Students' perceptions of teachers' interpersonal behaviour across four different school subjects: control is good but affiliation is better

Telli S.

TEACHERS AND TEACHING, vol.22, pp.729-744, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13540602.2016.1158961
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.729-744
  • Keywords: Science education, teacher-student interpersonal relationship, student affective outcomes, school subjects, classroom learning environment, NONVERBAL IMMEDIACY, MOTIVATION, CLASSROOM, PROFESSION, EDUCATION, AMERICAN, OUTCOMES, CLIMATE, SELF
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Many researchers have pointed out that teachers' interpersonal behaviour relates to students' positive attitudes towards schooling. However, only few studies have examined whether students' perceptions of their teachers' interpersonal behaviour relates to students' subject-related attitudes across different school subjects. In this study, it was investigated to what extent the interpersonal behaviours of secondary school teachers are perceived differently by the students as a function of the school subject being taught and whether such perceptions coincide with students' attitudes towards the subject matter, after controlling for students' achievement. To address these research questions, 2305 adolescent students (47.1% males; M-age = 17.85; SD = 1.09) from grades 9 to 11 and their teachers (N = 42; 38.1% males; mean years of teaching = 14.2; SD = 1.25) from one urban high school in Turkey were surveyed. The students completed the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction and attitude questions. Multilevel data analysis showed that Control related to positive attitudes among students in classes grouped under the science, and literature and language domains, but not in classes grouped under the arts and sports domain. Perceived Affiliation, on the other hand, was positively associated with all the four subject domains (science, social sciences, literature and language, and arts and sports). These results show the importance of taking a multidisciplinary perspective in in-service training programmes for secondary school science teachers as they emphasise the differential roles that control as an interpersonal behavioural style may play on students' attitudes in certain subject matters.