The correlation between teachers' lifestyles and their interaction with disadvantaged students
Schools need to find answers for adequately providing meaningful education for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The number of such disadvantaged students is currently rising and predictions declare more will come. Other evidence indicates that some teachers have an unusual talent for connecting with these students. Therefore, this exploratory correlational study examined the associations linking teachers' lifestyles, beliefs, and classroom behavior to describe assets that are common among teachers who serve to inspire such students. The mixed method study surveyed 92 teachers from three high schools in different districts in South Carolina. Single sample t tests of composite scales showed significant agreement between teachers' self-reports and recommendations of experts for both lifestyle assets and interaction with disadvantaged students in the classroom. Pearson correlations demonstrated significant associations linking the lifestyle assets of teachers and their classroom discourse. Qualitative data were obtained from an open-ended question at the conclusion of the survey that gave the teachers the opportunity to express what assets and behaviors they personally viewed to be important relevant to inspiring disadvantaged students. Emergent coding identified four themes related to life experiences, beliefs, practices, and reflection. These narratives confirmed the correlations in the quantitative analyses and extended the quantitative data by suggesting a dynamic cause and effect interaction between experience, beliefs, and behavior. Results of this study contribute to social change by adding knowledge that is pertinent to teacher training and placement for disadvantaged students. The new information will serve to inform the on-going search for new and better ways to connect with students from backgrounds of limited resources and experiences.
0530: Teacher education
0727: Curriculum development