Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Teacher-student relationships--Iowa; Teenage girls--Iowa--Social life and customs; Teenage girls--Social networks--Iowa; Academic theses;


Within the classroom setting, 'fitting in' can be a very difficult matter for both students as well as teachers. A sense of community and respect for others, which prevails in the elementary grades, seems more subdued among middle-schoolers as competition and the struggle for independence becomes part of the hidden curriculum. Adolescent girls especially struggle to imitate what developmental psychologists suggest is necessary at this age: independence and disconnection from others. However, disconnection at this stage of development may partially account for the competition, disrespect of others, and loss of morality in and out of the classroom. Connected classroom teachers have the power to change all this.

This qualitative study utilized classroom observations, interviews with female teachers and adolescent girls in their classrooms, as well as the classroom teachers' anecdotal notes and e-mails to study how connected classroom teachers make a difference in adolescent girls' lives. The study focused on 5th and 6th grade girls who did not seem to fit in with their peer group. A constant comparative method of data analysis was used during the entire process.

Six themes emerged during the analysis of the data that related to the roles connected teachers play in the lives of adolescent girls. Implications identified barriers to connection in the classroom as well as ways to reconcile the connected learning environment. These implications are directed toward society, policy makers, colleges that prepare future teachers, school administrators, and classroom teachers.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Diane Depken


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (172 pages)



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