Humanizing and conducive to learning: an adolescent students’ perspective on the central attributes of positive relationships with teachers

Publisher:
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
European Journal of Psychology of Education, 2020, 35, (1)
Issue Date:
2020-03-01
Full metadata record
© 2019, The Author(s). The aim of this qualitative study was to identify central attributes of positive relationships with teachers from the adolescent students’ perspectives that could help delineate the meaning of student–teacher connectedness while exploring to what extent its main attributes were similar or different in England and Spain. As part of the EU-funded project “Well-being among European youth: The contribution of student-teacher relationships in the secondary-school population”, we conducted focus groups in England and Spain with 42 students aged 11 to 18 years. Using a bottom-up approach for thematic analysis, we identified two main attributes that were linked to positive relationships with teachers as seen by our participating students from England and Spain: humanizing relationships, in which the students are acknowledged and respected as individuals and feel understood and supported by their teachers; and relationships conducive to learning, encompassing aspects such as a perception of a genuine commitment with their learning on the part of the teachers, a positive classroom management, and teachers motivating students. This study contributes to the conceptualization of student–teacher connectedness and provides useful insights for teachers and educational professionals. In addition, the study findings pointed to the importance of power and authority dynamics in student–teacher relationships that foster or undermine connectedness, and they revealed some cross-cultural differences in the role of emotions in the class, two important aspects which deserve further attention in future research.
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