Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The significance of the teacher-student relationship
by Witherspoon, Erick E., Ed.D., University of Redlands, 2011, 167; 3474497
Abstract (Summary)

Using a theoretical framework of the Teacher Expectancy Theory, Self-Determination Theory, and Critical Race Theory, this research includes a quantitative methodology with respect to the perceptions of elementary students regarding teacher-student relationship factors that impact academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to determine if the student-teacher relationship impacts students’ academic achievement. Theorists researching the teacher expectancy model have suggested that a teacher’s expectation for student achievement has a significant effect on student academic and social outcomes. Sherman (2004) believed that teaching is a moral endeavor because it directly influences the quality of the present educational moment in which the persons we are becoming hang in the balance. Kuklinski & Weinstein (2001) acknowledged that although specifics and emphases differ, teacher expectancy models have the following stages in common: Teachers form expectations about children’s future performance. Expectations are communicated to children through differences in teacher behavior, particularly toward high versus low achievers. When compared to the ineffective teachers, the effective teachers studied demonstrated a higher degree of respect for and fairness towards students. Cline & Necochea (2006) found that open-minded and flexible teachers design curriculum creatively to incorporate the students’ backgrounds and ways of knowing the world. Effective teachers realize the imperative of making students feel that their communities are valued.

The quantitative study incorporates the Multidimensional Student Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS) which measures five discrete domains of life satisfaction. The average reliability of the MSLSS is 0.81, with a range from 0.76 to 0.83. In addition to the MSLSS, the Student Satisfaction Survey questionnaire was administered to student respondents. The average reliability of the Student Satisfaction Survey subscale average is 0.81, with a range from 0.76 to 0.83. The quantitative dimensions show a macro picture of engagement practices with results that suggest a difference in those practices at continuation and comprehensive high schools.

This study determined that a positive teacher-student relationship positively impacts student achievement. This study resulted in three major conclusions: Teachers’ attitudes about students must be revisited and redesigned in order address the needs of all students; the current structure of public education and professional learning communities must continue to increase student engagement in learning; and teacher education programs must be redesigned to incorporate the development of interpersonal skills and build meaningful student relationships within the classroom. Further research is recommended to determine the long-term impact of positive teacher-student relationships, as well as the methodologies that provide a framework that strengthens student-teacher relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Denham, Robert
Commitee: Causey-Bush, Tonia, Hunt, Christopher
School: University of Redlands
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Elementary education, Teacher education
Keywords: Academic achievement, Achievement gap, Closing the achievement gap, Educational equity, Educational justice, Multi-cultural education, Student-teacher relationship
Publication Number: 3474497
ISBN: 978-1-124-90884-7
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