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To answer the primary research question, To what extent and how do selected art teachers and students perceive and define caring behaviors in the art classroom? I relied on both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I conducted a survey as well as a phenomenological study. This combined approach allowed for triangulation of the resultant data. By increasing the number and kind of research instruments used, I enhanced the validity of the findings and my conclusions. Both methods helped me to answer the research question, and to identify teaching behaviors recognized as caring by students and art teachers. The data collected through these means allowed me to compare and contrast these perspectives, focusing attention on similarities and dissimilarities among the findings. The major portion of the data collection was qualitative, but I initiated my research with a survey. I used a cross-sectional survey, a type of survey that allows information to be collected at one point in time from a sample drawn from a predetermined population (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000). The surveys were administered to all of the Leon County, FL middle school art teachers and to the sixth grade students of one middle school art class from each school. I included all six middle schools in which art classes were offered. Two Leon County middle schools did not have an art program and were excluded from the study. I visited each school during the sixth grade art class meeting time and administered the surveys. In an effort to gather a broader range of perspectives than can be obtained in a case study, I decided to use self-administered surveys. This approach is most commonly used to survey school-aged children (Weisber, Krnosnick, & Bowen, 1989). This type of survey has a very high response rate and allows the researcher to obtain a large amount of information at one time. Administration of a short and easy survey is the most efficient way to obtain a large number of students opinions (Weisberg, Krosnick, Bowen, 1989). A survey administered by phone or through the mail would be much more difficult and the response rate much lower. Students may not be responsible enough yet to return a


mail survey or conduct a phone survey, and it would be much more difficult to obtain parental consent. Because the survey is conducted in the classroom with the teachers consent, students parents may be more likely to indicate trust and allow their children to complete the survey. Another advantage is that it allows the researcher to explain the study and to answer any questions that students may have about how to complete the questionnaire. This method also allows the researcher to ensure the directions and implementation of the survey are consistent in each setting. Further, when the researcher administers the survey, it eliminates the job of training and compensating others to do so (Fowler, 1988). The use of surveys helped facilitate the complex task of defining caring, as it changes in nature with different people and in different contexts (Noddings, 1992). Surveys offered a broad view of what students, in different settings, perceived as caring in middle school art classrooms, and allowed me to look at those views comparatively.

Rationale Middle school art students were chosen as the participants of my study because of their unique developmental characteristics. Most such students have reached the age of puberty, when the body is undergoing many physical and emotional changes, and as a result they face many developmental and intellectual challenges. Among these challenges is the development of an extreme sense of self-awareness and selfconsciousness. Adolescents experience heightened sensitivities, strong emotional reactions, and have a tendency to be focused on relationships and identity issues (Michael, 1964). These characteristics increase the need for caring, acceptance, sensitive guidance, and a sympathetic climate.

Survey Design The student survey questions (see appendix A) were constructed in a way that was easily understood by students in grade six and such that they may be interpreted with little confusion. A pilot study was conducted in a fifth grade class to ensure they understood the survey items and directions. As they had no difficulty understanding, I then was assured that the survey was ready for the sixth grade participants. 55

The survey was designed to be completed in a relatively short amount of time. It included graphics and no right or wrong answers, all of which helped to make it more enjoyable and to keep stress levels low (Dillman, 1941). The teachers surveys (see appendix B) were different from the students in the wording of the directions, but shared the same content. The content and questions for both surveys were derived from literature and studies reviewed concerning caring and its manifestations. I included teaching styles and behaviors that other researchers have reported as caring as well as the findings of an unpublished ethnographic study (Wheeler, 2001) to formulate the research questions. The survey questions were divided in terms of professional and personal caring behaviors. The specific questions concerning professional and personal caring behaviors were grouped around specific topics, with four questions per group. Grouping the questions according to topics decreased the respondents burden by allowing their thoughts to flow within a context (Frey, 1983). Asking more than one question related to a topic also allows the researcher to view the consistency of responses (Frey, 1983). The questions were divided according to professional and personal behaviors in order to reflect the division in the literature between student and teachers perspectives. Many studies have revealed consistent results: the students most heavily reported personal behaviors as caring while the teacher most often reported professional behaviors as exhibiting care (Campbell & Peart, 1999; Frymier & Houser, 2000; Perry & Quaglia, 1997; Wheeler, 2001). Perry and Quaglia (1997) administered caring statements to the participants of their study in order to determine how personal and professional care were perceived by students of different genders and age levels. The results indicated that students were more likely to see caring in terms of personal behaviors, but still recognized it in professional behaviors. Teachers were more likely to see care in professional terms. When this difference in perception is examined in light of Noddings (1984) explanation of completed care, there may be a gap. Teachers need to be aware of how students view caring, thus enabling them to exhibit it in a way in which students will be able to perceive it (Perry & Quaglia, 1997).


Campbell and Pearts (1999) study defined a caring relationship as involving professional behavior and academically educating students, as well as personal behavior that addresses students feelings, experiences, and reactions to the world. Frymier and Houser (2000) also held the perspective that effective, caring teaching happens when teacher communication is both professional and interpersonal. The respondents in my study were asked to rate the level of caring of those specific teachers behaviors, both personal and professional, using a Likert-type scale. This rating scale was intended to convey the respondents judgment about an individuals, in this case a teachers, behavior (Fraenkel, & Wallen, 2000). The choices ranged from one, the most caring, to four, the least caring. I also included a choice that indicated no response. This allowed the respondent to bypass any question of which he or she was unsure or unwilling to answer. I also included in each survey two open-ended questions that allowed teachers and students to list behaviors that they perceived as caring or non-caring, which may not have been addressed in the survey. The survey ended with questions obtaining demographic information that allowed me to consider variables such as age, gender, and ethnicity. I obtained general information concerning socio-economic status of students, such as the percentage of subsidized lunches, through public school records rather than including this as a survey question. This allowed me to consider these differences when analyzing the results of the surveys. Questions one through four of the survey prompted the respondents to rate examples of teachers professional behaviors that involve the provision of feedback. A teachers reflection of a students progress and success has been described as a valuable contribution to meaningful learning (Rogers & Renard, 1999). Positive feedback contributes to the establishment of a caring teacher and student relationship and may encourage future learning (Silvernail, 1979). Verbal praise and compliments constitute one form of positive feedback that has been described as important to the establishment of positive teacher and student relations (Burnett, 2000; Campbell & Peart, 1999; Silvernail, 1979). Written or symbolic rewards such as stars, smiley faces, and comments such as good job or well done also can reassure a student that his or her teacher looks upon them fondly. It is also important in establishing positive bonds between teachers and students, for the teacher to communicate information and directions in a clear way


that students can understand (Campbell & Peart, 1999, Silvernail, 1979). Finally, in providing feedback, it is important for teachers to communicate high but realistic expectations to students. This should be consistent across gender and race. For example, studies have shown that black students are not always expected or challenged to achieve in the same way as white students (Campbell & Peart, 1999). Believing in all students ability to achieve high standards and utilizing caring and responsive dialogue with all students may help more students feel good about how their teacher perceives them and in turn how they perceive themselves and their levels of achievement. Questions five through eight of the survey dealt with perceptions of discipline and classroom control, as these pertain to caring. Students may value these things if they are perceived as a sign that teachers care about them and want them to do well. Teachers, with their tendency to focus on professional behaviors, may regard their ability to maintain control in the classroom as a way of exhibiting care. (One art teacher, a participant in an earlier ethnographic study, held that keeping an orderly and controlled classroom was her strength as well as her primary way of demonstrating to her students that she cared about them and their learning (Wheeler, 2001). Students in the same study expressed a similar belief that keeping students in line and maintaining a controlled atmosphere meant that their teacher cared and helped them learn.) Including students in the process of establishing classroom rules is one way in which teachers can allow students to be part of planning and decision-making. This strategy gives students more of a stake in expectations of conduct. Noddings (1992) supported strategies that allow students to participate in such decision-making. She believed that this would develop more attitudinal respect and a cooperative, rather than competitive classroom environment. Survey questions nine through twelve concerned caring strategies for classroom instruction. A caring teacher will respect varying learning styles in the classroom and will be careful to see students individually and know the specific type of instruction that each child requires (Manen, 1986). Teachers should be informed that meeting students needs in learning and in caring is always an individual process. Teachers need to be flexible in their strategies for conveying knowledge in order to be effective in varying pedagogical situations (Ilatov, Shamai & Lazarovitz, 1998).


The literature revealed most teachers, of those interviewed, were committed to a wide repertoire of teaching strategies (Hargreaves, 1994). One teacher interviewed said, If I feel like theyre not getting it, if they are not understanding instruction one way, Ill try to figure out another way to get it across, so hopefully they would interpret that as caring (Wheeler, 2001, p. 8). A student also expressed that she felt cared about by teachers when they give you some information, explain it, then they give you more information and show you what to do. They ask you questions and if you dont get it they explain it more (Wheeler, 2001, p.11). Incorporating students interests into classroom instruction has been indicated as an important strategy for making affective pedagogical connections. Noddings (1992) recognized that as the interests of students and teachers diverge, a caring relation becomes more difficult. To avoid this divergence and to engage students more willingly in the learning many strategies have been suggested, including connecting material to students lives outside of the classroom and planning activities in which they have previously expressed interest (Rogers & Renard, 1999). Classroom dialogue is essential in creating an educational and caring community (Noddings, 1994). The topics included in conversation should depend on the interest and experience of both the teacher and the students. Sharing experiences facilitates the formation of caring relationships in which students respond to one another thoughtfully and extends the source of learning beyond the voice of the teacher. Many students more effectively learn and connect with their teacher when working one-on-one with them. From the perspective of students, the provision of extra and individual attention has been recognized as necessary for feeling positive pedagogical connections (Manen, 1986). When asked to explain an example of a teacher caring, one student replied, They just like talk to you individually (Wheeler, 2001, p.19). For another student individual attention meant she would get more into the learning. Another student responded, When they talk to us personally, they tell us that they really care. By taking you off to the side and saying things like you have a low grade but I think you can raise it up a little bit (Wheeler, 2001, p.20). This student also explained when a teacher really cares about you, you want to learn from them (Wheeler, 2001, p.20).


Survey questions thirteen through sixteen had to do with a teachers preparation and organization of students learning experiences. This type of professional behavior is often viewed by teachers as caring, but not as often perceived as such by students (Perry & Quaglia, 1997). During an interview with an art teacher, it was revealed that professional behaviors she called behind the scenes stuff were viewed as a major priority in exhibiting care for students (Wheeler, 2001). Tasks such as writing lessons, planning projects, ordering supplies, and having materials ready when students need them, were all described as part of her preparation and her exhibition of care. Another aspect of teacher preparation that has been acknowledged as being important to the pedagogical relationship is a teachers knowledge and competence in his or her subject area. For teachers to successfully facilitate learning they need to be experts in their area of content and know how to effectively deliver that content (Frymier & Houser, 2000). When asked if preparation, including knowledge of a subject, was a sign that teachers cared, one student replied, Mmm hmm, instead of like not being prepared and then you have to sit and wait in class for like ten minutes until they get ready. So when they are saying something you know theyre not just making it up so they can sound smart. They actually know what they are doing (Wheeler, 2001). This response was one of very few student responses that expressed teacher preparation or knowledge as an indication of their care. Students desire more from their teachers than knowledge or information. They want teachers to help them feel good about themselves (Frymier and Houser, 2000). What teachers say to their students often may accomplish this feat. Survey questions seventeen through twenty asked students to rate teachers verbal behaviors as more or less caring. Many researchers have held that students perceive as caring the simple act of a teacher remembering their name (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Quaglia, 1997). The use of humor has also been recognized as a teaching behavior that students perceive as caring (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Hargreaves 1984; Quaglia, 1997). Talking to students about life outside of the course content may also deliver the message that a teacher cares (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Wheeler, 2001). Manen (1999) suggested that greeting or sending students off with a meaningful comment are among the behaviors that let children know they are being recognized.


Children may also get the message they are being recognized through the nonverbal behaviors of their teachers. Questions twenty-two through twenty-five represented some of what the literature has supported as caring, non-verbal behaviors. Smiling, other facial expressions, eye-contact, moving around the classroom, high-fives and waving to students in the hall or outside of class are some of those behaviors that have been supported (Frymier & Houser, 2000; Manen, 1999; McCroskey & Teven, 1996). Some of these behaviors (i.e., eye-contact, gaze and body movements) may also let students know that the teacher is listening to them and interested in what they have to say. Listening sincerely and valuing students responses are among the behaviors that have been consistently acknowledged as caring (Quaglia, 1997). Responding to students feelings and emotions is another important way in which teachers acknowledge students and show that they are concerned with a childs academic and affective education. In order to build caring relationships with students, the affective dimensions of a students life must be addressed by the teacher (Campbell & Peart, 1999, p. 274). Survey questions twenty-five through twenty-eight represented examples of teachers empathetic behaviors that address the emotional development of their students. A specific example of nurturing a childs emotional development is the provision of opportunities for students to share concerns and problems with adults who respond in a helpful way (Fopiano & Haynes, 2001). This is important on both an individual and classroom basis. As emotions emerge in the classroom it is important that they are dealt with effectively (Larrivvee, 1999). This not only helps to validate students rights to express their feelings, but also helps them learn to do so in a responsible way (Larrivvee, 1999). Furthermore, when students safely can express their feelings, teachers are better able to offer the encouragement students need. When teachers are able to express their feelings from time to time, students may feel more comfortable doing so (Hargreaves, 1984). Students, like all humans, are not born with the knowledge of cooperation. Therefore to maintain a caring classroom in which students get along and cooperate with each other, these relational skills must be taught and encouraged. Survey questions twenty-nine through thirty-two represented teaching behaviors that encourage positive social relations. Charney and Kriete (2001) used the examples of gossip, notes rating


peers, teasing, and snickering to exemplify the kinds of potentially damaging issues that teachers should not ignore. Adult failure to intervene in social games and hierarchy, endorses childrens cruelty, exclusion, and indifference toward each other. These authors suggested that teachers can deal with negative behaviors with the creation of a classroom community in which everyone knows each other. Cooperative learning provides situations in which students and teachers can get to know each other, promotes both emotional and social learning, and provides opportunities to build community and social interaction skills (Dasho, Lewis and Watson, 2001). In this type of cooperative, rather than competitive environment, caring can be manifested (Noddings, 1992). Another teaching strategy that may promote social interaction and cooperative caring relations is the structural arrangement of the classroom. A seating style in which students face each other creates ample opportunity for students to engage in conversation and otherwise connect with one another (MacGregor, 1978). Finally, a cooperative and caring environment should be nonexclusive and accepting of the voices and experiences and ideas of all students regardless of differences including race, gender, and socioeconomic (Campbell & Peart, 1999; Larrivee, 1999; MacGregor, 1978). The teacher sets this example through modeling an encouraging and accepting attitude toward all his or her students. We do not tell our students how to care but rather we show them how to care by creating caring relations with them (Noddings, 1992). Survey questions thirty-three through thirty-five asked participants about their individual perceptions of a teachers demonstration of care and their opinions of its importance. These questions prompted the respondent to answer yes, no, or with no response. Though these questions were formatted differently than the previous questions, which utilize a Likert Scale, they inquired about issues and perspectives of caring that have previously been supported. Survey questions thirty-six through thirty eight were open-ended questions, that allowed the respondent to answer in the manner he or she chose (Seidman, 1997). This allowed respondents to cite behaviors or perceptions concerning care that may not have been covered in the previous survey questions. These responses added to my collection of qualitative data.


Questions thirty-nine through forty-two asked questions about perceptions of caring within the context of their art classroom. It has been shown students expressive activities are dependent on a supportive and caring environment (Parkhurst, 1950). These questions helped reveal whether the student respondents perceived their art classroom as such a place. These questions also helped guide in my selection of a caring art classroom in which to conduct the qualitative portion of my data collection. Finally questions forty-three and forty-four asked demographic information, specifically gender and ethnicity. The answers to these questions allowed the variables to be sorted and compared during the analysis of the collected survey responses.

Phenomenological Design From the classes that participated in the surveys, I selected one for conducting a qualitative study. For this selection process I used purposive sampling. This process allows researchers to rely on their previous knowledge of a population, the specific purpose of their study, and their personal judgment to select a sample (Fraenkel, & Wallen, 2000). From the information obtained in the surveys, I looked for a classroom in which caring was prevalent and recognized by teachers and students (though holding similar and dissimilar perspectives of caring). By entering into their classroom for an extended length of time, six weeks, I was able to obtain a deeper insight and understanding of these perspectives and what they meant for students emotional and intellectual development. The benefit of qualitative studies is that they allow the researcher to gain a more complete understanding of a particular situation and a deeper insight as to how subjects view the world (Patton, 1990). The particular type of qualitative research I utilized was phenomenological inquiry. This type of inquiry focuses on the question What is the structure and essence of experience of this phenomenon for these people? (Patton, 1990, p.69). Phenomenological inquiry helps the researcher holistically to understand human experience in context specific settings (Patton, 1990). The phenomenon in my study was the experience of caring in the context of a sixth grade middle school art classroom. Because the nature of caring is multidimensional, tacit, subtle, and changing, an extended observation is appropriate and


necessary for obtaining a rich and full understanding (Goldstein, & Lake, 2000). In order to find out about caring from the experiences of teachers and students, I conducted observations over the course of six weeks during which I observed the behavior of teachers and students, their reactions to and interactions with each other. I compared what I saw with what the literature has described as caring, what the surveys revealed, and then later with the information I obtained from students and teachers during interviews. I was the sole observer of teachers and students in the classroom. What was recorded from these observations necessarily only revealed a portion of what happened in the setting. What was observed was subjective and according to my own perspective and therefore may not be generalized (Fraenkel, & Wallen, 2000). However the value of the observations came through detailed and descriptive information that will allow other people and educators to understand the setting and what has occurred. The observations that I conducted were written and described extensively and as closely as possible to the way things actually happened to ensure they convey meaning. Field notes provide a written account of the researcher sees, hears, experiences, and thinks in the course of collecting and reflecting the data. They are the most important determinant of the subsequent building of a qualitative analysis (Patton, 1990). Field notes should contain everything the observer believes to be worth noting and should be written as soon as possible to avoid forgetting particular details and elements of the situation later. They should be descriptive and include dates, places, names, social interactions that occur, and activities that take place (Patton, 1990). This thick description will allow the researcher to return to the observation later and eventually will allow the findings to be conveyed to the reader. The reflective aspect of phenomenological field notes allows researchers to be up front about their feelings about what they are learning and to inform readers of their ideas and views as researchers. The observers feelings and reactions to the experience should be recorded (Patton, 1990). These reflections offer insight about the personal meaning and significance to the observer as to what has occurred and will be essential to the data. The purpose of a phenomenological study is to get close to the participants and to


experience what it is like to be in the setting. Therefore, it is essential to include information about what it is like for the observer (Patton, 1990). I conducted observations with both a prefigured and an emergent focus (Eisner, 1998). With a prefigured focus the researcher enters a classroom with a specific observational target (Eisner, 1998). I entered the classroom with the prefigured foci extracted from the survey. These foci or themes (that were included in the survey and that I focused upon) were: teachers professional behaviors involving the provision of feedback, classroom control and discipline, classroom instruction and teaching strategies, the preparation and organization of teachers, teachers verbal behaviors, teachers nonverbal behaviors, and teachers encouragement of positive social relations. Through a focus on the themes that have already been supported in the literature and again examined through the surveys, I was able to create a more thorough description of each of these themes. This process also allowed me to compare the themes in light of each method of inquiry. Eisner (1998) explained that often when there are prefigured foci, the emergence of the unanticipated can command special attention. Just as in the survey, I was open to the opportunity for caring perceptions to manifest themselves to me in a way that is emergent rather than prefigured. This allowed me to describe behaviors that fell outside of the prefigured foci, but were relevant in describing the students and or the teachers perceptions of caring. To gain a more in-depth and personal understanding of teachers and students perceptions of caring, I conducted interviews (see Appendix C). The interviews structurally were divided into three stages Anderson (2000) referred to as immersion and response, description, and interpretation (p. 84). The first stage, immersion, allows the respondents voice to be heard and allows the researcher to gain insights as to who the respondent is and what his or her perceptions are. The second stage, description, goes more into depth and helps the researcher confirm or discard the initial insights made. The final stage, interpretation, involves reflecting and finding meaning out of what was learned in the first stages (Anderson, 2000). Seidman (1998) described three stages of an interview that are similar to Andersons. I have discussed these stages to provide a further explanation of the interview structure to which I adhered.


The first stage involves getting to know the respondent and his or her experiences in light of the topic the interviewer is exploring. In this stage I asked questions that allowed respondents voices to be heard which in turn allowed me to gain insights into who he or she was and what their experiences with and perceptions of caring have been. In the second stage of the interview, students and teachers were asked to describe the details of their experiences from which their perspectives may have developed. In the third and final stage of the interview, respondents were asked to reflect on the meaning of their experiences (Seidman, 1998). While conducting the three stages of the in-depth interviews, I followed the following descriptive guidelines. I used primarily open-ended questions. An open-ended question allows the participant to take any direction he or she wants and does not presume an answer (Seidman, 1997). The participants answers should not be lead or manipulated, but shaped to their own accord. The researchers task is to build upon and explore the participants responses to questions and to keep the questions and conversation on the focus of the interview (Seidman, 1997). It is important that the researcher not interrupt the participants as they are talking and act interested as they share their experiences. Listening and expressing appreciation for each answer can encourage participants to elaborate on their experiences and offer their perspectives and understandings (Weisberg, Krosnick, & Bowen, 1989). We learn from what the participant shares about his experiences including the context, the details and the reflected meaning (Seidman, 1997). perspectives. The participation of the respondents should be voluntary and they must feel secure that opening up and sharing with the researcher will not bring them harm or otherwise be used against them. This trust and rapport must be established by the researcher. The researcher should be open with the participants about the topic of research and the way in which their answers will be utilized (Weisberg, Krosnick, & Bowen, 1989). These things ensure that the interview is pleasant and make it a mutually beneficial experience. It is important that interviews are conducted in this manner if the desire is to gain a true insight and understanding of the individuals


The interview questions that I asked addressed similar issues to those addressed in the surveys, but in greater depth. I asked teachers and students to define caring, and to describe and explain teachers behaviors and actions in which they perceived caring to be manifested. Through the dialogue I obtained descriptions and experiences of caring that afforded me a greater understanding of the way the participants viewed and perceived caring. I conducted several interviews with the art teacher throughout the six weeks I was in the field. By conducting several interviews I was able to obtain more information in shorter and less tiring interviews. I also recorded some of our informal conversation when I found it pertinent. I selected a sample of students for interviews. I planned to use a method called maximum variation for selecting those students. Maximum variation aims at capturing a great deal of participant variation (Patton, 1990). To utilize this strategy, through my observations I tried to determine and select those students who seemed to be very close with their teacher, those who seem to be more loosely connected, and those who appeared apathetic. However, I ended up interviewing all those students who provided parental consent, some of whom fit this selection strategy. There were common patterns that emerged from this variation of subjects that were of particular interest and offered a wide variety of perspectives from which to learn. The interviews were recorded on a hand held tape recorder. This kept both the participant and me from being distracted by note taking and allowed the conversation to flow more naturally. An audio recording of the interviews also allowed me to transcribe every word that the participant spoke including inflections, and therefore to retain and recall the dialogue verbatim. As Patton (1990) suggested, short notes were made immediately following the interview to elaborate and explain details from the context of the interview. The extensive field notes that were taken during observation complemented the interviews and further described the setting around which the interviews took place. The combination of field notes, personal impressions, and transcribed interviews provided a holistic picture of data accumulated during the course of the study. It supplied


me with adequate material for presenting the phenomenon in such a way that the experience can be understood by the reader.

Analysis In order to analyze the results of the initial survey data collection, I summarized the recorded responses for analysis. I entered the data into the statistical program for social sciences, SPSS. This program figured percentages, frequencies, and other descriptive statistics that helped describe the respondents perceptions of the survey items. This program also allowed me to compare variables such as school, gender, race, and socio-economic status. I created cross-tabulations to analyze the difference in proportions, to see if there were sizeable differences. For instance, I was able to find whether girls responded differently than boys to certain caring behaviors. I reported the total size of the sample and then the percentage of responses to the various ratings of each teaching behavior. I then reported the relationships and any major differences among variables. To analyze the content of the phenomenological study, observations and interviews, I conducted a content analysis. A content analysis is the process of identifying, coding, and categorizing the primary patterns in the data (Patton, 1990). To code the data, I first read carefully through my field notes and transcribed interviews. From those, I followed pre-figured themes, coinciding with survey indices, to organize and index the notes and interviews. I then used inductive analysis for coding the remainder of the data, which meant I looked for the emergence of unexpected categories and themes rather than themes imposed prior to analysis (Patton, 1990). Once the data were bracketed, they were organized into meaningful clusters. Irrelevant, repetitive, or overlapping data were eliminated. The content of each pre-figured and unexpected theme was then described. Finally, I developed a structural synthesis. In a structural synthesis, the researcher looks beneath the affect inherent in the experience to deeper meanings for the individual (Patton, 1990, p.409). This final process revealed the essence of caring in a selected middle school art classroom. The findings from all quantitative and qualitative methods used in this study are presented in the following chapter.