Student-teacher relationships and their perceived impact on learning and motivation
Master of Education
Learning theories (Education)
Theories of motivation (Education)
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The purpose of this study was to explore student perceptions specifically connected to student views of their relationships with teachers and the impact these relationships have on student learning and motivation. There are many studies (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Clinton, 2013; Ostrosky & Jung, 2010) in the field of education that explore the presence of a positive studentteacher relationship as a contributor to success, but only a few (Baber & Noreen, 2018; Newberry, 2010) have taken an approach where student voice is the focal point of inquiry. Through the use of the social constructivist perspective on learning, where knowledge is constructed through our interactions with others, and focusing exclusively on student perspective, the aim of this research was to explore student perceptions about the student-teacher relationships. The research design followed a phenomenological approach in order to allow students’ voices to be showcased as a valuable means for gaining new knowledge. Students selected for this study are currently enrolled in, or have just completed, Grades 4-8 in Ontario elementary schools. Students were first asked to complete a student demographic survey (see Appendix B) asking to define the term “relationship” and rate the importance of student-teacher relationships on their learning and motivation using a five-point Likert scale. Additionally, students engaged in a reflective timeline task (see Appendix C) recalling and describing their student-teacher relationships from Kindergarten to their current grade. Following this, students engaged in semi-structured interviews (see Appendix D for interview questions). Data was analyzed for commonalities and to specifically answer the three research questions proposed for exploration in the study. After careful reflection and inductive reasoning, it is apparent that students’ learning and motivation are in fact impacted both positively and negatively by their student-teacher relationships.