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This study examined how teacher educators’ perceptions of their undergraduate students’ classroom agenda influenced subsequent expectations for trainee performance,1 more particularly, how those perceptions shape the ways in which instructional demands are defined, communicated, and enforced or relented over the span of an undergraduate course. Three teacher educators teaching two courses were studied along with a group of students who were enrolled in both courses. Data collection consisted of nonparticipant observation, interviews, and document analysis. The results indicate that the teacher educators developed perceptions of student agendas that in some regards were closely similar but in other ways were sharply divergent. Further, each instructor developed a perception of her students’ classroom agenda that was somewhat congruent with her own intentions for the class and her own standards for student intentions and actions. Accordingly, expectations for trainees’ classroom performance were communicated in ways that reflected the degree of congruence between perception of students’ agenda and the instructors’ own definition of desirable student characteristics.
Kim C. Graber currently is with the Department of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.