Teacher Beliefs, Classroom Interaction and Personal Causation1


  • 1

    This paper is the result of two doctoral dissertations (Koenigs, Note 1; Spring, Note 2) that were conducted as part of a larger research project sponsored by NIMH (MH 22 127–01) on which the last author is principal investigator. (Subsequent to the dissertation, Martha Spring resumed using her maiden name for professional purposes only). Each dissertation is a major effort in its own right, deserving of a separate publication, in our view. Since, however, the two dissertations plus other evidence from the project represent a conceptual package, and in view of the publication explosion, it was felt that it should appear in one place. Koenigs and Fiedler should, as a result, both be considered senior authors; deCharms merely served to bring it together.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Richard deCharms, Graduate Institute of Education, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. 63130.


The study reports relationships between teachers' belief systems (Harvey), a teacher-pupil interaction measure of classroom influence, pupils' perception of the dimate of the dassroom, and pupils' academic achievement. Results demonstrate that more complex teachers encourage more pupil influence, and are perceived as having a more origin climate. In classrooms of high pupil influence and perceived origin climate, the pupils have higher academic achievement. These results are discussed in terms of the theory of personal causation and are cited as evidence for the value of the study of action sequences as related to verbal-utterances of the actors.