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The Relationship between teacher empathy and school discipline referral rates

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Title:
The Relationship between teacher empathy and school discipline referral rates
Creator:
Leggiadro, Elizabeth
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of psychology)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
School psychology
Committee Chair:
Crepeau-Hobson, Franci
Committee Members:
Harris, Bryn
Geissler, Lisa

Notes

Abstract:
Empathy can be difficult to define as it embodies more than merely feelings for another person or walking in another’s shoes. Individuals who demonstrate empathic character traits are often perceived as being more sensitive to the experiences of others, more apt to foster caring relationships, and more capable of viewing the workplace and those with whom they work with optimism and positivity. This study sought to examine the relationship between levels of teacher empathy and disciplinary referral rates. Teacher gender and years of teaching experience were also included in the analyses. Sixty-eight teachers (6 males, 62 females) from three elementary schools in a suburban school district completed an online empathy survey. A total empathy score was derived from each participant’s responses and was matched with district disciplinary data. None of the teacher variables, including empathy survey scores, was found to be a significant predictor of office disciplinary referrals. However, the results of a multivariate analysis of variance indicated statistically significant differences in total empathy scores by gender. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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Copyright Elizabeth Leggiadro. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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! ! THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER EMPATHY AND SCHOOL DISCIPLINE REFERRAL RATES by ELIZABETH LEGGIADRO B.S., Colora do State University, 2008 M.S.W., Colorado State University, 2010 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirement s for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program 2018

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"" ! ! This the sis for the Doctor of Psychology degree by Elizabeth Leggiadro has been approved for the School Psychology Program by Franci Crepeau Hobson, Chair Bryn Harris Lisa Geissler Date: May 12, 2018

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""" ! ! Leggiadro, Elizabeth (PsyD, School Psychology Program) The Relationship Between Teacher Empathy and School Discipline Referral Rates Thesis directed by Associate Professor Franci Crepeau Hobson ABSTRACT Empathy can be difficult to define as it embodies more than merely feelings for another person or walking in another's shoes. Individuals who demonstrate empathic character traits are often perceived as being more sensitive to the experiences of others, more apt to foster caring relationships, and more capable of viewing the workplace and those with whom they work with optimism and positivity. This study sought to examine th e relationship between levels of teacher empathy and disciplinary referral rates. Teacher gender and years of teaching experience were also included in the analyses. Sixty eight teachers (6 males, 62 females) from three elementary schools in a suburban sch ool district completed an online empathy survey. A total empathy score was derived from each participant's responses and was matched with district disciplinary data. None of the teacher variables, including empathy survey scores, was found to be a signifi cant predictor of office disciplinary referrals. However, the results of a multivariate analysis of variance indicated statistically significant differences in total empathy scores by gender. Implications and future directions are discussed. The form an d content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Franci Crepeau Hobson

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"# ! ! TABLE OF CONTENTS I . INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 1 The Impact of School on Student Connection ................................ ................................ ............. 1 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 2 II . REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 2 Definitions of Empathy ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 2 Empathy in Education ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 3 Empathy and Gender ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 5 Empathy and Discipline Practices ................................ ................................ ............................... 6 III . METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 7 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 7 Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 8 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 8 Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 9 IV. RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 9 D iscussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 10 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ . 12 V. IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 13 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 13 Future Directions ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 14 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 15

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# ! ! ! APPENDIX A. ! Survey Consent Form ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 1 9 B. ! Survey Instrument ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 20 $% ! Data Code Book ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 21 !

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#" ! ! L IST OF TABLES TABLE 1. ! Descriptive Statistics ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 9

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& ! ! ! CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Rarely has there been an institution more impactful for children than schools. Schools afford children the ability to learn critical thinking skills, cultivate interests and passions, learn how to socialize, and to children, scho ols are a microcosm of the world around them. Educational researchers have long sought to identify those factors necessary for students to fully embrace the prospect of learning, feel safe at school, and thrive both academically and socially. There is n o denying that the level of connectedness a student feels to their school and specifically with their teachers, can greatly affect how successful they are in their academics and in forming healthy relationships with others (Blum, 2004). Educational researc h has long since demonstrated that when students feel they belong and can connect to their school, teachers, and peers, they are less likely to experience behavioral problems and engage in at risk behaviors (Blum, 2004) . When a student doesn't feel a con nection to their school and teachers, they are less likely to develop pro social bonds with their peers, develop healthy support systems, engage in positive activities and behaviors, and avoid high risk situations that could negatively affect their health. (Blum, 2004) . For a large percentage of students, their interactions with teachers and school staff are perceived as positive experiences; but for some, these interactions can be difficult and straining. As a result of these tense relationships, many st udents engage in disruptive and problematic behaviors in the classroom placing stress on both the teacher and the student (Blum, 2004) . Research has indicated that teachers who believe in more punitive responses to misbehavior as opposed to empathic and perspective taking approaches, tend to experience an increase in problematic behaviors rather than a decrease ( Okonofua, Paunesku, & Walton, 2016) . This highlights the importance of teacher traits such as empathy in cultivating and maintaining

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' ! ! ! meaningful t eacher student relationships. Positive teacher student relationships have been identified as a powerful predictor of both increased pro social student behaviors and decreased problematic student behavior s, including those that lead to suspension and other disciplinary actions (McAllister, & Irvine, 2002). Individuals who demonstrate empathic character traits are often perceived as being more sensitive to the experiences of others, more apt to foster caring relationships, and to demonstrate more cultural s ensitivity to those around them. (McAllister & Irvine, 2002). These findings hold true in relation to the educational system as well, as more positive relationships and interactions are fostered with students when teachers exhibit and demonstrate empathy (McAllister, & Irvine, 2002) . The current study sought to examine the interaction between the rate of disciplinary office referrals and the level of empathy in elementary school teachers. Additionally, the study examined potential gender differences of female and male teachers in terms of how they respond to situations using the trait of empathy. Research Questions R1: Are teacher empathy, gender, and years of teaching experience predictive of rates of disciplinary office referrals in elementary school teachers? R2: Are there differences between female and male teachers and those with various years of teaching experience in levels of empathy and/or office disciplinary referrals?

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( ! ! ! CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Definitions of Empathy Research on e mpathy has led to the establishment of numerous definitions which work to operationalize this trait. A prevalent definition found throughout the professional literature identifies two components that primarily comprise empath y. The first, cognitive empath y, entails the ability to understand and infer how another person may make decisions, their intentions, how they identify their hopes and desires, and their views on others ( DeWaal, 2007; Shamay Tsoory, Aharon Peretz, & Perry, 2009). Secondly, an affectiv e or emotional perspective is needed in addition to a cognitive perspective in defining empathy ( Cox, Uddin, Martino, Castellanos, Milham, & Kelly, 2011 ; Preston & Waal , 2003 ; Shamay Tsoory, 2010). Affective empathy results in individuals being able to rel ate to how another feels and thinks regarding a given situation. (Decety & Jackson, 2006 ). Additionally, it is important to distinguish the terms sympathy and compassion from empathy. Compassion and sympathy can be understood as establishing and demonst rating feelings of concern for others and their experiences, whereas empathy is identified as feeling as the other person feels. (Maibom, 2009 ). Empathy in Education Empathy is an important trait for those in the educational system who face many different challenges and work with students with varying needs. For teachers in particular, empathy is a trait which allows for the ability to form deep and caring relationshi ps with students, as well as fulfilling other roles such as that of lecturer, organizer, mediator, motivator, and facilitator of learning in the classroom (Stojiljkovi!, Djigi!, & Zlatkovi!, 2012) . When teachers demonstrate empathic traits in performing th eir other professional roles and responsibilities, students are more likely to view them as supports; contributing to the creation of a caring and supportive school

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) ! ! ! climate where learning is more conducive. Possessing the trait of empathy not only allows teachers to form emotional bonds with their students, it is an integral part of their ability to perform other professional roles which effect students every day (Stojiljkovi! et al. , 2012) . The beliefs teachers hold regarding children contribute greatly to how they interact and engage with their students, thus affecting the teacher student relationship and school climate (Rimm Kaufman, Storm, Sawyer, Pianta, & LaParo, 2006) . Extant research has shown that student success and student engagement depends he avily on the relationships with teachers (Fall & Roberts, 2012; Klem & Connell, 2004; Parsons, Nuland, & Parsons, 2014; Skinner , Furrer, Marchand, & Kindermann, 2008), especially with teachers who hold a set of personality traits often referred to as "aff ective traits" (Davis, 1983). These affective traits, such as empathy, authenticity, understanding, and warmth, have been shown to greatly impact the teacher student relationship and in many cases in students' feelings of comfort and safety in their schoo l ( Baker, Grant & Morlock 2008). Additionally, affective traits such as empathy in teachers have been linked with students' experiencing an increase in school engagement and motivation for learning, academic achievement, social functioning (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Wentzel, 1998). Affective teacher traits and the strength of the teacher student relationship have also been associated with lowered instances of behavioral problems and a decreased likelihood for aggressive student behaviors in the future (Hughes & Cavell, 1999). Along with the ability to better perform professionally, teachers who encompass both cognitive and affective empathic traits can also contribute to an accepting and safe school climate (Cornelius White, 2007). If teachers perceive that the y have the ability to understand the feelings and needs of their students, students will likely believe they are being understood and cared for by their teachers. This exchange of students feeling cared for by teachers and teachers believing they have the ability to

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* ! ! ! understand their students greatly increases the potential for a positive school climate (Cornelius White, 2007). Since teachers who exhibit both affective and cognitive empathic traits are more likely to establish a better understanding of the ir students' struggles, they are less likely to minimize and trivialize other student behaviors that are important to the individual ( Duy, 2013). E mpathy it is also relate d to teacher well being . T eachers who exhibit empathic or affective traits have bee n shown to have high levels of self esteem and positive views surrounding their profession, as well as the ability to use perspective taking and understand not only the students with whom they work but other colleagues as well ( Ceylan, 2009). Additionally , research indicates that teachers who exhibit empathic traits tend to view their opportunities at school more positively and with a better understanding of the climate of the schools' bureaucracy and rules. They view the rules as important and that they s erve a purpose, as opposed to being personal attacks about their teaching style or personality (Barr, 2011). Empathy and Gender A growing body of psychological research has demonstrated that compared to men, women are stronger performers on emotional tasks and often receive higher scores on tests which measure empathy, social sensitivity, and emotional regulation (Schulte Ru ther, Markowitsch, Shah, Gereon, Fink, & Piefke , 2008). Specifically, women generally achieve higher scores on tests that involve decoding non verbal emotional cues as they relate to children and adults (Ruther et al., 2008). Study results indicate that women c onsistently outperform their male counterparts on measures of emotional and affective expression and demonstrate higher levels of empathy via self report measures and in their ability to differentiate in their articulation of emotional experiences. (Baron Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004). Additionally, empirical studies have shown that women have demonstrated greater strength in the ability to recognize facial

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+ ! ! ! expressions, and emotional body language, both tasks which are linked to the development of empathic co ncern (Christov Moorea, Simpsonb, CoudÂŽb, Grigaitytea, Iacobonia, & Ferrarib, 2014; Graaff, Branje, Wied, Hawk, Lier & Meeus, 2014; Tilburg, Unterberg & Vingerhoets, 2002). The vast majority of the nation's teachers are female and educational data indic ates that this trend will likely continue (Fast Facts, 2017). Consequently, the examination of gender differences in affective traits such as empathy is warranted. Previous research has demonstrated that gender may play a role in the formation of effectiv e teacher student relationships. In one study, female teachers had a greater impact on positive student outcomes and the establishment of affective teacher student relationships than their male counterparts (Roorda, Koomen, Spilt, & Oort, 2011). Moreover, some studies have identified that female teachers often demonstrate more sensitivity and empathic responses towards victims in instances of bullying and harassment than male teachers (Bauman, Rigby & Hoppa, 2008; Craig, Henderson & Murphy, 2000; Dui, 2013) . In addition, female teachers were more likely than male teachers to identify bullying as a problem and seek out interventions, as well as to perceive these behaviors to be concerning. (Dui, 2013). Empathy and Discipline Practices The ability of te achers to exhibit affective traits and form meaningful relationships with students is often impacted by their beliefs about children (Barr, 2011). As teachers' perceptions, beliefs, and experiences change over time, so do their decision making surrounding classroom management and disciplinary actions. Research focused on the varying views teachers hold in relation to children have revealed two commonly held and widely divergent beliefs. The first involves the belief that children are generally motivated an d eager to do well in the classroom,

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, ! ! ! while the second holds that the majority of children are to be distrusted and are unmotivated to do well academically (Rimm Kaufman et al., 2013). Teachers whose beliefs support the idea that children are generally wi lling and able to do well in the classroom have been shown to more often demonstrate affective personality traits such as empathy, respect, care and consideration. As such, these teachers are more likely to maintain positive teacher student relationships. (Cornelius White, 2007). With regards to problematic classroom behavior and discipline practices, research suggests that when teachers respond to situations less punitively and with more of a perspective taking and empathic approach, students tend to be m ore motivated to follow the rules (Okonofua et al., 2016) . Moreover, when teachers spend time listening, respecting, and validating students' perspectives, as opposed to responding to misbehavior with punishment, they are more often able to curb the disrup tive behavior and avoid alienating students (Okonofua et al., 2016). R e s earch indicates that teachers' disciplinary strategies can significantly influence student behavior (Lewis, Romi, Qui, & Katz , 2005). Sp e c ifically, t hese strategies ca n influence learner responsibility, student misbehavior, teacher stress, and teacher/learner relationships (Roache & Lewis, 2011). Overwhelmingly, research has indicated that the quality of teacher student relationships which is associated with teacher capacity for empathy can significantly impact pro social classroom behaviors. The primary aim of t his research study was to examine the association of rates of disciplinary office referrals and level of empathy in elementary school teachers. The study also sought t o determine if this relationship was moderated by gender and/or years of experience as a teacher.

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! ! ! CHAPTER III METHOD Participants A convenience sample was used for this study. This study included 62 female and 6 male respondents, who taught varying subjects to students in first to fifth grades from three elementary schools in the small suburban school district in the western United States . At the time of this study, the school district served approximately 6,000 students in eight t raditional schools and two charter schools . The vast majority (79.5%) of students in the district are Caucasian. There were a total of 68 respondents who participated in this survey: 6 2 were female and 6 were male. Of the 68 participants, 22% ( n =15) had 0 5 years of experience, 22% ( n =15) had 5 10 years of experience, 14.7% ( n =10) had 10 15 years of experience, 22% ( n =15) had 15 20 years of experience, 11.7% ( n =8) had 20 25 years of experience, 2.9% ( n =2) had 25 30 years of experience, and 4.4% ( n =3) had more than 30 years of teaching experience. Measures Empathy survey. The empathy survey used in this research consist ed of 15 questions with a 4 point Likert scale response option ranging from, "Describes me extremely well" to "Does not describe me ." The survey was developed in 2015 at the University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning and sought to identity the ways in which the trait of empathy wa s identified and understood, as well as how that understanding was communicated to others (Erickson, S ou k up, N oo nan, & McG ur n, 2016). Total scores on the empathy scale can range from 15 to 60 with higher scores corresponding to higher levels of empathy. While some of the wording was changed on the survey for the present study , specifically the words "peop le" and "friends" were changed to "students" , the content validity of the measure remains intact.

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. ! ! ! Additionally, the survey included demographic items including gender and years of experience teaching. Disciplinary referrals. Disciplinary office referral da ta was collected independently by each school and stored in the Infinite Campus portal and was only accessible with a secure login and password granted by the school district. The disciplinary office referral data consists of date and nature of referral an d demographic data such as, age, gender, and grade. These data were de identified prior to the analyses to protect student privacy. Procedure The teachers who participated in the study were emailed an informed consent form and a link to the empathy su rvey via e mail. The survey was administered online through the Qualtrics survey plat form. Online administration was the chosen metho d for this survey as it provided a fast, efficient, and convenient option for both respondent and researcher in completing the survey and data collection. Subsequent to receiving permission from the school district, office disciplinary data for the academic year 2016 17 was accessed thro ugh the Infinite Campus portal. Student referral data were then matched to their respective classroom teachers. Subsequently, participants were assigned an ID number and identifying information was removed to protect participant privacy. Analyses A mul tiple regression analysis was conducted to determine if empathy scores, teacher gender, and/or years of teaching experience predicted number of disciplinary referrals. Additionally, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine if d isciplinary referrals and empathy scores differed by teacher demographics (gender and years of teaching experience).

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&/ ! ! CHAPTER IV RESULTS Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. A logistic regression was conducted to determine if the variables gen der, years of teaching experience, and total empathy scores predict n umber of disciplinary referrals. Assumptions of logistic regression were checked and met. None of the variables w ere statistically significant predictors of number of disciplinary referra ls , alone or in combination . Table 1 Ð Descriptive Statistics Variable Range Mean Standard Deviation Disciplinary Referrals Males 0 2 .67 1.03 Females 0 12 1.68 2.85 Total 0 12 1.59 2.76 Total Empathy Scale Score Males 34 43 39.67 3.07 Females 35 58 48.23 5.26 Total 34 58 47.47 5.65 A two way multivariate analysis of variance was run to examine differences in total empathy score s and the number of office disciplinary refer rals by gender and years of experience. Assumptions were checked and met. No statistically significant results for number of office referrals were observed. However, females had a significantly higher total empathy score s than males ( F( 1, 65)= 15.133, p< .001; partial n 2 = .189. Discussion The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between empathy as measured by an empathy survey and office disciplinary referrals of students by elementary school teachers .

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&& ! ! The study also sought to examine i f total empathy scale scores and number of office referrals differed by gender and years of teaching experience. None of the variables (gender, years of experience, or total empathy scores ) were significant ly related to number of office referrals. Although no significant differences were observed based on years of experience, a statistically significant difference between female and male participants' total empathy scores was observed. This finding is consistent with previous research (e.g., Ruther et al., 2008 ; Schulte Ru ther et al., 2008) indicating that women demonstrate a stronger ability inferring others' emotional states , decoding non verbal cues. Interestingly, study results revealed no statistically significant differences between total empathy sco res and disciplinary referral rates. This is a surprising result as research has shown there to be a strong relationship between highly empathic teachers and less punitive and restrictive discipline practices. (Okonofua et al., 2016) . Despite males in this study having significantly lower empathy scores than females, there was no significant relationship between males and the rates of disciplinary of referrals. These findings differ from p ast research indicat ing that male teachers may be less aware of instances where misbehavior had occurred or were less likely to believe that the potential student misbehavior rose to the need for a formal disciplinary referral (Dui, 2013). Potentially, the lack of a significant result could be related to the relatively small number of male participants in the study resulting in a lack of statistical power. Further, the male teachers in this study may have established other strategies to address misbehavior than with punishment in the form of disciplinary referrals (Okon ofua et al., 2016). This study found no statistically significant differences in disciplinary referral rates or total empathy score between years of teaching experience. This suggests that the number of years a teacher has been working in the professio n does not have an impact on the likelihood of a teacher making disciplinary referrals. A possible explanation for this lack of difference may be

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&' ! ! found in the personality traits of the respondents in this study, such as, high levels of self efficacy or an individual's belief about their ability to effectively perform and produce value in their work ( Klassen & Tze 2014). High levels of self efficacy in teachers has been shown to contribute to an increased ability to persevere through difficult classroom expe riences and work with student behaviors which can be challenging ( S kaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007). Additionally, high levels of self efficacy contribute to teachers believing they are able to address the needs of their students in the classroom, and as a resul t, are less likely to refer students for formal disciplinary referrals ( Pas, Bradshaw, Hershfeldt, & Leaf, 2010). In relation to empathy and years of teaching, these findings are in line with previous research which ha s suggested that empathy is a relativ ely consistent trait across the lifespan, with increases in perspective taking and empathic concern and decreases in personal distress in later life ( Hawk, Keijsers, Branje, Graaff, Wied & Meeus, 2013; Platsidou & Agaliotis, 2016 ). This suggests that teac hers, regardless of their years of teaching experience, do not see a reduction in their ability to engage in and demonstrate empathic behavior traits as they continue to work in the profession. Limitations The use of a con venience sampling method for the research study is a limitation and can allow for selection bias; as participants are not randomly selected, they are not representative of the entire population. Additionally, a convenience sampling method is not appropriate to be generalized to the great er population, and as such , the themes and conclusions from this study can only be considered in the context of the sample group and not the general population. The study's research design was also limited by the use of a self report measure as survey sty le measures are often criticized for their openness to bias and diminished validity (Coolican, 2017). Furth e r , each of the individual respondents worked in the field of education as teachers and as

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&( ! ! such, may be more aware of the definitions of empathy or identify themselves as empathic individuals as they are in a profession where empathy is often considered a fo undation of practice. An additional limitation relates to the reliance on the school district's collection of office disciplinary referrals. The accuracy of these data cannot be verified and the reliability of such data may be questionable (Wright & Dusek , 1998). Further, d ue to the scope and purpose of this study, it was not feasible to include additional school level or student level factors that may potentially act as covariates or risk factors. For example, the current study was conducted only with ele mentary school teachers and it did not account for potential differences in socio economic status of the student body across the participating schools, nor did it account for differences student demographics that might be related to discipline referral. Fo r example, there is ample evidence that students of color are disproportionately referred for disciplinary action at school (Krezmien, Leone, & Achilles, 2006; Wallace, Goodkind, Wallace, & Bachman, 2008) and there are differences based on student gender a nd developmental level as well (Kaufman et al., 2010). Lastly, a major limitation of this study is the small sample size, especially in relation to the number of male participants. The sample size and resulting lack of statistical power may have contribut ed to the lack of additional significant findings.

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&) ! ! CHAPTER V IMPLICATIONS AND FUT URE DIRECTIONS The study finding of a significant relationship between gender and level of empathy reinforces past research demonstrating a difference in how males and fem ales identify and demonstrate this trait. Although, there were no significant differences found between gender and disciplinary referral rates or years of teaching, these non significant findings can challenge previously held beliefs and lead to opportuni ties for further and more detailed research. Findings from this study may assist and stimulate further research on preexisting stereotypes and beliefs that individuals hold surrounding empathy, and discipline. Perhaps, these findings may contribute to th e discussion related to how teachers currently perceive student misbehavior and how those instances are addressed in the classroom in lieu of formal disciplinary referrals. Additionally, this study may contribute to the discussion surrounding how teachers of varying years of experience have demonstrated empathy and what strategies are used to reinforce empathic teaching practices. Future research is needed to further explore how both cognitive and affective empathy may be cultivated in teachers in both elementary and secondary schools. It would be beneficial for future studies to assess how teachers maintain an empathic teaching approach throughout their careers, particularly when working with student misbehavior that can be challenging and fatiguing. Additionally, it would be beneficial to gain a more thorough understanding of alternative approaches to addressing student misbehavior to reduce the use of formal discipline referrals.

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&* ! ! REFERENCES ! Baker, J. A., Grant, S., & Morlock, L. (2008). The teacher student relationship as a developmental context for children with internalizing or externalizing behavior problems. School Psychology Quarterly, 23 (1), 3 15. doi:10.1037/1045 3830.23.1.3 Baron Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004). The Empathy Qu otient: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism, and Normal Sex Differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34 (2), 163 175. doi:10.1023/b:jadd.0000022607.19833.00 Barr, J. J. (2011). The relationship bet ween teachers' empathy and perceptions of school culture. Educational Studies , 37 (3), 365 Ð 369. doi:10.1080/03055698.2010.506342 Bauman, S., Rigby, K., & Hoppa, K. (2008). US teachers and school counsellors strategies for handling school bullying incidents. Educational Psychology, 28 (7), 837 856. doi:10.1080/01443410802379085 Birch, S. H., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). The teacher child relationship and childrens early school adjustment. Journal of School Psychology, 35 (1), 61 79. doi:10.1016/s0022 4405(96)00029 5 B lum, R. (2004) School Connectedness Improving Students' Lives . Available at: http://cecp.air.org/download/MCMonographFINAL.pdf (Accessed: 2016). Ceylan, R. (2009). An Examination of the Relationship Between Teachers Professional Self Esteem and Empathic Sk ills. Social Behavior and Personality: A n I nternational J ournal, 37 (5), 679 682. doi:10.2224/sbp.2009.37.5.679 Christov Moore, L., Simpson, E. A., CoudŽ, G., Grigaityte, K., Iacoboni, M., & Ferrari, P. F. (2014). Empathy: Gender effects in brain and behavior. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews , 46 , 604 Ð 627. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.09.001 Coolican, H. (2017). Research methods and statistics in psychology . New York, NY: Psychology Pres s. Cornelius White, J. (2007). Learner Centered Teacher Student Relationships Are Effective: A Meta Analysis. Review o f Educational Research , 77 (1), 113 143. http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/00346543029856 3 Cox, C. L., Uddin, L. Q., Martino, A. D., Castellanos, F. X., Milham, M. P., & Kelly, C. (2011). The balance between feeling and knowing: affective and cognitive empathy are reflected in the brains intrinsic functional dynamics. Social Cognitive and Affe ctive Neuroscience, 7 (6), 727 737. doi:10.1093/scan/nsr051

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&+ ! ! Craig, W. M., Henderson, K., & Murphy, J. G. (2000). Prospective Teachers Attitudes toward Bullying and Victimization. School Psychology International, 21 (1), 5 21. doi:10.1177/0143034300211001 Dav is, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44 (1), 113 126. doi:10.1037//0022 3514.44.1.113 Decety, J., & Jackson, P. (2006). A Social Neuroscience P erspective on Empathy. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15 (2), 54 58. Duy, B. (2013). Teachers Attitudes Toward Different Types of Bullying and Victimization in Turkey. Psychology i n The Schools , 50 (10), 987 1002. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pits.21729 Erickson, G., Soukup, A., Noonan, J., & McGurn L, P. (2016). Empathy Survey . Retrieved from 150. Fall, A., & Roberts, G. (2012). High school dropouts: Interactions between social context, self pe rceptions, school engagement, and student dropout. Journal of Adolescence, 35 (4), 787 798. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.11.004 Fast Facts . (2017). Nces.ed.gov . Retrieved 2 June 2017, from ht tps://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28 Graaff, J. V., Branje, S., Wied, M. D., Hawk, S., Lier, P. V., & Meeus, W. (2014). Perspective taking and empathic concern in adolescence: Gender differences in developmental changes. Developmental Psychology, 50 (3), 881 888. doi:10.1037/a0034325 Hawk, S. T., Keijsers, L., Branje, S. J., Graaff, J. V., Wied, M. D., & Meeus, W. (2013). Examining the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) Among Early and Late Adolescents and Their Mothers. Journal of Personality Ass essment, 95 (1), 96 106. doi:10.1080/00223891.2012.696080 Hughes, J. N., & Cavell, T. A. (1999). Influence of the teacher student relationship in childhood conduct problems: A prospective study. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 28 (2), 173 184. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp2802_5 Kaufman, J. S., Jaser, S. S., Vaughan, E. L., Reynolds, J. S., Di Donato, J., Bernard, S. N., & Hernandez Brereton, M. (2010). Patterns in Office Referral Data by Grade, Race/Ethnicity and Gender. Journal of Positive Behavio r Interventions , 12 (1), 44 Ð 54. http://doi.org/10.1177/1098300708329710 Klassen, R. M., & Tze, V. M. (2014). Teachers' self efficacy, personality, and teaching effectiveness: A meta analysis. Education al Research Review, 12 , 59 76. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2014.06.001

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&, ! ! Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships Matter: Linking Teacher Support to Student Engagement and Achievement. Journal of School Health, 74 (7), 262 273. doi:10.1111/j.1746 1561.200 4.tb08283.x Krezmien, M. P., Leone, P. E., & Achilles, G. M. (2006). Suspension, race, and disability: Analysis of statewide practices and reporting. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14 , 217 Ð 226. Lewis, R., Romi, S., Qui, X. and Katz, Y.J. (2005). Teachers' classroom discipline and student misbehaviour in Australia, China and Israel, Teaching and Teacher Education, 21 , 729 741 Maibom, H. L. (2009). Feeling for Others: Empathy, Sympathy, and Moralit y1. Inquiry, 52 (5), 483 499. doi:10.1080/00201740903302626 McAllister, G., & Irvine, J. (2002). The Role of Empathy in Teaching Culturally Diverse Students: A Qualitative Study of Teachers' Beliefs. Journal o f Teacher Education , 53 (5), 433 443. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/002248702237397 Okonofua, J., Paunesku, D., & Walton, G. (2016). Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents. Proceedings o f The National Academy o f Sciences , 113 (19), 5221 5226. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523698113 Parsons, S. A., Nuland, L. R., & Parsons, A. W. (2014). The ABCs of Student Engagement. Phi Delta Ka ppan, 95 (8), 23 27. doi:10.1177/003172171409500806 Pas, E. T., Bradshaw, C. P., Hershfeldt, P. A., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). A multilevel exploration of the influence of teacher efficacy and burnout on response to student problem behavior and school based serv ice use. School Psychology Quarterly, 25 (1), 13 27. doi:10.1037/a0018576 Platsidou, M., & Agaliotis, I. (2016). Does Empathy Predict Instructional Assignment Related Stress? A Study in Special and General Education Teachers. International Journal of Disabi lity, Development and Education, 64 (1), 57 75. doi:10.1080/1034912x.2016.1174191 Preston, S. D., & Waal, F. B. (2001). Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25 (01). doi:10.1017/s0140525x02000018 Rimm Kaufman, S., Storm, M., Sawyer, B., Pianta, R., & LaParo, K. (2006). The Teacher Belief Q Sort: A measure of teachers' priorities in relation to disciplinary practices, teaching practices, and beliefs about children. Journal o f School Psychology , 44 (2), 141 165. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2006.01.003 Roache, J. E., and Lewis, R. (2011). The carrot, the stick, or the relationship: what are the effective disciplinary strategies?, European Journal of Teacher Educati on, 34 (2), 233 Ð 248.

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&! ! Roorda, D., Koomen, H., Spilt, J., & Oort, F. (2011). The Influence of Affective Teacher Student Relationships on Students' School Engagement and Achievement: A Meta Analytic Approach. Review o f Educational Research . http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0034654311421793 Schulte RŸther, M., Markowitsch, H. J., Shah, N. J., Fink, G. R., & Piefke, M. (2008). Gender differences in brain networks supporting empathy. NeuroImage , 42 (1), 393 Ð 403. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.04.180 Shamay Tsoory, S. G. (2010). The Neural Bases for Empathy. The Neuroscientist, 17 (1), 18 24. doi:10.1177/1073858410379268 Shamay Tsoory, S. G., Aharon Peretz, J., & Perry, D. (2009). Two systems for empathy: a double dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in inferior frontal gyrus versus ventromedial prefrontal lesions. Brain, 132 (3), 617 627. doi:10.1093/brain/awn279 Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2007). Dimensions of teacher self efficacy and r elations with strain factors, perceived collective teacher efficacy, and teacher burnout. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99 (3), 611 625. doi:10.1037/0022 0663.99.3.611 Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaf fection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology, 100 (4), 765 781. doi:10.1037/a0012840 Stojiljkovi!, S., Djigi!, G., & Zlatkovi!, B. (2012). Empathy and teachers' roles. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sc iences , 69 , 960 Ð 966. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.021 Tilburg, M. A., Unterberg, M. L., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2002). Crying during adolescence: The role of gender, menarche, and empathy. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20 (1), 77 87. doi:10.134 8/026151002166334 Waal, F. B. (2008). Putting the Altruism Back into Altruism: The Evolution of Empathy. Annual Review of Psychology, 59 (1), 279 300. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093625 Wallace, J. M., Jr., Goodkind, S., Wallace, C. M., & Bachman, J . G. (2008). Racial, ethnic, and gender differences in school discipline Downloaded from http://er.aera.net by on February 12, 2010 68 educational Researcher among U.S. high school students: 1991 Ð 2005. Negro Educational Review, 59 , 47 Ð 62. Wentzel, K. R. (1 998). Social relationships and motivation in middle school: The role of parents, teachers, and peers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90 (2), 202 209. doi:10.1037//0022 0663.90.2.202 Wright, J. A,, & Dusek, J. B. (1998). Compiling school base rates for d isruptive behaviors from student disciplinary referral data. School Psychology Review, 27 , 138 Ð 148 .

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&. ! ! A PPENDIX A Survey Consent Form ! !"#$$%&'!("#$%$)(&*+,-.-.)&'+$)+,/ & "#$%&'($)*!+,!-+.+'/0+!0&#%&' ! 0&#%&'1!-+.+'/0+!23435!67378!99: ; 57<4 ! !!!!! "#$%&$'!'#!()*'+,+-)'&!+$!.&%&)*,/ ! Introduction and Purpose My name is Elizabeth Leggiadro. I am a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Denver in the School Psychology program, and currently, the school psychologist intern in the Weld Re 4 school district. I would like to invite you to take part in my research study, which concerns how much the trait of empathy in teachers impacts disciplinary referral rates in schools. Procedures If you agree to participate in my research, I will ask you to complete the attached online survey/ questionnaire. The survey will involve questions surrounding the degree to which you identify feelings of empathy in a given situation or with others, and s pecifically with your students. This survey should take about 5 10 minutes to complete. Once the survey has been completed, I will link survey responses to the district's office referral data. All data will be de identified and entered into a spreadshee t prior to analyses. I will then look to determine by way of an Analysis of Covariance how the trait of empathy impacts disciplinary rates when controlling for teacher referral rates. Benefits/Risks You may not directly benefit from this research; how ever, I hope that your participation in the study may increase society's understanding of how the trait of empathy relates to school discipline practices, and problematic classroom behaviors. I believe there are no foreseeable risks associated with this r esearch study; however, as with any online related activity the risk of a breach of confidentiality is always possible. Confidentiality To the best of my ability your answers in this study will remain confidential. I will minimize any risks by storing d ata in a secured facility to safe guard confidentiality. I am currently working in this school district as an intern and am very familiar with district protocol. I will take great care to follow such protocol to protect the confidentiality of all partici pa nts. Rights Participation in research is completely voluntary . You may choose not to take the survey, to stop responding at any time, or to skip any questions that you do not want to answer. You must be at least 18 years of age, and speak English to participate in this study. Your completion of the survey serves as your voluntary agreement to participate in this research project and your certification that you are 18 or older. In order to complete the questionnaire, please click on this link https://ucdenver.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6PxuVKgq9lUz2HH or copy and paste it to your browser. Questions If you have any questions about this research, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at Elizabeth.Leggiadro@ucdenver.edu . My faculty advisor, Dr. Franci Crepeau Hobson can be reached at franci.crepeau hobson@ucdenver.edu Thank you for your time and co nsideration in this matter. Sincerely, Elizabeth Leggiadro

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'/ ! ! APPENDIX B Survey Instrument Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary. Best efforts will be made to maintain the security and confidentiality of the information collected. Risks exist when information is collected online and can be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or be incomplete. If you choose to share any health related or other information, including sensitive student or employee data, meas ures have been put in place to ensure confidentiality and minimize risks. If the information you provide requires a response, your identity will be verified before discussion of any potentially sensitive information, specifically including your health rela ted information. By continuing with this survey, you understand and accept these risks associated with disclosure of your information. Please CHECK ONE response that best describes you. 1. ! Name: 2. ! By the end of this school year, how many years in total will yo u have been teaching? Please round to the nearest whole number. 3. ! What is your gender? Q1: I try to see things from the student's point of view. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q2: When I don't understand a student's point of view, I ask questions to learn more. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q3: When I disagree with a student, It's hard for me to understand their perspective. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q4:I consider a student's circumstances when I'm talking about th em. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me

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'& ! ! Q5: I try to imagine how I would feel in the student's situation. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q6:When a student is upset, I try to remember a time when I felt the same way. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slight ly well Does not describe me Q7:When I'm reading a book or watching a movie, I think about how I would react if I was one of the characters. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does no t describe me Q8: Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to be in my student's situation. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q9: When a student is upset, I try to show them that I understand how they feel. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q10: I say things like " I can see why you feel that way." Describes me extre mely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q11:I've been known to say "You are wrong" when a student is sharing their opinion. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well

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'' ! ! Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q12:When a student is sad, my actions let them know I understand (like a hug or pat on the back). Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q13:I say things like "Something like that happened to me once, I understand how you feel." Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q14:I've told my students things like, "You shouldn't be upset about that" or "Stop feeling that way." Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Q15: When I know one of my students is upset, I try to talk to them about it. Describes me extremely well Describes me very well Describes me moderately well Describes me slightly well Does not describe me Questionnaire adapted from: Gaumer Erickson, A.S., Soukup, J.H., Noon an, P.M., & McGurn, L (2016). Empathy Questionnaire. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning.

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'( ! ! APPENDIX C Data Code Book Gender Number of Years Teaching Empathy Questionnaire Responses Male = 0 0 5= 0 Describes me extremely well= 4 Female = 1 5 10= 1 Describes me very well=3 10 15= 2 Describes me moderately well=2 15 20= 3 Describes me slightly well= 1 20 25= 4 Does not describe me= 0 30 35= 5 30+= 6 Questions 3, 11, & 14 coded in reverse !