validity of an Instrument to Measure Student-Reported Teaching Behavior

Article excerpt

First submission September 5th 2012; Accepted for publication October 22nd, 2013.


Abundant research supports the notion that teacher support has clear implications for students' emotional well-being (hereafter called well-being). Consistent with previous research, we conceptualize well- being as comprising positive and negative affect (Huebner & Dew, 1996). Positive affect is the extent to which a person typically feels positive emotions (e.g., is enthusiastic, active, and alert). Negative affect encompasses frequent negative feelings (e.g., is distressed, angry, nervous). Well-being is not only of subjective importance for students; negative affect is associated with academic problems including reduced homework completion, less concentration in class, fewer interactions with peers, poorer class attendance, and lower rates of post-secondary degree attainment (Humensky, Kuwabara, Fogel, Wells, Goodwin, & Van Voorhees, 2010; Jonsson, Bohman, Hjern, von Knorring, Olsson, & von Knorring, 2010). To the contrary, positive affect in students towards school (e.g., school liking, a sense of belonging) tends to be associated with higher classroom engagement (Furrer & Skinner, 2003; Patrick, Ryan, & Kaplan, 2007; Ryan, Stiller, & Lynch, 1994) and academic achievement (Crosnoe, Johnson, & Elder, 2004; Davis, 2006; Niehaus, Rudasill, & Rakes, 2012; Roeser, Midgley, & Urdan, 1996).

Research has shown that teacher support plays an important role in students' overall well-being. For example, students who feel supported by their teachers are more likely to also feel safe and relaxed in class than their peers who reported feeling unsupported (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Students who perceive their teachers as supportive also tend to report better psychological adjustment (Van Ryzin, Gravely, & Roseth, 2009), more positive affect and life satisfaction (Suldo, Shaffer, & Riley, 2008), and less self-consciousness while in school (Roeser et al., 1996). In contrast, students who do not feel supported by adults in school have lower self-esteem and less developed sense of identity (Ryan et al., 1994). Finally, two longitudinal studies showed that increases in students' perceptions of teacher support reliably predicted decreases in depressive symptomology over time (Pössel, Rudasill, Sawyer, Spence, & Bjerg, 2013; Reddy, Rhodes, & Mulhall, 2003). Collectively, results from these studies point to the importance of investigating what specific teaching behaviors are associated with well-being in students.

Multiple models of teaching behavior converge in the conceptualization of three components - instructional, socio-emotional, and organizational (Connor et al., 2009; Douglas, 2009; Pianta & Hamre, 2009) - each of which has been associated with students' academic and social success (e.g., Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Perry, Donohue, & Weinstein, 2007). Although classroom observation is the gold standard for measuring teaching behavior, this approach requires ample funding and time (Douglas, 2009). Teacher reports of their behavior, although cost effective, may not be accurate reflections of teaching behavior (Douglas, 2009), and some research suggests that students' perceptions of their teachers' behavior may be more valuable than third-party observer reports for understanding student outcomes (Eccles, Midgley, Buchanan, Wigfield, Reuman, & MacIver, 1993; Wubbels & Levy, 1991). However, there are few student- report measures of teaching behavior. Thus, the present studies have two purposes. The first is to develop a student-report assessment of teaching behavior that queries students' perceptions of teachers' concrete and specific behaviors within the areas of instructional, socio-emotional, and organizational support. The second is to test whether student-reported teaching behavior is associated with students' well-being.

Instructional, Organizational, and Socio-emotional Teaching Behavior

Mounting evidence links three broad components of teacher behavior (instructional, organizational, and socio-emotional) to students' academic and psychosocial adjustment. …

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