Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Home Economics

First Advisor

Edna Page Anderson


Support for the hypothesis that conceptual systems may be used to predict various teaching behaviors has been established by several researchers (Harvey, 1970; Harvey, et al ., 1966; Murphy and Brown, 1970; Pryor, 1975). Harvey, et al. (1966) recorded and assessed actual classroom teaching behavior of thirty Head Start teachers varying in conceptual level to determine the effects of the teachers' conceptual level on the classroom climate created for their pupils. High, medium, and low conceptual level teachers were rated on twenty-six behavioral dimensions including expression of warmth towards children, enjoyment of teaching, perceptiveness of children’s needs, smoothness of class operation, consistency of rule enforcement, use of unexplained rules, and punitiveness. Data showed that high conceptual level teachers maintained a more relaxed relationship with the children, encouraged greater creativity and freedom of expression, had fewer rules, and were less structured in determining classroom and playground procedures. Only in four of the dimensions, enlistment of child participation, teaching new concepts, smoothness of operations and consistency of rule enforcement, were no differences found. Helsel and Willower postulate that “ideology may or may not be reflected in behavior.” Daily pressures of teaching along with conflicting needs within may cause teachers to act in ways inconsistent with their beliefs. Therefore, caution must be taken in generalizing that because conceptual level predicts teaching behaviors, including some disciplinary actions, it will also reflect a teacher’s discipline ideology. Harvey, et al. have emphasized that a person will not necessarily reach the same conceptual level in all cognitive area. For the possibility to exist that an individual will attain the same conceptual level in different areas of development, the two areas must engage similar concepts, be closely related in terms of stimulus similarity, and receive similar training. These remarks provide impetus for seeking additional clarification of the relationship existing between the conceptual system and discipline ideology. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the home economics teacher's conceptual systems level relates to and is predictive of his/her self-perceived ideology on discipline and student freedom. In general, the researcher believes that the lower the conceptual level, the more custodial the teacher will be in viewing discipline.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Home economics teachers -- Attitudes
School discipline -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University