The association between class clown dimensions, school experiences and accomplishment
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AbstractNearly forty years ago, Damico and Purkey (1978) pioneered a study on class clowns that became a benchmark publication in the field. Utilizing sociometric assessment methods, they screened 3500 pupils, eventually selecting 96 class clowns that yielded 10 or more “class clown” nominations from peers. The class clowns were compared to a randomly selected sample of 237 non-clowns on the bases of teacher ratings, student self-esteem, and school-attitude measures. They report class clowns as being predominantly males, having lower positive attitudes toward teachers and the principal than non-clowns, and they saw themselves as leaders and as being vocal in expressing ideas and opinions to their classmates. Moreover, they were judged by their teachers to be higher than the non-clowns in asserting, unruliness, attention seeking, leadership, and cheerfulness, but lower in accomplishing. Thus, a new and coherent picture of the class clown was emerging; but little additional research took place, with no study replications. Before building upon these findings, and extending them, a few issues need highlighting. The first relates to the assessment of class clowns. Is there really only one type of class clowns or do more types exist? Is a “type” approach still appropriate, as psychology has moved to dimensional conceptualizations? In the Damico and Purkey (1978) study, there are gradual differences and a criterion of 10 nominations was rather an arbitrary set. So utilizing a dimensional approach to class clown behaviors is more appropriate. Another set of issues relate to the domains of measurements. Are teacher self-reports of accomplishing sufficient or should they be supplemented by the objective grades of the student, as well as the student’s own perspective and peer reports?
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
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