Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Padro


There is a range of information on effective teaching of disadvantaged students, with educators supporting either the home or school, as the variable with the greatest impact. What are the opinions of classroom teachers on this topic?

In this exploratory study, Group 1 teachers included all those who ranked the impact (on their ability to effectively teach disadvantaged students), of the home variables: parental involvement, dialects of English, socioeconomic status as 3, 4. and 5 and the school variables: teaching methodology and teacher expectations, as 1 and 2. All others were in Group 0. Scores of these two groups of teachers on 30 questions were compared. Points were awarded for awareness of information that confirms school variables as having greatest impact. Teachers who scored high on the questions tended to rank school variables as having greatest impact, thus indicating a possible link between awareness and ranking. A random sample of 251 teachers at inner city schools in Metropolitan Toronto completed and returned the questionnaires.

Teachers generally agreed that socioeconomic status had the least impact on their teaching of disadvantaged students. Yet one home factor, parental involvement, was ranked as having greater impact than the school variables by 38% of the teachers. Less parental involvement and the use of nonstandard dialects of English, are the visible signs of membership in the lower class. It is argued that by ranking parental involvement as first or second in impact, teachers were in effect expecting poor students’ parents to behave like middle class parents. Teachers’ answers revealed disagreement and confusion. Most teachers who had taken a university course on parental involvement ranked it as a 1 or 2.

The majority of teachers reported that the information they obtained during their teacher training, on the five home/school variables was inadequate in helping them effectively teach disadvantaged students. The proposed conceptual framework linked the emphasis on parental involvement over the last 30 years to desegregation and immigration in North America and Britain. It is recommended that teachers be provided with information that emphasizes the importance of school variables.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access