OSR Journal of Student Research


Teacher perceptions of their students have been shown to play a key role in how teachers design and implement curriculum (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996) as well as how ‘connected’ a student feels within the classroom (McNeeley, Nonnemaker, & Blum, 2002). In areas undergoing rapid changes in student demographics, measures may need to be taken to ensure teacher perceptions of their students are aligned with actual student attributes to maintain a high level of School Connectedness. The 100 Dinners Project, a mixed-methods study designed to reshape the perceptions of teachers to increase School Connectedness through application of the Conceptual Change Theory Protocol (CCTP) is presented. The CCTP aligns with Posner, Strike, Hewson, and Gertzog’s (1982) goal of creating four situations to create conditions necessary for conceptual change. Teacher participants, Team Members, underwent the CCTP through a series of meetings, attendance of dinner-home-visits, reflections, and interviews. The CCTP was successful in reshaping teacher perceptions of students through the critical situation of dinner-home-visits in which teachers were exposed to actual attributes or funds of knowledge, to form their perceptions of students rather than relying on extrinsic student behaviors. Recommendations for administrators include assessing School Climate often to measure barriers inhibiting and items which foster School Connectedness. If barriers are identified, use of the CCTP focused on the perceived barrier area, may assist in reshaping perceptions and increase School Connectedness for the benefit of students, families, and staff.