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Dr. W. Sean Kearney and Dr. Scott Peters, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

Dr. W. Sean Kearney and Dr. Scott Peters, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

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Dr. W. Sean Kearney and Dr. Scott Peters, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)
Dr. W. Sean Kearney and Dr. Scott Peters, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

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Published by: William Allan Kritsonis on Nov 25, 2013
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03/26/2015

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 NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1, 2013
20
A COMPARISON OF TEACHER AND STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM CLIMATE
W. Sean Kearney Scott Peters Texas A&M University
 – 
San Antonio
ABSTRACT This study examines student and teacher perceptions of classroom climate in order to identify factors that enhance or detract from student satisfaction. Surveys are analyzed from 1,431 students and 74 teachers from 36 fourth grade and 38 fifth grade classrooms across 14 elementary schools in Texas utilizing the My Class Inventory-
Short Form (Fraser & O’Brien, 1985; Settlage, 2011).
Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses are employed to identify which classroom climate factors are significantly related to student satisfaction, and to isolate potential interaction effects between level 1 (student) and the level 2 (classroom) variables. The results of the analyses demonstrate student perceptions of cohesion and difficulty are positively related to student satisfaction, while friction and competition impact negatively upon student satisfaction. There is very little correlation between teacher and student perceptions of classroom climate, with teacher perceptions of classroom cohesion being the only teacher level factor that is significantly related to student satisfaction within this study. Implications are discussed.
 
 KEARNEY & PETERS
21
 
Introduction
istening to students is an essential component of learner engagement and success (Dewey, 2009). Unfortunately, giving students a voice in their own education is increasingly rare in U.S. public education, particularly at the elementary level (Angus, 2006). In a counseling setting, an experienced clinician will begin by asking their client what they want to achieve from their counseling sessions, what their goals are, and what will make them satisfied with
the experience. Based on the client’s feedback, the
 counselor uses
his/her training to masterfully blend the client’s needs and desires with
 proven counseling techniques to help achieve the desired results. Similarly, successful businessmen and women must ensure they are meeting the needs and expectations of their clients if they hope to maintain their contracts. But should educators ask for feedback from elementary students? What knowledge might be gleaned from asking elementary students for feedback on classroom climate? The authors of this study set out to give voice to elementary students by asking for their feedback on classroom climate. Student  perceptions are then compared with teacher perceptions to better understand the relationship between these groups. In so doing, the authors hope to add to the extant literature on classroom climate factors that contribute to student satisfaction at the elementary level. In order to inform our investigation, the discussion now turns to a review of the existing literature in this field.
Literature Review Theoretical Basis
Student involvement in their own education, specifically related to decision-making has a solid foundation. Piaget and Vygotsky provide theories of child development that underscore the value of student-centered learning (Tzou, 2007). Arguably one of the
L
 
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 NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
 
strongest proponents of respect for the child as driver of their own learning was Maria Montessori. She felt that students learn best when they have a level of developmentally appropriate autonomy (Lockhorst, Wubbels, & Van Oers, 2010; Lapota, Wallace, & Finn, 2005; Montessori, 1967). The Montessori method fosters free and open discourse in which a student has a voice where meaningful learning can occur (Lockhorst, Wubbels, & Van Oers, 2010). Similarly, John Dewey viewed education as a democratic exercise, requiring student involvement in their own educational choices (Dewey, 2009). Another pedagogical innovator who has emphasized student involvement in their own education is Loris Malaguzzi. His development of the Reggio Emilia approach was founded on the idea that the child/student is capable of being an active participant in their own learning (Caldwell & Gandini, 1997). Malaguzzi espoused a less hierarchical structure in the classroom, replaced instead by a collaborative relationship between student and teacher. In the Reggio Emilia model, each student is treated as a part of the community of learning (Caldwell & Gandini, 1997). Many other authors have emphasized the importance of meaningful student involvement in their own education as curriculum designers, self-advocates, and evaluators in the classroom (Fielding, 2001; Fletcher, 2005; Friere, 1998; Klein, 2003; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Importantly, there is data to support the value of soliciting student feedback. Rathunde and Csikszentmihalyi (2005) found that compared to traditional educational settings, schools in which student
feedback was regularly solicited reported, “higher affect, potency… and intrinsic motivation,”
 
than schools with lower levels of student feedback (p.363). Additionally, Kennedy, and Datnow (2011) have identified increased student involvement as a common trait found in highly effective schools, and Westling Allodi (2007) found that when student feedback is utilized to improve classroom climate, learning outcomes improve.

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