Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Connecting With Students: Perspectives of Middle Grades Teachers
by Guidry, Marian Caye, Ed.D., Piedmont College, 2014, 351; 3722952
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the teaching practice and educational beliefs of four middle grades teachers who were identified as effective in forging relationships with their students. In this study, relational expertise is defined as the ability to create a positive connection with students, one in which students feel recognized and valued as individuals. This research answers questions concerning (a) how the teachers define teacher-student relationships, (b) how and why they use relational skills in classrooms, (c) the strategies they use for developing and maintaining relationships and (d) the outcomes of relational teaching they identify.

Data collection included interviews and classroom observations of teacher participants and the collection of documentary evidence such as teacher evaluations and photographs of classroom artifacts. The data were analyzed and the cases were compared in a search for themes and patterns. The case studies were written as narrative portraits to record the thoughts and classroom experience of the participants and to provide a detailed view of their principles in action. Their stories provide a sense of what it is like to experience the classroom operations of the participants and allow the teachers to explain the rationale for what they do.

The participant teachers care deeply about the well-being and healthy development of students and strive to provide a nurturing classroom climate that meets the students’ psychological as well as cognitive needs. Their use of immediacy behaviors and other relationship-establishing techniques was a result of their personal beliefs about effective teaching.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shirley, Michael
Commitee: Benson, Barbara E., McCollum, Patricia
School: Piedmont College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Georgia
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, Educational psychology, Education philosophy
Keywords: Classroom climate, Immediacy behaviors, Relational pedagogy, Teacher-student relationships
Publication Number: 3722952
ISBN: 978-1-339-05397-4
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