The power of teacher-student relationships in determining student success
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The purpose of this ethnomethodological exploratory descriptive case study was to investigate and understand teacher perceptions of the relationships between teachers and students and how those teachers perceive relationships affect student academic performance and behavior in a small town elementary school. The relationship between a teacher and a student is defined as a formalized interpersonal association between an authority figure and a subordinate who interact on nearly a day to day basis. A cross-case analysis of five individual case studies of elementary grade classroom teachers teaching in a 500 student preschool through fifth grade predominately Caucasian middle-income small town school located approximately an hour from a large Midwestern metropolitan city was used to investigate the following research questions: (a) What teacher and student behaviors do teachers perceive contribute most directly to developing and maintaining positive and supportive teacher-student relationships? (b) To what extent do teachers perceive their interactions with students influence the academic and behavioral success of students in their classrooms? (c) How do teachers perceive their interactions with students influence their students' future academic and behavioral success? (d) How do teachers perceive school culture affects student behavior and academic performance and achievement? Through analysis of teacher interviews, classroom observations, and participant journals, four predominate themes were determined: (a) relationships; (b) culture; (c) high quality instruction; and (d) behavior management. The data from this study showed that these teachers believe that there is value in forming and maintaining positive and supportive relationships with their students in providing for their students' academic achievement and behavioral success. The data also showed that these teachers feel the classroom and school culture influences academics and behavior and believe it is important to understand and respond to individual student cultures. These teachers all spoke of and wrote about the importance of planning high quality instruction in providing for academic and behavioral success and high quality instruction was observed in each teacher's classroom. These teachers felt a system-wide positive behavior management plan and classroom management procedures that taught students how to behave and supported positive behavior through student accountability also was important in providing for academic and behavioral success.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the study -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results and discussion -- Implications and recommendations -- Appendix A. 2008-2009 building enrollment -- Appendix B. Yearly building enrollment -- Appendix C. Free and reduced lunch eligibility -- Appendix D. Race/ethnicity -- Appendix E. Yearly building attendance - Appendix F. SSIRB approval letter