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Relationship Student And Ethic And Achievement

Improving students' relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students' academic and social development. Solely improving students' relationships with their teachers will not produce gains in achievement. However, those students who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflict in their relationships.

relationship student and ethic and achievement

Picture a student who feels a strong personal connection to her teacher, talks with her teacher frequently, and receives more constructive guidance and praise rather than just criticism from her teacher. The student is likely to trust her teacher more, show more engagement in learning, behave better in class and achieve at higher levels academically. Positive teacher-student relationships draw students into the process of learning and promote their desire to learn (assuming that the content material of the class is engaging, age-appropriate and well matched to the student's skills).

Teachers who foster positive relationships with their students create classroom environments more conducive to learning and meet students' developmental, emotional and academic needs. Here are some concrete examples of closeness between a teacher and a student:

Teachers who experience close relationships with students reported that their students were less likely to avoid school, appeared more self-directed, more cooperative and more engaged in learning (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Decker, Dona, & Christenson, 2007; Klem & Connell, 2004). Teachers who use more learner-centered practices (i.e., practices that show sensitivity to individual differences among students, include students in the decision-making, and acknowledge students' developmental, personal and relational needs) produced greater motivation in their students than those who used fewer of such practices (Daniels & Perry, 2003).

Students who attended math classrooms with higher emotional support reported increased engagement in mathematics learning. For instance, fifth graders said they were willing to exert more effort to understand the math lesson. They enjoyed thinking about and solving problems in math and were more willing to help peers learn new concepts (Rimm-Kaufman, Baroody, Larsen, Curby, & Abry, 2014). Among kindergarteners, students reported liking school more and experiencing less loneliness if they had a close relationship with their teachers. Further, kindergarteners with better teacher-student relationships showed better performance on measures of early academic skills (Birch & Ladd, 1997).

The quality of early teacher-student relationships has a long-lasting impact. Specifically, students who had more conflict with their teachers or showed more dependency toward their teachers in kindergarten also had lower academic achievement (as reflected in mathematics and language arts grades) and more behavioral problems (e.g., poorer work habits, more discipline problems) through the eighth grade. These findings were greater for boys than for girls (Hamre & Pianta, 2001). Further work indicates that kindergarten children with more closeness and less conflict with teachers developed better social skills as they approached the middle school years than kindergarten children with more conflictual relationships experiences in the past (Berry & O'Connor, 2009). A recent study examining student-teacher relationships throughout elementary school (first through fifth grade) found that teacher-student closeness linked to gains in reading achievement, while teacher-student conflict related to lower levels of reading achievement (McCormick & O'Connor, 2014).

Teachers who have negative relationships with a student show evidence of frustration, irritability and anger toward that student. Teachers might display their negativity through snide and sarcastic comments toward the student or describe the feeling that they are always struggling or in conflict with a particular student. Often, teachers will describe a specific student as "one who exhausts them" or "a student who leaves them feeling drained and burned out."

Negative teacher-student relationships can amplify when teachers show irritability and anger toward several or many of the students in the classroom. In these types of classrooms, teachers may find themselves resorting to yelling and harsh punitive control. Teacher-student communications may appear sarcastic or disrespectful. Student victimization or bullying may be common occurrences in such negative classrooms (Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2006).

Negative teacher-student relationships are stressful for both teachers and students (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009; Lisonbee, Mize, Payne, & Granger, 2008) and can be detrimental to students' academic and social-emotional development (McCormick & O'Connor, 2014; O'Connor, Collins, & Supplee, 2012).

Supportive teacher-student relationships are just as important to middle and high school students as they are to elementary students. Positive relationships encourage students' motivation and engagement in learning. Older students need to feel that their teachers respect their opinions and interests just as much as younger students do. Even in situations where adolescents do not appear to care about what teachers do or say, teacher actions and words do matter and may even have long term positive (or negative) consequences.

Attachment theory explains how students use their positive relationships with adults to organize their experiences (Bowlby 1969). Central to this theory is that students with close relationships with their teachers view their teacher as a "secure base" from which to explore the classroom environment. In practice, students with this "secure base" feel safe when making mistakes and feel more comfortable accepting the academic challenges necessary for learning. Strong teacher-student relationships can even act as a buffer against the potentially adverse effects that insecure parent-child attachment can have on students' academic achievement (O'Connor & McCartney, 2007).

Social cognitive theory posits that students develop a wide range of skills simply by watching other people perform those skills. Thus, modeling behavior can be a positive and effective modality for teaching (Bandura, 1986). Applied to the classroom environment, teachers play a critical role as live models from which students can learn social behaviors and positive communication skills. Social cognitive theory also sheds light on the importance of feedback and encouragement from teachers in relation to student performance. Teachers serve as role models and help regulate student behavior through interactions and relationships.

Positive teacher-student relationships help students meet these needs. Teachers offer feedback to students to support their feelings of competence. Teachers who know their students' interests and preferences, and show regard and respect for these individual differences, bolster students' feelings of autonomy. Teachers who establish a personal and caring relationship and foster positive social interactions within their classrooms meet their students' needs for relatedness (or social connection to school). Taken together, effective teacher-student relationships confirm to students that teachers care for them and support their academic efforts.

Teacher-student relationships contribute to students' resiliency. Often, we assume that hard-to-change factors such as class size, teacher experience or availability of instructional supplies are crucial for predicting student achievement. In fact, these factors are not as important as having positive relationships.

The behaviors and emotions that young children display when interacting with peers play a critical role in their involvement with bullying throughout the school years. Teachers have the ability to reduce bullying behaviors that occur in the classroom by establishing a positive climate in which pro-social actions are both encouraged and rewarded (Hanish, Kochenderfer-Ladd, Fabes, Martin, & Denning, 2004). Through teacher-student relationship, teachers can assist students in understanding how to better understand and regulate emotions they are feeling. Teachers can also involve students in discussing alternative strategies to deal with social conflict and in establishing prosocial rules for the classroom (Allen, 2010; Fraser et al., 2005).

Multiple factors determine teacher-student relationships: teacher characteristics and student characteristics each play an important role in predicting the quality of interactions that teachers have with individual students. Although less well-studied, other factors (school social climate, school policies, etc.) also contribute to the quality of these relationships.

Yes, positive teacher-student relationships can promote improved peer relationships in your classrooms through direct and indirect approaches. Teachers can directly promote positive social behaviors by orchestrating the relationships within a classroom in a positive manner (Battistich et al., 2004). Teachers can use positive teacher-student relationships indirectly to promote peer relationships as well. Students tend to be more accepting of peers who show engagement in the tasks of school (e.g., show attention, participate in classroom activities), and positive teacher-student relationships enhance students' engagement. Positive teacher-student relationships improve student-to-student acceptance in both current and future years (Hughes & Kwok, 2007).

Some situations (such as in elementary school, where each teacher is assigned only twenty or so students) provide more opportunities for the development of close teacher-student relationships. Other situations (such as the middle school or high school levels, where teachers routinely provide instruction to four or five groups of twenty-five or more students) make it more difficult to form positive teacher-student relationships with all students (Feldlaufer, Midgley, & Eccles, 1988; Meece et al., 2003), and thus, it takes more effort.


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