Adding color to conflict

disruptive students' drawings of themselves with their teachers

Kevin Francis McGrath, Penny Van Bergen, Naomi Sweller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Building on work examining teachers’ perceptions of the student-teacher relationship, this study investigated how young students draw themselves with their teachers. Fourteen kindergarten and first-grade teachers each nominated 2 disruptive and 2 well-behaved students. Students then completed 1 drawing of themselves with their classroom teacher and 1 with a support teacher (e.g., librarian, art teacher) at 2 time points: the end of the school year (Phase 1) and the beginning of the next year (Phase 2). In coding for 8 markers of relationship quality—vitality/creativity, pride/happiness, vulnerability, emotional distance, tension/anger, role reversal, bizarreness/dissociation, and global pathology—we found no differences in the way that disruptive and well behaved students depicted their own relationships with teachers. Gender and phase effects were identified, however, with boys depicting greater relational negativity than girls and all students portraying greater emotional distance at the beginning of the school year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-663
Number of pages22
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 by University of Chicago Press. Originally published in Elementary School Journal , 117(4), pp. 642-663.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Adding color to conflict: disruptive students' drawings of themselves with their teachers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this