Primary and secondary school teachers' perceptions and actions regarding their pupils' emotional lives

Moshe Tatar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


To investigate teachers' perceptions and actions regarding the psychological and counselling needs of their pupils, we collected data from 258 teachers in primary and secondary schools. The teachers' reports revealed significant differences between teachers in the two educational settings, in almost all the issues investigated. Secondary school pupils were described as more troubled by various issues and more in need of individual counselling in school than their primary school counterparts. Secondary school teachers are approached mainly with issues associated with school lives, whereas primary school pupils request more help on personal and family matters. Secondary school teachers report having less time, perceiving their involvement with their pupils' emotional life as less central to their task, and believing that their own attitudes and characteristics influence their relations with their pupils. Primary school teachers, presumably being part of a school organizational culture that legitimizes greater involvement with pupils, nurture their relationships with their pupils and make it easier for pupils to approach them, making greater use of classroom activities and specific methods intended for this purpose. While some of these findings could be explained in terms of the developmental differences between primary and secondary school pupils, it is suggested that the differential impact of the environment in the two types of schools affects teachers' roles and intentions in dealing with their pupils' emotional lives and needs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)151-168
Number of pages18
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1998


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