Power Distance in the Mathematics Classes: How does it affect communication and academic performance?

Erkol M., Arıkan S.

16. European Congress of Psychology, Moscow, Russia, 2 - 05 July 2019, pp.3-4

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Moscow
  • Country: Russia
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-4


Power Distance in the Mathematics Classes: How does it affect communication and academic performance?


Turkish culture is known to be a high power distance culture and this situation shapes the communication styles and interactions among the parties with different social statuses (Kabasakal, and Bodur, 2002). High power distance culture of Turkey also affects the interactions inside the classrooms and this situation has the potential to influence teachers’ communication styles, students’ motivation and academic performance.  One of the key problems in Turkish education system is the low motivation and performance of the students in mathematic courses. From this point of view we designed a study to understand the effects of power distance on teachers’ communication skills and students’ performances for math classes. Besides we wanted to control the interaction of teachers’ power distance and communication skills with mathematics self-efficacy of students as it was previously found that mathematics self-efficacy could be one of the indicators for performance of mathematics (Bandura, 1997; Pajares and Miller, 1995).  The data were gathered from the 8-grade students of nine state schools situated in Çankaya, Ankara. 795 students filled our surveys consisting 13-item power distance scale, Karagöz ve Kösterioğlu’s (2008) 25-item teachers’ communication skills scale, and  Usher and Pajares’ (2009) 24 –item Sources of Self Efficacy in Mathematics Scale. Students were also asked to write their first and second term math grades. We used the data of 449 students as there were no missing items in their surveys. The data were analyzed by Multiple and Hierarchical Regression analyses. The moderated regression analysis (Aiken and West, 1991) and Sobel tests were also used to analyze the data. The results showed that power distance predicted teachers’ communication skills. Moreover power distance and teachers’ communication skills were found to be explaining the variance in maths grades.  Although no interaction effect of self-efficacy in mathematics was found among these relations, self-efficacy was found to be a predictor for mathematics performance. The results showed that high power distance of the teachers is one of the factors hindering the effective communication in classrooms and this situation indirectly predisposes lower performances in maths exams.  Moreover our results once again showed the importance of students’ self-efficacy in mathematics.

Key Words: Power Distance, Teachers’ Communication Skills, Self-Efficacy in Mathematics, Academic Performance in Mathematics, Classroom interactions