Teacher preference for consultant directiveness in consultation

Debra Sue Melnick, Fordham University


This study examined the variables of consultant level of directiveness, teacher self-efficacy, and the type of student discussed in consultation and how they related to teachers' perceptions of consultant effectiveness and their preferences for level of consultant directiveness. Participants included 162 elementary school teachers from suburban and small city school districts in the Northeast. Each teacher viewed two scripted, videotaped consultations, one depicting a more directive consultant and the other depicting a less directive consultant. Half the teachers were informed that the student discussed in the consultations was a regular education student and the other half were informed that he was classified as educationally handicapped. Teachers were asked to evaluate the consultant in each consultation, state their preference for one style or the other, and rate their own personal teaching efficacy. A three-way analysis of variance was performed on the consultant effectiveness data with the factors of teacher self-efficacy, student type, and consultant directiveness (repeated measure). Teachers with higher self-efficacy under regular and special education conditions and those with moderate self-efficacy under the regular education condition rated the more directive consultant higher than the less directive consultant. Trend tests across three levels of teacher self-efficacy revealed a positive relationship between teacher self-efficacy and consultant effectiveness ratings for the more directive consultant for both student types and a negative relationship between teacher self-efficacy and consultant evaluation ratings for the less directive consultant under the special education condition. Chi-square tests revealed that overall, teachers showed a significant preference for the more directive consultant. This effect was most evident with teachers demonstrating higher levels of teacher self-efficacy; however, the majority of teachers with lower self-efficacy preferred the less directive consultant. The results of this study indicate that teachers' ratings of consultant effectiveness and preference for consultants displaying more or less directiveness vary, according to teachers' levels of self-efficacy and whether the student being discussed is classified educationally handicapped. This suggests that level of consultant directiveness should be varied according to the style preferred by individual teachers in different situations.

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Elementary education|Special education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Melnick, Debra Sue, "Teacher preference for consultant directiveness in consultation" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9830595.