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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pre-service teachers' implicit theories about achievement in students with anxiety and related use of classroom-based strategies Taylor, Carolyn


Students who have anxiety are at an increased risk of experiencing a myriad of academic difficulties, which can be mitigated with appropriate supports from their teachers. Research is presently lacking on the ways that teachers respond to the academic needs of students who struggle with anxiety. It is important to also understand the beliefs teachers hold about whether it is possible for these students’ academic performance to improve. The purpose of this study was to understand the implicit theories that pre-service teachers hold about academic abilities for students with anxiety, as well as the way pre-service teachers choose to respond to these difficulties in the classroom. Pre-service teachers represent a particularly important population when considering implications for the development of teacher training programs that will prepare teachers who have a strong sense of efficacy in their ability to effect change in their students. The present study utilized a repeated measures survey design in order to address a number of research questions focused around pre-service teachers’ implicit theories and related responses in the classroom. Results showed a general trend of more incremental theories (students can change with intervention) across all student types. Pre-service teachers in the present study were also likely to implement supports for all types of students presented, with the strongest likelihood indicated for students with anxiety. The specific types of supports that pre-service teacher were willing to implement varied among typical students, students with anxiety, and students with learning difficulties. Incremental theories of academic achievement appeared to be associated with stronger beliefs that supports could make a difference, and stronger likelihood to implement supports for students with anxiety specifically. The results are discussed in detail in relation to existing literature, along with implications for practice in the field of education and possibilities for future research.

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