Origins and Pawns in the Classroom. Self-Report and Projective Assessments of Individual Differences in Children's Perceptions

Richard M. Ryan, Wendy S. Grolnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

481 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies examined the significance of children's perceptions of their classroom environment along autonomy versus external control dimensions. Study 1 related a self-report measure of the perceived classroom climate to other self-related constructs. In a sample of 140 elementary children, it was found that the more "origin" the children perceived in their classroom, the higher their perceived self worth, cognitive competence, internal control, and mastery motivation, and the lower their perceived control by unknown sources or powerful others. These relationships were primarily due to individual differences within classrooms rather than average classroom differences. Children also wrote projective stories about an ambiguous classroom scene. Ratings of these stories indicated that, within children's fantasy, origin-like behavior of students was associated with autonomy-oriented teachers and low aggression. Self-report and projective methods converged, particularly for children whose self-reported perceptions were extreme. In a second study (N = 578), relative contributions of classroom and individual difference effects were further examined. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of perceived autonomy and issues in assessment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-558
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1986

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