Attention fell into one of six categories. The first type of attention, rewards, refers to and prizes or privileges granted to the child in response to a desired behavior. The next type of attention, physical warmth, refers to any type of affectionate physical contact by the teacher, such as wiping away tears or patting on the back. The third type of attention, non-specific positive interactions, refers to any miscellaneous attention given to a student that does not neatly fit into the other categories, which includes encouragement and compliments among other types on interactions.
The fourth type of attention, praise, refers to when the teacher verbally points out when a student in engaged in a favorable behavior. The last type of attention, command, refers to any verbal interaction initiated by the teacher which directs the child’ s behavior in a certain way. Command does not include verbal interactions in the context of discipline. Child misbehavior was also observed and noted. Dobbs, Arnold, and Doctoroff found that teachers do treat boys and girls differently in regards to attention. They found that while there was no difference in the amount of physical warmth and praise that teachers gave to boys when compared to girls, there were differences in the other types of attention.
Teachers tended to command boys more than girls, while they also tended to reward and engage in non-specific positive interactions with girls more than boys. There may be some explanation for these findings. First, while boys received more commands from teachers, they were also observed to misbehave more often than girls. It was observed that teachers gave more commands to students who typically misbehaved, even when they were not misbehaving.
A possible explanation may be that the teacher is trying to prevent future misbehavior. If this is true, then behavior is in fact the mitigating factor in commands, and not gender. The difference noticed in the frequency of rewards given to boys in comparison to girls may also be contributed somewhat to misbehavior.
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