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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Relationships Matter: Examining the Impact of Teacher-Student Relationships on Extreme Behaviors in K-2
by Newkirk, Marshaé, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 131; 27544695
Abstract (Summary)

Recognizing the disproportionality of suspensions of young children of color, states across the country have moved towards policies that restrict schools from exacting exclusionary practices in early childhood grades, most notably, kindergarten through second grade. In an effort to mitigate issues that often lead to extreme behaviors, the U.S. Department of Education issued a policy statement in 2016 encouraging teacher preparation programs to develop educators who are able to create nurturing, supportive relationships with students.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine whether teacher-student relationships impact the occurrence of extreme behaviors in grades K-2 and to identify aspects of teacher-student relationships that may impact the prevalence of extreme behaviors. Conducted in an elementary public charter school in the Northeast, the study employed a document review of five years of school data which included teacher evaluation ratings in Domain 2 of the Danielson Framework for Teaching as an indicator of relationship quality and five years of discipline referral forms. In addition, the study included seven teacher interviews in order to gain deeper insight into teachers practices around relationship building and maintenance.

To distinguish this research from previous research, it is important to note that this study did not seek to understand how children with extreme or externalizing behaviors impact their relationships with teachers. Rather, this study sought to understand the ways in which teachers’ interactions with students may impact the occurrence (or lack thereof) of extreme behaviors in young children. This study adds to current literature on the value of positive teacher-student relationships. The findings from this study call attention to the impact of race on teacher-student relationships and the types of strategies teachers implement to build relationships and respond to student behaviors. The findings also offer insight into strategies that may support the development of positive teacher-student relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watts, Caroline L.
Commitee: Harper, Jessie, Jordan, Will
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Elementary education, Educational sociology
Keywords: Children of color, Externalizing behaviors, Teacher-student relationships
Publication Number: 27544695
ISBN: 9781658478519
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