Date of Award

1-29-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

George Bieger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

DeAnna Laverick, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Susan Sibert, D.Ed.

Fourth Advisor

Anne Creany, D.Ed.

Abstract

Teacher empathy has been identified as an important factor in student achievement. Teacher preparatory programs recognize that empathy is a characteristic of a positive teacher disposition and necessary in developing teacher to student relationships. Programs acknowledge that empathy is important to the effectiveness of a teacher and are looking to incorporate empathy into teacher preparation. This qualitative study focused on exploring the correlation of a preservice teachers' self-reported level of empathy, observable empathy, and empathy evident through written reflection. The study participants included 23 preservice teachers enrolled or having completed a higher-level field experience in an early learning site. The three data sources were generated from a self-reported empathy survey, an observation of a videotaped lesson delivery of the participants, and their written lesson reflection based on the videotaped lesson. The triangulation of these data provided insights into the preservice teachers own understanding and awareness of their own level of empathy. The data gathered also suggests that empathy or lack of can be identified in preservice teachers. Possible interventions could apply to enhance a preservice teachers level of observable empathy, leading to more positive teacher to student relationships and student success.

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