Teachers’ Perceptions of High School Dropout and Their Role in Dropout Prevention: An Initial Investigation
Though students at-risk for school dropout appear to recognize the important contribution of teachers to students’ persistence to graduation, it is unclear if teachers are equally aware of their empowering influence. Gaining a better understanding of teachers’ beliefs about dropout is important to continued efforts to develop interventions that effectively support students to graduation. This article describes the results of a pilot study that surveyed 95 high school teachers from a Midwestern school district about their perceptions of school dropout, along with their perception of teachers’ role in supporting students’ school completion. Teachers perceptions of the causes of dropout tended to focus on factors outside of their control. Factors that support strong student-teacher relationships were more moderately rated as contributing to dropout. A quarter of the teachers reported that they had only limited influence on students’ decisions to stay in or dropout of school.
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