Leadership strategies for effectively fostering positive teacher-student relationships in middle schools

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kenya Nakkia Smith (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Craig Peck

Abstract: The area of research for my study was how educational leaders impact school culture, specifically in the area of fostering positive teacher-student relationships in middle schools. Relationships between teachers and students can have a substantial impact on the development of a child. Teachers with strong relationships with their students have fewer discipline issues and higher levels of academic achievement among students. In my study, I sought to examine how principals, assistant principals, and curriculum facilitators help develop positive student-teacher relationships in their middle schools. Additionally, I wanted to learn culturally responsive strategies that school leaders use to help teachers form positive relationships with their students. For my basic qualitative research study, I conducted in-depth interviews with 9 school leaders (3 principals, 3 assistant principals, and 3 curriculum facilitators). I conducted a follow-up interview with the principals with specific questions related to culturally responsive practices. By conducting a basic qualitative study, I wanted to examine the perspectives and worldviews of people involved. During my study, I focused on collecting data that would answer my research question, “What do school leaders do to foster positive teacher-student relationships with middle school students?” I used a culturally relevant lens and framework to develop the interview protocol and to analyze data from my findings. My data collection included recorded interviews with the participants and analysis of documents. The participant data showed common themes about the roles of school leaders in fostering teacher-student relationships with middle school students. Participants asserted that all school leaders should model how to build relationships, provide focused feedback, and support teachers instructionally. School leaders who participated in the study also provided specific intentional strategies that they have used to help teachers build relationships with their students. Participants also described strategies that they recommended to their teachers. School leaders advocated that teachers participate in self-reflection, care about their students, use strategies to build relationships, engage students through instruction, and provide academic support for their students. School leaders should also work in cohesion with teachers in order to foster teacher-student relationships. The study concludes with implications, guidelines, and recommendations for future research. From this study’s findings, I developed the Practical Guidelines: Teacher-Student Relationships Protocol which is a tool for school leaders to use to help teachers build relationships with their students. From the strategies suggested by the study participants, I also developed the Teacher-Student Relationship Strategies Toolkit which provides relationship building strategies for teachers to use in conjunction with the protocol.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Culturally responsive leadership, Leadership, Middle school, Relationships, Student, Teacher
Middle schools $x Administration
Teacher-student relationships
Classroom environment
Educational leadership

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