The Role of the Teacher in Fostering a Positive Impact through Warm Demanding versus the Academic Performance of Students in Public School Setting: A Correlational Study
Graduate Faculty of the School of Education
Requirements for the Degree of
Statement of the Problem 1
Purpose of the Study 2
Research Questions 3
Definition of Key Terms 5
Brief Review of the Literature 5
Research Method 7
Operational Definition of Variables 9
Appendix A: Annotated Bibliography 13
One of the goals of an educational institution is to incorporate the principles of “warm demanding,” an educational environment in which the educational professionals exhibit a warm, but demanding presence in the classroom (Bondy et al., 2007). Recent studies suggest that there is a distinct overlap between the success of students in a classroom and an instructor’s ability to facilitate self-efficacy in the environment itself (Adkins-Coleman, 2010). The identification and application of a warm demanding attitude in teacher orientation has been linked to academic growths and successes particularly in urban academic settings (Adkins-Coleman, 2010).
The “warm demander” approach to learning is believed to be effective in a wide range of classrooms with a wide range of learning styles (Shevalier& McKenzie, 2012). Many of the researches that were completed on this topic has been focused on the urban academic setting (Adkins-Coleman, 2010). In the warm demanding classroom, instructors set boundaries for the students, which is something that is reflected repeatedly during the academic day. This fosters a mentoring environment and focuses on self-efficacy (Carpenter Ford & Sassi, 2012).
The idea of the “warm demanding” approach to teaching is commonly associated with African American teachers in an urban school environment (Ford &Sassi, 2014). These instructors balance the needs for hard limits and respect of students with a more nuanced approach to authority (Ford &Sassi, 2014). There are a number of challenges commonly associated with cross-racial classrooms, in which, the instructor is white and the rest of the classroom is some other racial group. Mismatches between the authority- figure teaching style and the needs of the classroom can lead to underachievement by students (Adkins-Coleman, 2010).
There is a very real need for a focus on self-efficacy in mathematics study (Usher &Pajares, 2007). Research suggests that mathematics and science are two of the areas where the achievement gap is the largest. Shrinking the achievement gap between students of different races would be entirely possible if there was a better focus on classroom dynamics (Bondy et al., 2007). In the urban classroom, a focus on warm demanding is perceived to foster empowerment of the students. This can help reduce the academic achievement gap that exists between urban and suburban schools (Ford &Sassi, 2014). There are ways to narrow the achievement gap. Kaniuka (2011) suggests that the educator present in the classroom is significantly involved in the success of non-White students in the urban classroom (Kaniuka, 2011). In addition to the instructor’s use and practice of warm demanding approach, Kaniuka (2011) found that a small-school setting with rigorous classroom expectations significantly shrunk the academic achievement gap for students. This was seen in a case study about a single disadvantaged school (Kaniuka, 2011). Narrowing the achievement gap and raising Average Yearly Progress (AYP) through instructor presence has been a long-term goal of schools around the United States, especially in science and math literacy (Usher &Pajares, 2007).
In lieu with this information, the proponent of this study proposed to determine the correlation of the teacher’s role in fostering a positive impact through the application of warm demanding approach to the academic performance of students in public school settings. This is accomplished by evaluating how teachers, through the application of the concepts and principles of warm demanding approach in the classroom settings of public schools, can help motivate students to engage in active class discussion and activities which significantly helps improve the students’ academic performance.
Statement of the Problem
Since the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Policy, schools have placed a greater focus on mathematics and reading instruction (Guisbond et al., 2012; Durlak, 2007; Hursh, 2007). Yet, despite this intent focus rendered by teachers, there exists a great debate concerning the effectiveness of the policy. Majority of academic institutions believed that the best way to respond to this policy is by adapting additional advanced courses in Math, Reading and Sciences or adding extra time to the following subjects for a more extensive academic discussion. Many believed that instead of all these reforms to address the demands of the No Child Left Behind Policy these educational institution should just foster an approach that would motivate students to actively participate in classroom discussions and activities (Guisbond et al., 2012). There had been evidences that the poor performance of students is largely a result of their disengagement in the learning process (Baron, 2013; Fry, 2013; Milsom, 2015). For example, the academic performance index (API) dropped for the first time in 2013 (Baron, 2013; Fry, 2013). The percentage of the (API) dropped from 53% to 51% (Baron, 2013). Milsom (2015) reported the underperformance of many sophomores in the United States. There are several factors attributed to the so-called disengagement of students. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following: long breaks, lack of support and overwhelming workloads (Milsom, 2015). In other universities, it is likely that the reasons for the decline are not fully known.
The literature suggests the importance of having teachers who are warm and demanding to motivating students and creating an engaging classroom environment conducive to learning (Bondy, Ross, Hambacher, & Acosta, 2013; Bonner, 2014; Ford & Sassi, 2014; Houchen, 2013; Ross, Bondy, Gallingane, & Hambacher, 2008; Xu, Coats, & Davidson, 2012). For example, Bondy (2007; 2013) has devoted several studies which suggest how the authoritative form of teaching style is said to work best in pushing the students to improve their performance. There were preliminary evidences to suggest that warm demanding might be a factor to preventing the dramatic decline in student academic yearly progress (Bondy, 2013; Bondy, 2007). One aspect of the local problem is that the behavioral details of successful warm demanding are not well-known. This is because there is no professional learning community or other formal means of disseminating the knowledge and orientations of more experienced teachers to less experienced teacher as far as effectively fostering the warm demanding approach to the teaching process (Bondy, 2013; Bondy, 2007). Gathering details of successful teacher warm demanding behaviors can address this aspect of the problem. The second aspect of the local problem is that less experienced teachers might lack self-efficacy (Kass, 2002), as a basis from which to adopt warm demanding (Bondy, 2013). A teacher with high self-efficacy knows how to apply the warm demanding approach in the classroom. Learning how successful teachers build and sustain the efficacy around warm demanding is a manner of addressing this aspect of the problem.
The problem, therefore, lays on the role of the teacher in applying the principle of warm demanding approach to classroom management and in the teaching process to motivate students to be engaged in classroom discussions and activities. The teacher’s lack of experience, the problem relating to the effective dissemination of knowledge and orientation of experienced teachers to inexperienced teachers, as well the teacher’s self efficiency relating to the implementation of warm demanding approach as a teaching methodology.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study is to (a) increase understanding of the impact of warm demanding, as enacted by experienced teachers comparative to inexperience teachers and at the research site, (b) describe ways in which a professional learning community and other non-institutional means could be used to assist less-experienced teachers--in both understanding and implementing warm demanding in the classroom, and finally, (c) draw the correlation between the role of teachers and the students’ academic performance established through the proper execution and implementation of the warm demanding approach to classroom setting. This purpose will be achieved by conducting an experimental study in a public middle school.
The first purpose should be done so that one can draw significant insights referring to the difference in approach, personality and motivation of teachers as determined by their experience in using warm demanding approach. The approach, personality and motivations of the teachers that are good warm demanders will be analyzed in contrast with the inexperience teachers to establish which among the specific factors contribute to the successful implementation of the warm demanding approach. The second purpose should be accomplished to help determine an effective way of disseminating materials, knowledge and orientation about the warm demanding approach. The first purpose will be followed-up by a proper methodology of relaying the information formulated so that the proper approach to implementing warm demanding will be effectively taught to inexperienced teachers. Finally, the third purpose is to establish the role of teachers in ensuring the optimal academic performance of students through a teaching methodology known as warm demanding approach.
For the purpose of this study, the proponent has developed a series of questions which will serve as a guide to facilitate the course of the discussion. These include:
Q1. How do experience and inexperience teachers cultivate warmth in the classroom?
Q2. How do experience and inexperience teachers cultivate “demandingness” in the classroom?
Q3. How do experience and inexperience teachers cultivate a mixture of warmth and “demandingness” in the classroom?
Q4. How does warm demanding influence outcomes for students?
Q5. How can the orientation of warm demanding be conveyed to other teachers?
Q6. How do successful warm demanders build self-efficacy for themselves?
Given the goal of this particular study, the proponent has formulated a set of hypotheses which will serve as a guide in inferring the results.
Hσ: That there is no significant positive correlation between the role of the teacher and the academic performance of students in the implementation of the warm demanding approach in the public school settings.
Hα: That there is a significant positive correlation between the role of the teacher and the academic performance of students in the implementation of the warm demanding approach in the public school settings.
Definition of Key Terms
For the purpose of this study, the proponent decided to adapt the working terminologies that would guide the readers in understanding the content of the study. For better understanding and for a more suited application, the proponent decided to use both objective and subjective definition for the terminologies used in this paper.
Success. From within the context of this study, the proponent defines success as the effectiveness of the warm demanding approach in assisting teachers manage the teaching-learning process as indicated by the student’s improved performance in math and sciences.
Cultural Responsiveness. In the domain of pedagogy, cultural responsiveness is defined as the set of ways in which a teacher can alter aspects of pedagogy, communication, classroom management, and other factors to better align with the cultural needs and expectations of students (Bonner & Adams, 2012).
Galatea Effect. The Galatea Effect is defined as the tendency of a student to achieve at a higher level when encouraged by a teacher and to achieve at a lower level when not encouraged by a teacher (McNatt & Judge, 2004; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002).
Self-Efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as a belief in the ability to succeed in a particular behavior (Bandura, 1977; Bandura 1994; Bandura 1997; Bandura 2000; Bandura, Adams, & Beyer, 1977).
PLC. A professional learning community is defined as a group of teachers, sometimes including administrators and other non-teaching personnel, who meet regularly in order to share best practices (Tang & Lam, 2014).
Warm Demanding. Warm demanding is defined as a behavioral orientation in which teachers are able to convey both care and a desire for academic rigor and performance to their students (Bondy et al., 2013).
Brief Review of the Literature
A substantial amount of literature has been written about trying to improve the classroom learning environment and motivating students to be more engaged in the learning process (Bondy et al., 2013; Bonner, 2014; Deng, Lin, & Lo, 2012; Ford &Sassi, 2014; Houchen, 2013; Jackson, Sealey-Ruiz, & Watson, 2014; McNatt& Judge, 2004; Ross et al., 2008; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002; Salkovsky&Romi, 2015; Xu et al., 2012). A large amount of these materials concentrated on offering a definitive characteristic of a warm demander. One appropriate means of structuring a literature review on the subject of warm demanding is to proceed from: (a) an overview of the traditional classroom environment, for better understanding of what is typically seen in a traditional classroom, may require modification, (b) the presentation and definition of the concept of warm demanding, to establish the merits for needing to adapt this system for a more effective approach to the teaching-learning process, (c) a presentation of the theoretical basis for warm demanding, to institutionalize the effectiveness of the system that would warrant the voluntary adaptation of schools into their own learning process, (d) a discussion and analysis of empirical studies on warm demanding to critically evaluate the pros and cons of the system; (e) the identification of the role of the teacher as a warm demander and the expectations among students; (f) an identification of both the gaps in the literature and the ways in which empirical findings have affirmed underlying theories of student success.
Understanding the Classroom Environment
In an article published in 2008, authors Elizabeth Bondy and Dorene D. Ross wrote about teachers being warm demander. In the beginning of the article, the authors posed an important question. They asked how teachers could create an engaging classroom. Their response was as simple as “convince the students that you care for them” . The concept of caring is pivotal to fostering a warm, demanding environment for students to feel motivated and engaged in the learning process. For many academic institutions, the focus of teachers is on the academic enrichment of their students by capitalizing on developing a lesson plan that would meet all the cognitive criteria of development. Nevertheless; in the pursuit of wanting to enrich the cognitive knowledge of students, teachers failed to let their students know they can rely on them for support when things get tough. As a result, teachers are challenged by their students’ misbehavior and lack of interest. This is where Bondy and Ross (2008) offered their most sensible solution to the problem; engage the students to participate in their personal learning process.
A common problem experienced by teachers in public schools is getting the students to step up and become more participative. However, this is quite common in public schools or in a poverty stricken community. Thus, teachers find it challenging to foster a positive environment where students would feel motivated and encouraged. For example; authors of the article Promoting Academic Engagement through Insistence: Being a Warm Demander stated that public schools are usually confronted with racial discrimination and the racial achievement gap (Rossa, Bondya, Gallingane, &Hambacher, 2008, p. 143). This creates the low morale of students and disheartens them to productively engage and feel empowered to learn. More importantly, creating an interesting lesson plan is to actually create an environment where students feel engaged (Bondy& Ross, 2008, p. 54). According to Skinner and Furrer, the stakes for creating an engaging classroom environment is high; because the teacher needs to effectively communicate to the students both warm and negotiable demands, which are important to the type of classroom environment needed to motivate students to become engaged . Therefore; the authors believe that by facilitating an engaging classroom environment, a teacher becomes a warm demander.
What is the Concept of “Warm Demanding”?
The concept of “warm demanding” originated from the early 1960’s with the so-called Galatea effect, from which, expectations play significant importance. Applying it to the context of education; several authors rationalized, like in any other setting, teachers and students also have their own sets of expectations. Students expect teachers to have mastered the basic rudimentary principles of teaching. In the same, teachers expect students to be engaged in classroom discussions; as with any typical dynamic setup.
Warm demanding supports teachers much foster an environment where the students feel motivated to participate. Teachers must exude the qualities of a warm demander to allow students to feel valued. At the same time, a teacher must command respect and authority to encourage students to follow their orders . In an article by Dr. Micheline S. Malow, Ph.D., she emphasized the importance of care and insistence in reaching out to students; especially those students with learning disabilities . However, Malow insisted that not all students would respond well to this kind of approach. A teacher should learn to balance the right amount of care and fair demanding that is tolerable for a particular child; as not everyone would manifest and respond well to the same approach. Furrer and Skinner capitalized on ensuring students are, in fact, going to perform according to expectations. Again, going back to the Galatea effect, authors who wrote about these principles suggest high exceptions from teachers of their students' results in exemplary performance; because they are being motivated to respond positively to the expectations, and students feel they are being encouraged when their teachers think highly of them .
Theoretical Foundation of Warm Demanding
A good literature review has to include a discussion of a theoretical foundation for the concept presented in order to be connected with the empirical findings documented across different studies. It has already been achieved that there is a general consensus supporting warm demanding, and it is highly successful and effective; particularly during classroom orientation (Bondy et al., 2013; Bonner, 2014; Deng, Lin, & Lo, 2012; Ford &Sassi, 2014; Houchen, 2013; McNatt& Judge, 2004; Ross et al., 2008; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002; Xu et al., 2012). While the success of warm demanding has been established, the next concern for scholars and academicians is aiding teachers in becoming warm demanders. The most pressing open question in the literature is how teachers can become warm demanders. This can best be explained in the theory of the Galatea effect (McNatt& Judge, 2004).
Originally developed in the 1960s-era, discovery of the so-called Galatea effect; warm demanding supports that students were found to live up or live down to the expectations of their teachers (McNatt & Judge, 2004; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002). Subsequent empirical research demonstrated that a teacher’s belief the capacity of their students is, to some extent, self-fulfilling (McNatt & Judge, 2004; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002). In 2003, authors Furrer and Skinner asserts that warm demanding fosters an environment that engages students to actively participate; thereby, raising their academic performance. The engaging classroom environment encourages and motivates students to excel. Furrer and Skinner believe that engaging students to actively take part in academic discussions and activities constitutes a student to retain the concepts discussed during the lesson. This supports the empirical finding which confirmed what teachers and theorists had been debating on for several years; i.e., a teacher’s positive orientation towards students is a prime determining factor in their academic success (Ladson-Billings, 1999). Warmth is one name given to this positive orientation; it comprises belief, encouragement, care, trust, and related emotions and orientations (Bondy et al., 2013). On the other hand, demanding constitutes the authority that students should recognize, respect and abide. By blending these two concepts together, the teacher is able to advance in becoming a warm demander who is able to balance both care and authority. (Bondy et al., 2013; Bonner, 2014; Deng, Lin, & Lo, 2012).
The Merits of Warm Demanding in Classroom Set-Up
There has been numerous studies depicting the advantages of incorporating the system of warm demanding in the classroom set-up. There were evidences identifying that fostering increases the level of academic performances of students and actively engages students to be more participative in academic and non-academic activities (Ladson-Billings, 1999; McNatt & Judge, 2004; Ross et al., 2008; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002). It also gave students the motivation and the encouragement to pursue further; thereby, accounting for a large percentage of students proceeding to college due to identified merits (Bondy et al., 2013).
In the same way, this is also believed to have significantly improved the performance of teachers and their effectiveness in a classroom setting. According to Malow (2013), teachers who gradually progress in becoming warm demanders, are able to enforce effective classroom management. In addition, warm demanders are also effective in trying to control students and effectively allow the students to navigate on their own, which allows them to be independent, yet consultative in the progress they are making.
Defining a Warm Demander
Other empirical studies identified teacher demanding as an important factor in student success (Bondy et al., 2013). However, the demanding orientation was found to have hard limits. Teachers who were too demanding simply alienated their students, who either overtly or covertly rebelled against their expectations. Subsequent research combined the themes of warmth and demanding, and noted the combination of these two orientations was a far more likely predictor of student success.
There is; thus, a consensus among educational scholars that successful teachers manage to combine two distinct attitudes; warmth and demand (Bondy et al., 2013; Bonner, 2014; Davis et al., 2011; Ford & Sassi, 2014; Houchen, 2013; Ross et al., 2008; Rowe & O'Brien, 2002; Shevalier & McKenzie, 2012; Xu et al., 2012). Teachers who are warm, but do not ask their students to push for achievement, are often unable to motivate students to work harder inside and outside the classroom. Teachers who are demanding, but not warm, can alienate students. However; teachers who can combine the orientations of warmth and demand, give students the combination of trust, motivation, support, and challenges that are associated with high academic achievement.
Despite the consensus in the academic literature about the success of warm demanding as a teacher orientation, there are few practical guides that can help teachers understand what this phenomenon is; much less, to implement it. One reason for this difficulty is that warmth and demand are both context-specific. In other words, the behaviors that seem warm and demanding to students depend greatly on the socioeconomic, cultural, and academic circumstances of those students (Ford & Sassi, 2014). Identifying and learning from successful warm demanders in a given setting is; therefore, an appropriate means of helping peer teachers understand how they, too, can become warm demanders in the classroom. The knowledge generated by the student from warm demanders can form the content of a professional learning community, provide insight to administrators, and offer a template for teachers who are struggling with how best to adopt classroom orientations to engage students.
Based on the empirical articles analyzed in this literature review, the list of behaviors associated with successful warm demanding can be easily conveyed. The true challenge lies not in the identification of what constitutes warm demanding, but rather, in the identification of strategies that allow teachers to adopt warm demanding within their own contexts. The points of consensus in the literature (Bondy et al., 2013; Bonner, 2014; Ford & Sassi, 2014; Houchen, 2013; Ross et al., 2008; Xu et al., 2012) are that teachers possess the capability of being warm demanders with the combination of education, pre-service training, and other factors in the standard process of preparing a teacher; which gives all teachers the tools they need to be warm demanders. If so, what matters most in the adoption of warm demanding might not be fundamental skill-building; but rather the identification of ways to enable teachers to exercise the skills they have; such as, through the generation of self-efficacy.
Creating a Warm Demanding Classroom Environment
One of the main points of interest in Bondy et al.’s (2013) article, is that teachers with less than a year of experience; and asked to succeed in a cross-cultural setting, were in fact able to do so because they believed in their ability to be warm demanders. For these teachers, warm demanding was not a difficult orientation to understand, and it did not require them to devote time to building skills they did not possess. Rather, to use the term Bandura (1997) employed in his discussion of self-efficacy theory, what the teachers in Bondy et al.’s study possessed was the ability to orchestrate their existing skills; an ability that was rooted in their belief. The same kind of findings was obtained by other scholars (Bonner, 2014; Bonner & Adams, 2012; Davis et al., 2011; Ford & Sassi, 2014) whose work was consulted in this literature review.
Understood from the theoretical perspective of the self-efficacy theory; one of the key gaps in the literature is the lack of discussion on how teachers can build and sustain self-efficacy through various concepts and applications of the warm demanding orientation. The literature contains numerous details about the specific behaviors that comprise warm demanding, but there is comparatively less information on the topic of how teachers can come to believe in their ability to be warm demanders. Given the prominence of self-efficacy in the studies consulted in this literature review, this gap is an important one; teachers need to not only know more about the components of warm demanding, but also about how to believe in their ability to enact these behaviors. With this literature gap in mind, Chapter 3 contains a description and defense of a descriptive phenomenological method for (a) identifying the warm demanding behaviors of successful, experienced teachers at the local research site; (b) identifying how such teachers are able to build and sustain self-efficacy around warm demanding; and (c) exploring how the knowledge achieved from (a) and (b) can be disseminated to other teachers; primarily through a professional learning community (PLC).
The warm demanding teacher recognizes the cultural differences a student may have and potentially affect their ability to successfully learn the material that is being presented to them in the classroom. By acknowledging these differences and attempting to close the gap which arises from them; the warm demanding teacher is better able to relate the important learning objectives to the students in ways they can more easily understand, and interpret them within the framework of their existing knowledge base.
Caring about the student background is the first element. Secondly, the teacher approaches the students with the expectation that they can and will learn the lessons at hand. It is a no-excuses style of demanding positive results from the class. It is the complex interaction between the warmth of caring about their cultural differences, combined with the insistence that the students are capable of mastering the material being presented to them that gives this style of teaching its name. Warm demanding instruction is culturally relevant, critically caring and authoritative. Teachers take the philosophy that children’s lives can be improved through good education, and they take a personal level of responsibility for providing that education. This goal will motivate the teaching style control the decision making process and practices utilized in the classroom. Teachers seeking to adopt the warm demander orientation; a proposed solution for the problem of declining academic achievement, and affecting the research site, require some form of guidance. The conclusion of the literature review is that self-efficacy can give teachers a template for adopting the behaviors that are most commonly identified with warm demanding.