Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

Linda Griffin

Second Advisor

Patt Dodds

Third Advisor

Dan Gerber

Subject Categories

Teacher Education and Professional Development


The purpose of this study was to explore: (a)how and to what extent teachers experience and express trust in relation to individual students and groups of students (b)how and to what extent teachers value and focus on specific attributes of trust over others and (c) how and to what extent the levels of teacher trust in students and the various attributes of trust impact the teachers’ behaviors and choices in the classroom. Data were collected from teacher interviews, teacher questionnaires, classroom and school artifacts, and descriptive field notes from observations. Data were analyzed using content analysis and open, axial, and selective coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Results indicated that participants valued specific attributes of trust over other attributes of trust. Participants were aware that individual students expressed different levels of one or more attributes of trust and made specific behavioral and pedagogical decisions for students who demonstrated very low levels or very high levels of specific attributes of trust. Results also indicated that participants valued particular attributes of trust because those attributes facilitated and reinforced other attributes of trust. One attribute of trust could be facilitated and reinforced by several other attributes of trust. Participants used pedagogical and behavioral means to attempt to increase students’ expression of particular attributes of trust. Results suggested that teachers who adjust the classroom environment and use several alternative teaching strategies may be making choices that increase students’ abilities to demonstrate attributes of trust. Teachers who use fewer teaching strategies and who do not adjust the environment adequately may be less able to increase the students’ abilities to demonstrate attributes of trust. A clear understanding of teacher-student trust may help teachers to chart the degree to which particular teaching methods and behavioral practices work or do not work to increase attributes of trust.