A qualitative study of secondary-school students’ perceptions of interpersonal teacher behaviour in Hong Kong

Atara Sivan*, Dennis W. K. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This qualitative study explored Hong Kong students’ views and reactive emotions towards interpersonal teacher behaviour in their classrooms. Fifteen focus-group interviews were conducted with 69 secondary-school students. Content analysis was performed to identify main themes. Cultural similarities and differences were identified in students’ perceptions compared with the original descriptors of the Model for Interpersonal Teacher Behaviour (MITB). While similarities lend support to the content validity of the items in the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) and its Chinese version (C-QTI), differences highlight cultural variations in perceptions of interpersonal teacher behaviour in the Hong Kong context. Students’ accounts indicated positive reactive emotions towards Friendly/Helpful, Understanding, and Leadership, negative emotions to Dissatisfied, Admonishing, and Uncertain, and mixed emotions towards Strict and Student Freedom and Responsibility behaviours. The study has contributed to the dearth of qualitative studies based on the MITB by providing a comprehensive picture of students’ perceptions of its eight types of behaviour and their reactive emotions towards the manifestation of these behaviours. Such a picture could enhance teachers’ reflection for professional development and improvement of their interpersonal behaviour in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305–324
Number of pages20
JournalLearning Environments Research
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Interpersonal teacher behaviour
  • Qualitative study students
  • Questionnaire on teacher interaction (QTI)


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