A qualitative case study on the nature of teachers' awareness of the impact of their words on students

Sharon Patenaude, Tennessee State University


This study examined the nature of teacher awareness with regard to how their own words impact students. This case study involved two elementary school teachers. Teacher interviews, classroom observations and communication artifacts were analyzed through discourse analysis and the constant comparative method. The discourse analysis was guided by the examples of analysis and recommendations of Huckins (2004), Rex and Schiller (2009) and Hanrahan (2004). A theory was generated by applying the constant comparative method proposed by Glaser and Strauss (1968). The theory generated by this study is that teachers who have not received teacher training in the subject of effective teacher discourse will have less confidence and fewer developed skills to employ effective teacher discourse strategies. Further, teachers who lack this teacher training may have learned effective teacher discourse intuitively or from others, but they will nonetheless lack the more comprehensive knowledge, skills and confidence a formal education can provide. The participating teachers in this study are aware that their discourse impacts their students. They are aware to the extent that they continually search for more effective teacher discourse to use in their classrooms. The teachers in this study were significantly influenced by their own teachers. Additionally, neither of the participating teachers learned their teacher discourse through pre-service or in-service teacher training, but on their own from other more experienced teachers, trial and error, teacher manuals, on-line sources and educational journals. Finally, the teachers in this study lacked confidence in their teacher discourse. Recommendations for further research included examining the nature of teacher discourse in large and urban schools, in male teachers and in middle and high schools as well as kindergarten and first grade.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Sharon Patenaude, "A qualitative case study on the nature of teachers' awareness of the impact of their words on students" (2011). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3487170.