Creating strong teacher-student relationships to close opportunity gaps

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelsey Williams Adams (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Jess Weiler

Abstract: This paper utilizes a dissertation-in-practice model (Storey et al., 2015) wherein scholar-practitioners examine the implementation of teacher professional learning in the areas of culturally responsive practice (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 2001; Brown, 2004; Bondy, 2007; Lambeth & Smith, 2016; Chang & Viesca, 2022), implicit bias (Mason et al., 2017; Post et al., 2020; Wright et al., 2022), and the establish-maintain-restore method (Cook et al., 2018) to improve teacher-student relationships. Educators are just beginning to understand a seemingly obvious connection: student performance is largely predicated on teacher-student relationships (TSRs). The quality of TSRs has been associated with students’ social functioning, behavior, engagement in learning, and academic achievement (Roorda et al., 2011; Mason et al., 2017; Scales et al., 2020). The professional learning modules utilized in this improvement work engage the research and standards for adult learning framed by Learning Forward (Learning Forward, 2022). I employ improvement science methodologies and traditional mixed methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the professional learning interventions. These methods include quantitative survey data, qualitative focus group data, and field note data. Evaluation findings indicate that one of the four goals for the improvement initiative was met, and qualitative sources revealed additional themes: a) teachers connect culture with relationships, (b) teachers yearn to learn about culturally responsive practices, and (c) dialogue contributes to learning and relationship building.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
care, culturally responsive, education, equity, improvement science, relationships
Culturally relevant pedagogy
Teacher-student relationships
Academic achievement

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