Establishing relationships may be a powerful and less expensive way for improving the success of students, according to researchers from University of Missouri.
In a review of the research, it was found that students with positive attachments to their schools and teachers have higher grades and higher standardized test scores.
“In this era of accountability, enhancing student-teacher relationships is not merely an add-on, but rather is fundamental to raising achievement,” said Christi Bergin, associate professor in the MU College of Education. “Secure student-teacher relationships predict greater knowledge, higher test scores, greater academic motivation and fewer retentions or special education referrals. Children who have conflicted relationships with teachers tend to like school less, are less self-directed and cooperate less in the classroom.”
“To be effective, teachers must connect with and care for children with warmth, respect and trust,” said David Bergin, associate professor of educational psychology, and the other author of the article. “In addition, it is important for schools to make children feel secure and valued, which can liberate them to take on intellectual and social challenges and explore new ideas.”
The authors found that student attachment influences school success as children with healthy attachment are able to control emotions and are more socially competent and willing to take on challenging learning tasks in the classroom.