Information

Do school teachers demand more from their children than other students?

Do school teachers demand more from their children than other students?



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Lets assume that there is a group of students and one teacher (typical school situation).

Child of the teacher is in that group.

Is there any evidence, that school teachers demand more from their children than other children?

Is there any evidence, that children who are taught by parent-teacher achieve better/worse results than other students in same group?


From Personal Experience, teachers will demand more from their child if their child is in that class for a couple of reasons: To show the rest of the class that there is no favoritism towards the child, as well as to ensure that the child performs exceptionally in the class.

Whether they achieve better/worse results is dependent on the level that this "extra demand" is taken to. For example a child may feel like he's being treated unfairly, and act out as a result, or become overwhelmed by the amount of work. But if it is a reasonable increase in demand, then the student will surely benefit.


2. Make learning activities more active.

Create gallery walks in which children must travel around the room to observe visual aids for different parts of a lesson. Have children form groups to discuss and answer lesson questions, then have them write their answers on the board. Play board games tied to the current lesson and include spaces that call for students to do push-ups or jumping jacks. Making children carry their assignments to your desk, rather than passing them forward, can also introduce more movement into their day.


Going Deeper

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California conducted a statewide survey of students regarding their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a sampling of responses:

“I have to balance my classes, zoom meetings, homework, AP exams to study for and work. Currently I’m the only one working in my family therefore I provide any necessities for my family. I work during the night so it’s difficult to wake up early.”

“I have been home for over a month now ever since school ended on March 13th and I don’t go out at all not even for groceries because my parents believe it’s unsafe and I’m worried because my dad still works and has to ride the bus everyday with 20 other people and that’s so risky. School wise my teachers are giving me extra homework than what they actually do at school … I also have younger siblings and they have homework due online as well and because my parents barely understand technology I have to be like my siblings teacher and balancing both my education and my siblings is very difficult. I feel very stressed out because it’s too much to handle all at once.”

“My mom works at a hospital where she is exposed every day to the coronavirus and I’m worried something will happen to her.”

“Online work seems pointless. Everything is ‘busy work.’ I’m not learning anything. My senior year has been taken away from me and I have no motivation to finish it.”

“The amount of time that my family is spending together is making us more susceptible to fighting and we have no way to spend time apart so it turns into a cycle of me getting yelled at.”

“Hugging my friends, talking to teachers and sitting next to classmates are now luxuries. I have had dreams about hugging people and wake up crying.”

To get more reports like this one, click here to sign up for EdSource’s no-cost daily email on latest developments in education.


Block Reason: Access from your area has been temporarily limited for security reasons.
Time: Wed, 23 Jun 2021 1:52:44 GMT

About Wordfence

Wordfence is a security plugin installed on over 3 million WordPress sites. The owner of this site is using Wordfence to manage access to their site.

You can also read the documentation to learn about Wordfence's blocking tools, or visit wordfence.com to learn more about Wordfence.

Generated by Wordfence at Wed, 23 Jun 2021 1:52:44 GMT.
Your computer's time: .


Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform

Teachers interact differently with students expected to succeed. But they can be trained to change those classroom behaviors.

In my Morning Edition story today, I look at expectations — specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach.

The first psychologist to systematically study this was a Harvard professor named Robert Rosenthal, who in 1964 did a wonderful experiment at an elementary school south of San Francisco.

The idea was to figure out what would happen if teachers were told that certain kids in their class were destined to succeed, so Rosenthal took a normal IQ test and dressed it up as a different test.

"It was a standardized IQ test, Flanagan's Test of General Ability," he says. "But the cover we put on it, we had printed on every test booklet, said 'Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.' "

Rosenthal told the teachers that this very special test from Harvard had the very special ability to predict which kids were about to be very special — that is, which kids were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ.

After the kids took the test, he then chose from every class several children totally at random. There was nothing at all to distinguish these kids from the other kids, but he told their teachers that the test predicted the kids were on the verge of an intense intellectual bloom.

As he followed the children over the next two years, Rosenthal discovered that the teachers' expectations of these kids really did affect the students. "If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ," he says.

But just how do expectations influence IQ?

As Rosenthal did more research, he found that expectations affect teachers' moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

7 Ways Teachers Can Change Their Expectations

Researcher Robert Pianta offered these suggestions for teachers who want to change their behavior toward problem students:

  1. Watch how each student interacts. How do they prefer to engage? What do they seem to like to do? Observe so you can understand all they are capable of.
  2. Listen. Try to understand what motivates them, what their goals are and how they view you, their classmates and the activities you assign them.
  3. Engage. Talk with students about their individual interests. Don't offer advice or opinions – just listen.
  4. Experiment: Change how you react to challenging behaviors. Rather than responding quickly in the moment, take a breath. Realize that their behavior might just be a way of reaching out to you.
  5. Meet: Each week, spend time with students outside of your role as "teacher." Let the students choose a game or other nonacademic activity they'd like to do with you. Your job is to NOT teach but watch, listen and narrate what you see, focusing on students' interests and what they do well. This type of activity is really important for students with whom you often feel in conflict or who you avoid.
  6. Reach out: Know what your students like to do outside of school. Make it a project for them to tell you about it using some medium in which they feel comfortable: music, video, writing, etc. Find both individual and group time for them to share this with you. Watch and listen to how skilled, motivated and interested they can be. Now think about school through their eyes.
  7. Reflect: Think back on your own best and worst teachers, bosses or supervisors. List five words for each that describe how you felt in your interactions with them. How did the best and the worst make you feel? What specifically did they do or say that made you feel that way? Now think about how your students would describe you. Jot down how they might describe you and why. How do your expectations or beliefs shape how they look at you? Are there parallels in your beliefs and their responses to you?

"It's not magic, it's not mental telepathy," Rosenthal says. "It's very likely these thousands of different ways of treating people in small ways every day."

So since expectations can change the performance of kids, how do we get teachers to have the right expectations? Is it possible to change bad expectations? That was the question that brought me to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where I met Robert Pianta.

Pianta, dean of the Curry School, has studied teachers for years, and one of the first things he told me when we sat down together was that it is truly hard for teachers to control their expectations.

"It's really tough for anybody to police their own beliefs," he said. "But think about being in a classroom with 25 kids. The demands on their thinking are so great."

Still, people have tried. The traditional way, Pianta says, has been to sit teachers down and try to change their expectations through talking to them.

"For the most part, we've tried to convince them that the beliefs they have are wrong," he says. "And we've done most of that convincing using information."

But Pianta has a different idea of how to go about changing teachers' expectations. He says it's not effective to try to change their thoughts the key is to train teachers in an entirely new set of behaviors.

For years, Pianta and his colleagues at the Curry School have been collecting videotapes of teachers teaching. By analyzing these videos in minute ways, they've developed a good idea of which teaching behaviors are most effective. They can also see, Pianta tells me, how teacher expectations affect both their behaviors and classroom dynamics.

Pianta gives one very specific example: the belief that boys are disruptive and need to be managed.

"Say I'm a teacher and I ask a question in class, and a boy jumps up, sort of vociferously . 'I know the answer! I know the answer! I know the answer!' " Pianta says.

"If I believe boys are disruptive and my job is control the classroom, then I'm going to respond with, 'Johnny! You're out of line here! We need you to sit down right now.' "

This, Pianta says, will likely make the boy frustrated and emotionally disengaged. He will then be likely to escalate his behavior, which will simply confirm the teacher's beliefs about him, and the teacher and kid are stuck in an unproductive loop.

But if the teacher doesn't carry those beliefs into the classroom, then the teacher is unlikely to see that behavior as threatening.

Instead it's: " 'Johnny, tell me more about what you think is going on . But also, I want you to sit down quietly now as you tell that to me,' " Pianta says.

"Those two responses," he says, "are dictated almost entirely by two different interpretations of the same behavior that are driven by two different sets of beliefs."

To see if teachers' beliefs would be changed by giving them a new set of teaching behaviors, Pianta and his colleagues recently did a study.

They took a group of teachers, assessed their beliefs about children, then gave a portion of them a standard pedagogy course, which included information about appropriate beliefs and expectations. Another portion got intense behavioral training, which taught them a whole new set of skills based on those appropriate beliefs and expectations.

For this training, the teachers videotaped their classes over a period of months and worked with personal coaches who watched those videos, then gave them recommendations about different behaviors to try.

After that intensive training, Pianta and his colleagues analyzed the beliefs of the teachers again. What he found was that the beliefs of the trained teachers had shifted way more than the beliefs of teachers given a standard informational course.

This is why Pianta thinks that to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors.

"It's far more powerful to work from the outside in than the inside out if you want to change expectations," he says.

In other words, if you want to change a mind, simply talking to it might not be enough.


Education Articles & More

If I asked you to tell me what you remembered most about your favorite teacher growing up, I bet you wouldn’t say much about the subject matter. Instead, I’d expect you to describe how he or she made you feel as you learned that subject matter—the sense of excitement or discovery you felt, or the safety to take chances and make mistakes, or the confidence that you were valued as a human being, warts and all.

According to research, few factors in education have a greater impact on a student’s educational experience than a caring relationship with his or her teacher.

© Jim Cummins/Corbis

One researcher described it this way: Imagine two teachers teaching the same lesson on poetic construction. One is very impatient with students and the other supportive. Knowing only that, we can probably guess which students learned the lesson better.

Science has found that students who have caring relationships with teachers are academically more successful and show greater “pro-social” (or kind, helpful) behavior. A caring teacher can transform the school experience especially for students who face enormous difficulties, such as dropping out or dysfunctional home lives. One student who faced these kinds of hardships told a researcher that the greatest thing a teacher can do is to care and to understand. “Because if not,” he said, “the kid will say, ‘Oh, they’re giving up on me, so I might as well give up on myself.’”

Fortunately, research has identified practical tips for teachers to help them build caring relationships with students. Here are some of the tips I find most important:

1) Get to know your students and the lives they live. This is especially important if your students are from a different cultural or socio-economic background than you. Numerous studies have shown that cultural misunderstanding between teachers and students can have a hugely negative impact on students’ educational experience. But research has also shown that teachers who visit students’ homes and spend time in their communities develop a deep awareness of students’ challenges and needs and are better able to help them.

GGSC Summer Institute for Educators

A six-day workshop to transform teachers' understanding of themselves and their students

If your time is limited, then ask students to complete an “interest inventory,” which can be as simple as having students write down their five favorite things to do. Their responses will give you ideas for making the curriculum more relevant to their lives—a sure method for letting students know you care about them.

2) Actively listen to students. A teacher who actively listens to students is listening for the meaning behind what students are saying, then checks in with them to make sure they’ve understood properly. This affirms students’ dignity and helps develop a trusting relationship between teachers and students.

If the chaos of the classroom doesn’t allow you to give this kind of focused listening to a student who really needs it, then set a time to talk when there are fewer distractions.

3) Ask students for feedback. Choose any topic—it doesn’t have to be academic—and have students write down, in a couple of sentences, what confuses or concerns them most about the topic. By considering their feedback, you are showing students that you value their opinions and experiences. It also creates a classroom culture where students feel safe to ask questions and take chances, which will help them grow academically.

4) Reflect on your own experience with care. Oftentimes, we unconsciously care for others the way we have been cared for—for better or worse. When one researcher interviewed four different teachers at the same school who all shared one particular student, she found that each teacher cared for the student in the way she had been cared for as a child. It didn’t even occur to the teachers to ask the parents—or the child himself—what the child’s needs might be. Instead, they made assumptions about the child’s background based on their own childhoods as a result, the child received four different types of care—which may not necessarily have been appropriate to his/her needs.

Reflecting on how you were cared for or not cared for as a child will give you insight into the kind of care you might be extending to your students, and allow you to adjust your care to fit their needs.

As teachers, we often don’t realize how even the smallest caring gesture can have a huge impact on our students. As evidence, I’d like to share the story of Sam, a high school student from south central Los Angeles who had transferred high schools three times before being interviewed by researchers for a study.

After years of feeling uncared for in school, Sam was very surprised when he received a phone call at home from his current school’s office, wanting to know why he was absent that day. His other schools, he said, never called to check on him. A small act of caring—but here’s how Sam said it made him feel:

When they call my house if I’m not here, they’re real friendly. My auntie has an answering machine, and sometimes I’ll hear a voice start to leave a message like ‘Hi Sam. If you’re there, we’re wondering why you’re not in school today…’ If I hear that, I pick up the phone and explain why I’m not there. And they believe me. They trust me, so I trust them.


What can schools do to build resilience in their students?

After each school shooting, violent classroom episode, or student suicide—all too common today—there is talk about resilience in schools. Why is it that some students bounce back from adversity and others do not? Coping and functioning well despite adversity or trauma is resilience.

Schools are recognizing the importance of students’ social and emotional well-being as well as a supportive school climate, more generally, in promoting positive academic and behavioral outcomes. In fact, at the September convening of the U.S. Department of Education Safe and Supportive Schools federal grantees in Washington, states presented data indicating improvements in both academic achievement as well as in student behaviors from three years ago—the point at which the federal grants began that enabled many high poverty school districts in 11 states to implement school climate surveys and programs. Numerous studies show that programs and practices that build resilience are particularly effective in improving the academic performance of low achieving students.

There are a variety of models of resilience out there, each with their research base, and many have interventions to go along with them. Many school districts are asking, “How can we sort through all of these models and interventions to choose the right one for our students?” Child Trends’ researchers offered help to 11 states who have received federal Safe and Supportive School grants, by synthesizing the research and resources available on resilience in schools.

Common Components of Resilience

While each model has its favorite components of resilience, we looked across the various models and found that the following components kept re-appearing.

Individual Behaviors, Attitudes, and Competencies

  • Physical health supports resilience, including getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and enjoying good health.
  • Social and emotional competencies that promote resilience include stress management a sense of control over one’s life positive relationship to self including self-efficacy, self-regulation, and self-esteem hopefulness and goal-setting with the motivation and perseverance needed to reach those goals and social competence.
  • Cognitive competencies that help include insightfulness and general skills such as problem-solving, information processing, and intellectual ability.

Family, School, and Community Support

  • A positive and supportive family, including warmth, stability, cohesiveness, a positive parenting style, and high expectations.
  • Presence of a caring adult outside the family, such as a teacher, counselor, coach, or mentor
  • Belonging to groups and institutions, like schools, clubs, organizations, and religious communities.

Strategies that Build Resilience in Schools

Child Trends and our partners on the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments have compiled resources that can help schools to build resilience in their students. They can be found at http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/hot-topics/response-and-resiliency.Looking across these resources, here are some strategies that schools can use to build resilience in students.

  • Promote positive social connections between staff and students, among students, and between schools and home.
  • Nurture positive qualities, such as empathy, optimism, or forgiveness, and give students a chance to use them.
  • Notice and reinforce qualities that are key to resilience.
  • Avoid focusing on failure or negative behaviors.
  • Teach by example, which is an effective approach train staff to develop the same qualities.
  • Apply restorative justice techniques can help schools by giving students a structured opportunity to work difficulties out by encouraging reflection and empathy.
  • Foster feelings of competence and self-efficacy.
  • Set high expectations for students teach them to set realistic, achievable goals, and also how to reach out for help when needed.

Strategies to Help Students Recover from a Traumatic Event

In addition, here are strategies that schools can use to help students recover from a traumatic event:

  • Supportive relationships are key to recovery: Make sure students have time to talk with caring adults and have the opportunity to express their feelings and ask questions.
  • Schools can provide supports to parents by sponsoring parent meetings.
  • Stay flexible! Children’s responses to a traumatic event will be varied not just in intensity, but also in recovery time it is important for schools to avoid a one-size-fits-all response to recovery.
  • After a traumatic event, students may feel nervous, anxious, or unsafe so try to reassure students that they are safe, and keep to familiar routines.
  • School administrators can provide extra support to teachers, such as training, time to unwind and ways to connect with other teachers for support.

Programs that work in schools to build resilience in schools can be found in the Child Trends What Works database as well as SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Programs and Practices and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Measures of components of resilience that can be used in surveys and program evaluations can be found on Child Trends positive indicators website.


About the Author

Whenever we promote success to students without first modeling it, we're seen as hypocrites in their eyes, even if they don't admit it. In addition, we lose credibility in the classroom.

I personally believe that, as teachers, others should want what we have. I'm not talking about material possessions, position, power, or perceived status I'm talking about good character. Character is something money can't buy, but everyone admires and respects -- even if they don't like you personally.

That is one of the most basic principles of successful teaching however, it's one of the most difficult lessons for new teachers to learn. The truth of the matter is, whenever we step into a classroom or in front of a group of students (especially middle and high school students), they're already sizing us up to see how they will treat and respond to us. If you don't believe me, then you've never been a substitute teacher -- or had one.

The #1 question a student has in his or her mind when first meeting you is Who are you? Trust me, you need to generate a response that's much greater than the sound of your name. Unless your last name is Winfrey, Gates, or Woods, you're going to have to earn the respect of your students.

Who you are to them must speak louder than the actual words you use. In other words, the presence of your character should speak before you even utter your first word. How you walk, look, stand, dress, act, speak, respond, and even smell when you enter your school always should produce the response, "I want that." Or, at the very least, it should say, "She's different."

Now understand, that doesn't necessarily mean you will be respected, but at least you will gain your students' attention long enough for them to listen to what you have to say about respect. If students get the impression you don't respect yourself, they'll conclude that they don't have to respect you, either.

The next couple of questions students ask themselves to determine whether or not they will respect you is, "Why is what you're teaching me important?" and "Do you mean what you say?"

I think you can draw your own conclusions about why your answers to those questions are critical to building your credibility in the classroom. I will tell you that you must immediately address all three of those questions, and you must do it clearly, confidently, and concisely. Your respect and your reputation in the classroom depend on it. So teach with passion, and remember to practice what you teach.


Schools Now Demand More Supplies Than Parents Can Afford

Back to school season is a happy, hectic time. Kids enter new grades eager to meet new teachers and see old friends. Parents enjoy the return to a more rigid schedule, one that provides structure to family life after loose, fun summers. But what’s less exciting is the money they’re expected to shell out for the school supplies a new year demands. According to Junior Achievement USA, 60 percent of parents say that it’s a challenge to afford necessary school supplies.

And it’s not getting any easier. Communities in Schools, a non-profit organization that places staff in 2,300 schools nationwide, releases a report every summer known as the Backpack Index. It’s designed to estimate the financial burden on parents as they send their kids back to school.

To prepare the report, economists from Huntington Bank assemble a representative list of supplies and fees based upon lists from a cross-section of schools in eight states. They add up the fees along with the prices of moderately-priced versions of those supplies found online to come up with an estimated cost per student at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Over the past decade, the Backpack Index has shown that parents are shouldering a steadily increasing financial burden.

“As we have assessed the cost annually for the same supplies and fees over 11 years, we have seen significant outpacing of inflation,” said George Mokrzan, chief economist for Huntington Bank.

The price for necessary supplies is increasing, as is the amount of necessary supplies requested. “Year over year we are seeing is that schools are requiring much more of students,” said Steve Majors of Communities in Schools. Beyond the basics like pens and notebooks, more schools are mandating that students purchase expensive supplies like scientific calculators.

Schools are also charging more for extracurricular fees. “Studies have shown that kids who have access to those extracurricular activities are more well-rounded, are more emotionally grounded, and are better able to compete in the classroom and out in the workforce,” says Majors. Parents who understandably want their kids to have those advantages may choose to forgo purchasing other supplies in order to afford the fees.

These competing financial demands put many families in a tough situation.

“When a low-income family has to choose between whether or not they are going to go and fulfill the complete school supply list or put food on the table, that represents a larger burden than other families who might have the means to be able to do both things,” said Majors.

As more families struggle financially this time of year, a number of different entities have stepped in to help. On the front lines are teachers themselves.

A report from the federal National Center on Education Statistics showed that 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on supplies for their students. They spend an average of $479. Teachers in schools with at least 75 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch spend even more, $554.

But as recent teacher protests in Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia have shown, expecting underpaid public school teachers to foot the bill for school supplies is not a long-term fix.

So what are some potential solutions to this problem? Majors thinks that more could be done at the community level.

“Local business and local faith-based groups certainly should be partnering with the schools in their community to ensure that the kids in their community have the resources they need.” He points to community partnerships as a major reason Communities in Schools can provide students with supplies.

Other national organizations can also play a role. The Kids in Need Foundation, for example, distributes supplies directly to students through a network of 40 resource centers that serve communities where at least 70 percent of children are on federal nutrition programs. Some teachers use crowdfunding sites to raise money for supplies. “The most common supplies that teachers probably purchase would be writing tools and notebooks, a lot of basic supplies that every student absolutely needs,” said Devon Karbowski of AdoptAClassroom.org.

Yet while these private organizations undoubtedly do good work, they lack the scale to solve the larger problem.

“We consider ourselves more of a Band-Aid. We’re here to help teachers who have these high needs and are asking for help,” said Karbowski. Majors talks about the growth of Communities in Schools into 26 states and the District of Columbia over the past 40 years. “We’ve grown to meet the need, but there’s always more to be done.”

Thus far, government efforts have proved similarly inadequate.

Seventeen states will have sales tax holidays for back to school shopping this year. These holidays save parents money, but it’s not the tax but the cost of the supplies themselves that makes up the bulk of the back to school financial burden.

Karbowski and Majors are understandably reticent to make overtly political statements, but Majors did say “No one would dispute the fact that our schools and our students could benefit from more resources.” The scale of the problem and the ethos of public education being free and accessible to all suggest that the government must be at least part of the solution.

A survey of teachers by AdoptAClassroom.org found that the average budget teachers are given for school supplies is $212. If that were raised dramatically, teachers could buy supplies for all of their students instead of asking strangers on the Internet to help make up the gap.

Unfortunately, the situation seems to be trending in the wrong direction. In 31 states, per-pupil education funding is below 2008 levels. If states increased their education budgets, districts and schools would have more money to buy supplies, give teachers the budget to buy supplies, and/or support nonprofits that provide supplies to the neediest students.

As parents continue to struggle to supply their children, the effects are deeper than dollars and cents. “Teachers definitely talk about how it’s a lot more difficult to teach when their students don’t have the supplies they need,” Karbowski said. Majors adds that being unprepared has “a tangible but not quantifiable effect on the confidence of kids as they come into school.”

It’s a simple equation. Preparedness breeds confidence breeds academic success. So to ensure every kid can be successful, the people who lead public education must augment, if not outright replace, the efforts of teachers and nonprofits to supply students in need. Those kids will do better in school, and their families will have one less thing to worry about come back to school season.


The fact is that all students don't get equal treatment. They don't get an equal opportunity to forge close, supportive relationships with their teachers.

That's because teachers are human beings subject to stresses strain, and the teaching profession is a stressful one.

In addition, teachers often lack training in the best ways to handle discipline.

And teachers, like the rest of us, suffer from unconscious biases that affect the way they respond to children.

So we need to get serious about helping teachers and students overcome these barriers. Let's take a closer look at the problems.

1. We need to help teachers cope with job stress

Building positive student-teacher relationships requires patience and good humor -- qualities that tend to fizzle out when you're feeling stressed. And unfortunately, teaching is a stressful profession.

For instance, in the United States, a study of an urban, Midwestern school district found that 93% of elementary teachers were "highly stressed," and one third of these teachers were experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout (Herman et al 2018). 

A subsequent study of Midwestern middle school teachers reported similarly grim statistics (Herman et al 2019).

In the United Kingdom, one  survey of school teachers found that "psychosocial working conditions were at a poor level"  (Ravalier and Walsh 2018). Another U.K. survey reports that more than half of all teachers have considered leaving the profession because of "mental health and well-being pressures."

So if we want to help teachers develop positive relationships with their students, we need to address sources of job stress, like poor administrative support, poor teacher-parent communication, and insufficient funding.

In a large U.S. study, positive student-teacher relationships were more common for kids who had parents who stayed in frequent contact with teachers. In addition, e lementary school students were more likely to maintain positive teacher relationships over time when their teachers received higher salaries (O'Conno r 2010).

2. We need to provide teachers with specialized training for coping with defiance and disruptive classroom behavior.

It's clear that teachers need and deserve professional guidance for handling classroom conflicts in positive ways. When experts in the Netherlands and the United States have offered such specialized training, student-teacher relationships have improved (Spilt et al 2012b Capella et al 2012).

3. Schools need to promote practices that make students feel supported and encouraged, not embarrassed and shamed.

There is good evidence on this point: Teachers should use positive, constructive feedback, and avoid personal criticism that shames, demeans, or belittles students.

For example, in recent experiments, British children (aged 7-11 years) were presented with two different kinds of teacher criticism.

One involved personal criticism (e.g.,"I'm disappointed in you.")

The other was focused on the behavior that the teacher wanted to correct ("Can you think of a better way to do it?")

Did the type of approach matter? It seems to have made a difference to children's perceptions (Skipper and Douglas 2015).

The kids who received personal criticism concluded that their teachers liked them less, and the experience cast a long shadow: Even after success in a subsequent task, the kids continued to view their student-teacher relationship in a negative light.

Such results are consistent with studies of younger children. Certain types of  criticism can sap motivation,  leaving kids feeling disheartened, frustrated, or helpless.

Do these techniques undermine student-teacher relationships?

I can't find any studies addressing this for children. But studies of college undergraduates confirm that antagonistic teacher behaviors -- like embarrassing students, or dismissing their contributions -- turn students off.

They respond more negatively to teachers, and become less engaged in the material. And these effects are evident even when students aren't themselves the target of a teacher's antagonism. Observing the embarrassment of other students is enough  (Broeckelman-Post et al 2015 Goodboy et al 2018).

4. We need to train teachers to identify and counteract biases

Teachers are merely human. So like the rest of us, they harbor social biases they've absorbed from the popular culture -- stereotypes that can creep into our thinking whether or not we're consciously aware of it. 

And unfortunately, these implicit biases can give rise to stark inequalities in how students are treated.

For example, Jason Okonofua and his colleagues have documented "extreme racial disparities in school disciplinary action in the United States," and the researchers have confirmed one important cause: Teachers tend to perceive the misbehavior of Black students as more troubling (Okonofua et al 2016b).

In experiments, teachers who were asked to make judgments about hypothetical students were more likely to recommend severe punishment for repeat offenders who were਋lack, rather than White (Okonofua and Eberhardt 2015).

The descriptions of the students -- and their classroom behavior -- was identical. Only their racial identities were different, and that was enough to trigger biased reactions in the teachers. 

Children may also be treated differently depending on other factors, like socioeconomic status.ਏor instance, a recent experiment in Switzerland found that teachers were more likely to assign students of lower socioeconomic status to lower academic tracks -- even when their academic records were identical with those of high socioeconomic status students (Batruch et al 2018).

So social biases can create major barriers to the development of quality student-teacher relationships. How can we fix the problem, and address this fundamental unfairness?

The good news is that implicit biases don't have to dictate how we behave. They merely represent our knee-jerk reactions -- the conclusions that our unconscious minds jump to before we use our deliberative, conscious minds to mull the question over. 

So we can override our knee-jerk reactions, but we have to actively monitor ourselves,ਊnd make a practice of questioning our initial reactions.

Then what? We need to practice empathy, and take a constructive problem-solving approach to perceived misbehavior.

When Jason Okonofua and his colleagues coached middle school teachers to replace punitive discipline policies with empathy and problem solving, student-teacher relationships improved. And school suspension rates were cut in half (Okonofua et al 2016a).

Employing the principles of "positive parenting" in the classroom can help ensure that every child gets the support he or she deserves.

5. We need to help teachers bridge the culture gap

Sometimes students and teachers come from the same cultural background. But often they don't, and that can affect the quality of communication. 

For instance, people from different cultures express emotion in somewhat different ways, and it can lead to missed signals.

When researchers compared Turkish immigrant teachers with native Dutch teachers, they found that Turkish immigrant teachers were more likely to detect anxiety and depression in Turkish immigrant children. Native Dutch teachers didn't pick up on the same cues (Crijnen et al 2000). 

And cultural differences can affect the way we use and interpret language, leading to fundamental misunderstandings. 

Writing about the United States in 1988, educational researcher Lisa Delpit noted that the White American teachers she observed addressed their students in a roundabout way. Verbal directives were couched as suggestions or questions, like, "Is this where the scissors belong?"

By contrast, Delpit wrote, many Black American teachers stated the message more directly, (e.g., "Put those scissors on that shelf,") and the difference may have had important consequences.

Kids who'd been raised to respond to explicit directives may not have recognized a teacher’s question for what it really was – a veiled command. Kids accustomed to indirect commands may have interpreted imperative language ("Do this") as harsh or angry. Either way, there was potential for misunderstanding and trouble.

So we need to realize that teaching isn't as straightforward as it may seem. Teachers need to tune into the cultural assumptions of their students, and parents need to communicate with teachers about misunderstandings they perceive. Taking the time and effort to learn about cultural differences isn't a frill. It's crucial to successful education.

And what should we do when a relationship just isn't working?

When -- despite our best efforts -- relationships don't improve, I think we're justified in considering the option of classroom re-assignment. For some kids, there is lot at stake. 

And for the rest of us, it's time to reconsider the way our schools are organized. 

For example, is early education too regimented for naturally restless young children? Especially young boys? 

During the early years of schooling, girls outperform boys in attentiveness, task persistence, impulse control, and social skills (McWayne et al 2004 Rimm-Kaufman et al 2009).ਊs a result, girls may find it easier to adapt to school, which could explain why girls are more likely to forge high quality relationships with teachers (Mulolla et al 2012). 

Do we simply accept this as the way of the world, or do we decide to change the nature of early schooling so that it's easier for young children to cooperate and follow the rules?

And what about school policies that prevent teachers from offering physical reassurance to their students -- like a pat on the shoulder? Do such rules interfere with the development of quality student-teacher relationships?

What about the expectations of mainstream, secondary schools -- where students are bustled from classroom to classroom, rarely getting the chance to develop personal relationships with their teachers? Are we depriving students an important source of motivation and resilience?

These are questions worth asking.

Copyright © 2006-2021 by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D. all rights reserved.
For educational purposes only. If you suspect you have a medical problem, please see a physician.

References: Student-teacher relationships

Ahnert L , Milatz A , Kappler G , Schneiderwind J ,  and Fischer R . 2013. The impact of teacher-child relationships on child cognitive performance as explored by a priming paradigm. Dev Psychol. 49(3):554-67.

Ahnert L , Harwardt-Heinecke E , Kappler G , Eckstein-Madry T , and Milatz A . 2012. Student-teacher relationships and classroom climate in first grade: how do they relate to students' stress regulation? Attach Hum Dev.   14(3):249-63.

Barber BK and Olsen JA. 2004. Assessing the transitions to middle and high school. Journal of Adolescent Research. 19:3–30.

Batruch A, Autin F, Bataillard F, and Butera F. 2018. School Selection and the Social Class Divide: How Tracking Contributes to the Reproduction of Inequalities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Broeckelman-Post MA, Tacconelli A, Guzmán J, Rios M, Calero B and Latif F. 2016. Teacher Misbehavior and its Effects on Student Interest and Engagement Communication Education, 65(2): 204-212 2016.

Buyse E , Verschueren K , Doumen S , Van Damme J , and Maes F . 2008. Classroom problem behavior and teacher-child relationships in kindergarten: the moderating role of classroom climate. J Sch Psychol. 46(4):367-91.

Christian Elledge L, Elledge AR, Newgent RA, and Cavell TA. 2015. Social Risk and Peer Victimization in Elementary School Children: The Protective Role of Teacher-Student Relationships. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2015 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Corbin CM, Alamos P, Lowenstein AE, Downer JT, Brown JL. 2019. The role of teacher-student relationships in predicting teachers' personal accomplishment and emotional exhaustion. J Sch Psychol. 77:1-12.

Crijnen AA , Bengi-Arslan L , and Verhulst FC . 2000. Teacher-reported problem behaviour in Turkish immigrant and Dutch children: a cross-cultural comparison. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 102(6):439-44.

de Wilde A, Koot HM, and van Lier PA. 2015. Developmental Links Between Children's Working Memory and their Social Relations with Teachers and Peers in the Early School Years. J Abnorm Child Psychol . [ Epub ahead of print].

Delpit LD. 1988. The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review 58(3): p.280.

Gregory A and Weinstein RS. 2004. Connection and Regulation at Home and in School: Predicting Growth in Achievement for Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research 19(4): 405-427.

Hamre BK and Pianta RC. 2006. Student-teacher relationships. In: Bear GC, Minke KM, editors. Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention. National Association of School Psychologists Washington, DC, pp. 59–71.

Hamre BK and Pianta RC . 2001. Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children's school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Dev. 72(2):625-38.

Herman KC, Hickmon-Rosa J, Reinke WM. 2017. Empirically Derived Profiles of Teacher Stress, Burnout, Self-Efficacy, and Coping and Associated Student Outcomes. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 20 (2): 90.

Herman KC, Prewett SL, Eddy CL, Savala A, and Reinke WM. 2019. Profiles of middle school teacher stress and coping: Concurrent and prospective correlates. Journal of School Psychology 78: 54-68.

Hughes JN , Wu JY , Kwok OM , Villarreal V , and   Johnson AY . 2012. Indirect Effects of Child Reports of Teacher-Student Relationship on Achievement. J Educ Psychol. 򠄄(2):350-365. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Lisonbee JA , Mize J , Payne AL , and Granger DA . 2008. Children's cortisol and the quality of teacher--child relationships in child care. Child Dev. 79(6):1818-32.

Maldonado-Carreño C and Votruba-Drzal E . 2011. Teacher-child relationships and the development of academic and behavioral skills during elementary school: a within- and between-child analysis. Child Dev. ꂂ(2):601-16.

McWayne CM , Fantuzzo JW and McDermott PA . 2004. Preschool competency in context: an investigation of the unique contribution of child competencies to early academic success. Dev Psychol. 40(4):633-45.

Mullola S , Ravaja N , Lipsanen J , Alatupa S , Hintsanen M , Jokela M , and Keltikangas-Järvinen L . 2012. Gender differences in teachers' perceptions of students' temperament, educational competence, and teachability. Br J Educ Psychol. 82(Pt 2):185-206.

O'Connor E . 2010. Teacher-child relationships as dynamic systems. J Sch Psychol. 48(3):187-218.

Okonofua JA and Eberhardt JL. 2015. Two strikes: race and the disciplining of young students. Psychol Sci. 2015 May26(5):617-24.

Okonofua JA, Paunesku D, Walton GM. 2016a. Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(19):5221-6

Okonofua JA, Walton GM, Eberhardt JL. 2016b. A Vicious Cycle: A Social–Psychological Account of Extreme Racial Disparities in School Discipline  Perspect Psychol Sci. 11(3):381-98.

Ravalier JM and Walsh J. 2018. Working conditions and stress in the English education system. Occup Med (Lond). 68(2):129-134.

Rimm-Kaufman SE , Curby TW , Grimm KJ , Nathanson L , Brock LL . 2009. The contribution of children's self-regulation and classroom quality to children's adaptive behaviors in the kindergarten classroom. Dev Psychol. 2009 Jul45(4):958-72.

Roorda DL, Koomen HMY, Spilt, JL, and Oort FJ. 2011 The Influence of Affective Teacher–Student Relationships on Students’ School Engagement and Achievement. Review of Educational Research 81 (4): 493-529.

Rudasill KM , Reio TG Jr , Stipanovic N , and Taylor JE . 2010. A longitudinal study of student-teacher relationship quality, difficult temperament, and risky behavior from childhood to early adolescence. J Sch Psychol. 48(5):389-412.

Saft EW and Pianta RC. 2001. Teachers’ perceptions of their relationships with student: Effects of child age, gender, and ethnicity of teachers and children. School Psychology Quarterly 16:125–141.

Schmitt MB, Pentimonti JM, and Justice LM. 2012. Teacher-child relationships, behavior regulation, and language gain among at-risk preschoolers. J Sch Psychol. 50(5):681-99.

Skipper Y and Douglas K. 2015. The influence of teacher feedback on children's perceptions of student-teacher relationships. Br J Educ Psychol. 85(3 ):276-88.

Skalická V, Belsky J, Stenseng F, and Wichstrøm L. 2015a. Preschool-age problem behavior and teacher-child conflict in school: direct and moderation effects by preschool organization. Child Dev. 86(3):955-64.

Skalická V, Belsky J, Stenseng F, and Wichstrøm L. 2015b. Reciprocal Relations Between Student-Teacher Relationship and Children's Behavioral Problems: Moderation by Child-Care Group Size. Child Dev. 86(5 ):1557-70.

Spilt JL, Koomen HM, Harrison LJ. 2015. Language development in the early school years: the importance of close relationships with teachers. Dev Psychol. 51(2):185-96.

Spilt JL , Hughes JN , Wu JY , and Kwok OM . 2012a. Dynamics of teacher-student relationships: stability and change across elementary school and the influence on children's academic success. Child Dev. 83(4):1180-95.

Spilt JL , Koomen HM , Thijs JT , and van der Leij A . 2012b. Supporting teachers' relationships with disruptive children: the potential of relationship-focused reflection. Attach Hum Dev. ꀔ(3):305-18.

Spilt JL , Koomen HM , and Jak S . 2012c. Are boys better off with male and girls with female teachers? A multilevel investigation of measurement invariance and gender match in teacher-student relationship quality. J Sch Psychol. 50(3):363-78.

Thijs J , Westhof S , and Koomen H . 2012. Ethnic incongruence and the student-teacher relationship: the perspective of ethnic majority teachers. J Sch Psychol. 50(2):257-73.

Vancraeyveldt C, Verschueren K, Wouters S, Van Craeyevelt S, Van den Noortgate W, and Colpin H. 2015. Improving teacher-child relationship quality and teacher-rated behavioral adjustment amongst externalizing preschoolers: effects of a two-component intervention. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 43(2 ):243-57.

Wu JY, Hughes JN, and Kwok OM. 2010. Teacher-student relationship quality type in elementary grades: Effects on trajectories for achievement and engagement. J Sch Psychol. 48(5):357-87.

Title image of teacher surrounded by young children by Jani Bryson / istock

Image of children in computer lab by monkeybusinessimages

Image of student-teacher hug by Julio Nohara / wikimedia commons

Image of high school teacher and student by monkeybusinessimages

Image of pensive boy by Charmaineswart / wikimedia commons

Image of students at blackboard by Masae / wikimedia commons


Going Deeper

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California conducted a statewide survey of students regarding their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a sampling of responses:

“I have to balance my classes, zoom meetings, homework, AP exams to study for and work. Currently I’m the only one working in my family therefore I provide any necessities for my family. I work during the night so it’s difficult to wake up early.”

“I have been home for over a month now ever since school ended on March 13th and I don’t go out at all not even for groceries because my parents believe it’s unsafe and I’m worried because my dad still works and has to ride the bus everyday with 20 other people and that’s so risky. School wise my teachers are giving me extra homework than what they actually do at school … I also have younger siblings and they have homework due online as well and because my parents barely understand technology I have to be like my siblings teacher and balancing both my education and my siblings is very difficult. I feel very stressed out because it’s too much to handle all at once.”

“My mom works at a hospital where she is exposed every day to the coronavirus and I’m worried something will happen to her.”

“Online work seems pointless. Everything is ‘busy work.’ I’m not learning anything. My senior year has been taken away from me and I have no motivation to finish it.”

“The amount of time that my family is spending together is making us more susceptible to fighting and we have no way to spend time apart so it turns into a cycle of me getting yelled at.”

“Hugging my friends, talking to teachers and sitting next to classmates are now luxuries. I have had dreams about hugging people and wake up crying.”

To get more reports like this one, click here to sign up for EdSource’s no-cost daily email on latest developments in education.


Block Reason: Access from your area has been temporarily limited for security reasons.
Time: Wed, 23 Jun 2021 1:52:44 GMT

About Wordfence

Wordfence is a security plugin installed on over 3 million WordPress sites. The owner of this site is using Wordfence to manage access to their site.

You can also read the documentation to learn about Wordfence's blocking tools, or visit wordfence.com to learn more about Wordfence.

Generated by Wordfence at Wed, 23 Jun 2021 1:52:44 GMT.
Your computer's time: .


Education Articles & More

If I asked you to tell me what you remembered most about your favorite teacher growing up, I bet you wouldn’t say much about the subject matter. Instead, I’d expect you to describe how he or she made you feel as you learned that subject matter—the sense of excitement or discovery you felt, or the safety to take chances and make mistakes, or the confidence that you were valued as a human being, warts and all.

According to research, few factors in education have a greater impact on a student’s educational experience than a caring relationship with his or her teacher.

© Jim Cummins/Corbis

One researcher described it this way: Imagine two teachers teaching the same lesson on poetic construction. One is very impatient with students and the other supportive. Knowing only that, we can probably guess which students learned the lesson better.

Science has found that students who have caring relationships with teachers are academically more successful and show greater “pro-social” (or kind, helpful) behavior. A caring teacher can transform the school experience especially for students who face enormous difficulties, such as dropping out or dysfunctional home lives. One student who faced these kinds of hardships told a researcher that the greatest thing a teacher can do is to care and to understand. “Because if not,” he said, “the kid will say, ‘Oh, they’re giving up on me, so I might as well give up on myself.’”

Fortunately, research has identified practical tips for teachers to help them build caring relationships with students. Here are some of the tips I find most important:

1) Get to know your students and the lives they live. This is especially important if your students are from a different cultural or socio-economic background than you. Numerous studies have shown that cultural misunderstanding between teachers and students can have a hugely negative impact on students’ educational experience. But research has also shown that teachers who visit students’ homes and spend time in their communities develop a deep awareness of students’ challenges and needs and are better able to help them.

GGSC Summer Institute for Educators

A six-day workshop to transform teachers' understanding of themselves and their students

If your time is limited, then ask students to complete an “interest inventory,” which can be as simple as having students write down their five favorite things to do. Their responses will give you ideas for making the curriculum more relevant to their lives—a sure method for letting students know you care about them.

2) Actively listen to students. A teacher who actively listens to students is listening for the meaning behind what students are saying, then checks in with them to make sure they’ve understood properly. This affirms students’ dignity and helps develop a trusting relationship between teachers and students.

If the chaos of the classroom doesn’t allow you to give this kind of focused listening to a student who really needs it, then set a time to talk when there are fewer distractions.

3) Ask students for feedback. Choose any topic—it doesn’t have to be academic—and have students write down, in a couple of sentences, what confuses or concerns them most about the topic. By considering their feedback, you are showing students that you value their opinions and experiences. It also creates a classroom culture where students feel safe to ask questions and take chances, which will help them grow academically.

4) Reflect on your own experience with care. Oftentimes, we unconsciously care for others the way we have been cared for—for better or worse. When one researcher interviewed four different teachers at the same school who all shared one particular student, she found that each teacher cared for the student in the way she had been cared for as a child. It didn’t even occur to the teachers to ask the parents—or the child himself—what the child’s needs might be. Instead, they made assumptions about the child’s background based on their own childhoods as a result, the child received four different types of care—which may not necessarily have been appropriate to his/her needs.

Reflecting on how you were cared for or not cared for as a child will give you insight into the kind of care you might be extending to your students, and allow you to adjust your care to fit their needs.

As teachers, we often don’t realize how even the smallest caring gesture can have a huge impact on our students. As evidence, I’d like to share the story of Sam, a high school student from south central Los Angeles who had transferred high schools three times before being interviewed by researchers for a study.

After years of feeling uncared for in school, Sam was very surprised when he received a phone call at home from his current school’s office, wanting to know why he was absent that day. His other schools, he said, never called to check on him. A small act of caring—but here’s how Sam said it made him feel:

When they call my house if I’m not here, they’re real friendly. My auntie has an answering machine, and sometimes I’ll hear a voice start to leave a message like ‘Hi Sam. If you’re there, we’re wondering why you’re not in school today…’ If I hear that, I pick up the phone and explain why I’m not there. And they believe me. They trust me, so I trust them.


Schools Now Demand More Supplies Than Parents Can Afford

Back to school season is a happy, hectic time. Kids enter new grades eager to meet new teachers and see old friends. Parents enjoy the return to a more rigid schedule, one that provides structure to family life after loose, fun summers. But what’s less exciting is the money they’re expected to shell out for the school supplies a new year demands. According to Junior Achievement USA, 60 percent of parents say that it’s a challenge to afford necessary school supplies.

And it’s not getting any easier. Communities in Schools, a non-profit organization that places staff in 2,300 schools nationwide, releases a report every summer known as the Backpack Index. It’s designed to estimate the financial burden on parents as they send their kids back to school.

To prepare the report, economists from Huntington Bank assemble a representative list of supplies and fees based upon lists from a cross-section of schools in eight states. They add up the fees along with the prices of moderately-priced versions of those supplies found online to come up with an estimated cost per student at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Over the past decade, the Backpack Index has shown that parents are shouldering a steadily increasing financial burden.

“As we have assessed the cost annually for the same supplies and fees over 11 years, we have seen significant outpacing of inflation,” said George Mokrzan, chief economist for Huntington Bank.

The price for necessary supplies is increasing, as is the amount of necessary supplies requested. “Year over year we are seeing is that schools are requiring much more of students,” said Steve Majors of Communities in Schools. Beyond the basics like pens and notebooks, more schools are mandating that students purchase expensive supplies like scientific calculators.

Schools are also charging more for extracurricular fees. “Studies have shown that kids who have access to those extracurricular activities are more well-rounded, are more emotionally grounded, and are better able to compete in the classroom and out in the workforce,” says Majors. Parents who understandably want their kids to have those advantages may choose to forgo purchasing other supplies in order to afford the fees.

These competing financial demands put many families in a tough situation.

“When a low-income family has to choose between whether or not they are going to go and fulfill the complete school supply list or put food on the table, that represents a larger burden than other families who might have the means to be able to do both things,” said Majors.

As more families struggle financially this time of year, a number of different entities have stepped in to help. On the front lines are teachers themselves.

A report from the federal National Center on Education Statistics showed that 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on supplies for their students. They spend an average of $479. Teachers in schools with at least 75 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch spend even more, $554.

But as recent teacher protests in Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia have shown, expecting underpaid public school teachers to foot the bill for school supplies is not a long-term fix.

So what are some potential solutions to this problem? Majors thinks that more could be done at the community level.

“Local business and local faith-based groups certainly should be partnering with the schools in their community to ensure that the kids in their community have the resources they need.” He points to community partnerships as a major reason Communities in Schools can provide students with supplies.

Other national organizations can also play a role. The Kids in Need Foundation, for example, distributes supplies directly to students through a network of 40 resource centers that serve communities where at least 70 percent of children are on federal nutrition programs. Some teachers use crowdfunding sites to raise money for supplies. “The most common supplies that teachers probably purchase would be writing tools and notebooks, a lot of basic supplies that every student absolutely needs,” said Devon Karbowski of AdoptAClassroom.org.

Yet while these private organizations undoubtedly do good work, they lack the scale to solve the larger problem.

“We consider ourselves more of a Band-Aid. We’re here to help teachers who have these high needs and are asking for help,” said Karbowski. Majors talks about the growth of Communities in Schools into 26 states and the District of Columbia over the past 40 years. “We’ve grown to meet the need, but there’s always more to be done.”

Thus far, government efforts have proved similarly inadequate.

Seventeen states will have sales tax holidays for back to school shopping this year. These holidays save parents money, but it’s not the tax but the cost of the supplies themselves that makes up the bulk of the back to school financial burden.

Karbowski and Majors are understandably reticent to make overtly political statements, but Majors did say “No one would dispute the fact that our schools and our students could benefit from more resources.” The scale of the problem and the ethos of public education being free and accessible to all suggest that the government must be at least part of the solution.

A survey of teachers by AdoptAClassroom.org found that the average budget teachers are given for school supplies is $212. If that were raised dramatically, teachers could buy supplies for all of their students instead of asking strangers on the Internet to help make up the gap.

Unfortunately, the situation seems to be trending in the wrong direction. In 31 states, per-pupil education funding is below 2008 levels. If states increased their education budgets, districts and schools would have more money to buy supplies, give teachers the budget to buy supplies, and/or support nonprofits that provide supplies to the neediest students.

As parents continue to struggle to supply their children, the effects are deeper than dollars and cents. “Teachers definitely talk about how it’s a lot more difficult to teach when their students don’t have the supplies they need,” Karbowski said. Majors adds that being unprepared has “a tangible but not quantifiable effect on the confidence of kids as they come into school.”

It’s a simple equation. Preparedness breeds confidence breeds academic success. So to ensure every kid can be successful, the people who lead public education must augment, if not outright replace, the efforts of teachers and nonprofits to supply students in need. Those kids will do better in school, and their families will have one less thing to worry about come back to school season.


About the Author

Whenever we promote success to students without first modeling it, we're seen as hypocrites in their eyes, even if they don't admit it. In addition, we lose credibility in the classroom.

I personally believe that, as teachers, others should want what we have. I'm not talking about material possessions, position, power, or perceived status I'm talking about good character. Character is something money can't buy, but everyone admires and respects -- even if they don't like you personally.

That is one of the most basic principles of successful teaching however, it's one of the most difficult lessons for new teachers to learn. The truth of the matter is, whenever we step into a classroom or in front of a group of students (especially middle and high school students), they're already sizing us up to see how they will treat and respond to us. If you don't believe me, then you've never been a substitute teacher -- or had one.

The #1 question a student has in his or her mind when first meeting you is Who are you? Trust me, you need to generate a response that's much greater than the sound of your name. Unless your last name is Winfrey, Gates, or Woods, you're going to have to earn the respect of your students.

Who you are to them must speak louder than the actual words you use. In other words, the presence of your character should speak before you even utter your first word. How you walk, look, stand, dress, act, speak, respond, and even smell when you enter your school always should produce the response, "I want that." Or, at the very least, it should say, "She's different."

Now understand, that doesn't necessarily mean you will be respected, but at least you will gain your students' attention long enough for them to listen to what you have to say about respect. If students get the impression you don't respect yourself, they'll conclude that they don't have to respect you, either.

The next couple of questions students ask themselves to determine whether or not they will respect you is, "Why is what you're teaching me important?" and "Do you mean what you say?"

I think you can draw your own conclusions about why your answers to those questions are critical to building your credibility in the classroom. I will tell you that you must immediately address all three of those questions, and you must do it clearly, confidently, and concisely. Your respect and your reputation in the classroom depend on it. So teach with passion, and remember to practice what you teach.


What can schools do to build resilience in their students?

After each school shooting, violent classroom episode, or student suicide—all too common today—there is talk about resilience in schools. Why is it that some students bounce back from adversity and others do not? Coping and functioning well despite adversity or trauma is resilience.

Schools are recognizing the importance of students’ social and emotional well-being as well as a supportive school climate, more generally, in promoting positive academic and behavioral outcomes. In fact, at the September convening of the U.S. Department of Education Safe and Supportive Schools federal grantees in Washington, states presented data indicating improvements in both academic achievement as well as in student behaviors from three years ago—the point at which the federal grants began that enabled many high poverty school districts in 11 states to implement school climate surveys and programs. Numerous studies show that programs and practices that build resilience are particularly effective in improving the academic performance of low achieving students.

There are a variety of models of resilience out there, each with their research base, and many have interventions to go along with them. Many school districts are asking, “How can we sort through all of these models and interventions to choose the right one for our students?” Child Trends’ researchers offered help to 11 states who have received federal Safe and Supportive School grants, by synthesizing the research and resources available on resilience in schools.

Common Components of Resilience

While each model has its favorite components of resilience, we looked across the various models and found that the following components kept re-appearing.

Individual Behaviors, Attitudes, and Competencies

  • Physical health supports resilience, including getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and enjoying good health.
  • Social and emotional competencies that promote resilience include stress management a sense of control over one’s life positive relationship to self including self-efficacy, self-regulation, and self-esteem hopefulness and goal-setting with the motivation and perseverance needed to reach those goals and social competence.
  • Cognitive competencies that help include insightfulness and general skills such as problem-solving, information processing, and intellectual ability.

Family, School, and Community Support

  • A positive and supportive family, including warmth, stability, cohesiveness, a positive parenting style, and high expectations.
  • Presence of a caring adult outside the family, such as a teacher, counselor, coach, or mentor
  • Belonging to groups and institutions, like schools, clubs, organizations, and religious communities.

Strategies that Build Resilience in Schools

Child Trends and our partners on the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments have compiled resources that can help schools to build resilience in their students. They can be found at http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/hot-topics/response-and-resiliency.Looking across these resources, here are some strategies that schools can use to build resilience in students.

  • Promote positive social connections between staff and students, among students, and between schools and home.
  • Nurture positive qualities, such as empathy, optimism, or forgiveness, and give students a chance to use them.
  • Notice and reinforce qualities that are key to resilience.
  • Avoid focusing on failure or negative behaviors.
  • Teach by example, which is an effective approach train staff to develop the same qualities.
  • Apply restorative justice techniques can help schools by giving students a structured opportunity to work difficulties out by encouraging reflection and empathy.
  • Foster feelings of competence and self-efficacy.
  • Set high expectations for students teach them to set realistic, achievable goals, and also how to reach out for help when needed.

Strategies to Help Students Recover from a Traumatic Event

In addition, here are strategies that schools can use to help students recover from a traumatic event:

  • Supportive relationships are key to recovery: Make sure students have time to talk with caring adults and have the opportunity to express their feelings and ask questions.
  • Schools can provide supports to parents by sponsoring parent meetings.
  • Stay flexible! Children’s responses to a traumatic event will be varied not just in intensity, but also in recovery time it is important for schools to avoid a one-size-fits-all response to recovery.
  • After a traumatic event, students may feel nervous, anxious, or unsafe so try to reassure students that they are safe, and keep to familiar routines.
  • School administrators can provide extra support to teachers, such as training, time to unwind and ways to connect with other teachers for support.

Programs that work in schools to build resilience in schools can be found in the Child Trends What Works database as well as SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Programs and Practices and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Measures of components of resilience that can be used in surveys and program evaluations can be found on Child Trends positive indicators website.


The fact is that all students don't get equal treatment. They don't get an equal opportunity to forge close, supportive relationships with their teachers.

That's because teachers are human beings subject to stresses strain, and the teaching profession is a stressful one.

In addition, teachers often lack training in the best ways to handle discipline.

And teachers, like the rest of us, suffer from unconscious biases that affect the way they respond to children.

So we need to get serious about helping teachers and students overcome these barriers. Let's take a closer look at the problems.

1. We need to help teachers cope with job stress

Building positive student-teacher relationships requires patience and good humor -- qualities that tend to fizzle out when you're feeling stressed. And unfortunately, teaching is a stressful profession.

For instance, in the United States, a study of an urban, Midwestern school district found that 93% of elementary teachers were "highly stressed," and one third of these teachers were experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout (Herman et al 2018). 

A subsequent study of Midwestern middle school teachers reported similarly grim statistics (Herman et al 2019).

In the United Kingdom, one  survey of school teachers found that "psychosocial working conditions were at a poor level"  (Ravalier and Walsh 2018). Another U.K. survey reports that more than half of all teachers have considered leaving the profession because of "mental health and well-being pressures."

So if we want to help teachers develop positive relationships with their students, we need to address sources of job stress, like poor administrative support, poor teacher-parent communication, and insufficient funding.

In a large U.S. study, positive student-teacher relationships were more common for kids who had parents who stayed in frequent contact with teachers. In addition, e lementary school students were more likely to maintain positive teacher relationships over time when their teachers received higher salaries (O'Conno r 2010).

2. We need to provide teachers with specialized training for coping with defiance and disruptive classroom behavior.

It's clear that teachers need and deserve professional guidance for handling classroom conflicts in positive ways. When experts in the Netherlands and the United States have offered such specialized training, student-teacher relationships have improved (Spilt et al 2012b Capella et al 2012).

3. Schools need to promote practices that make students feel supported and encouraged, not embarrassed and shamed.

There is good evidence on this point: Teachers should use positive, constructive feedback, and avoid personal criticism that shames, demeans, or belittles students.

For example, in recent experiments, British children (aged 7-11 years) were presented with two different kinds of teacher criticism.

One involved personal criticism (e.g.,"I'm disappointed in you.")

The other was focused on the behavior that the teacher wanted to correct ("Can you think of a better way to do it?")

Did the type of approach matter? It seems to have made a difference to children's perceptions (Skipper and Douglas 2015).

The kids who received personal criticism concluded that their teachers liked them less, and the experience cast a long shadow: Even after success in a subsequent task, the kids continued to view their student-teacher relationship in a negative light.

Such results are consistent with studies of younger children. Certain types of  criticism can sap motivation,  leaving kids feeling disheartened, frustrated, or helpless.

Do these techniques undermine student-teacher relationships?

I can't find any studies addressing this for children. But studies of college undergraduates confirm that antagonistic teacher behaviors -- like embarrassing students, or dismissing their contributions -- turn students off.

They respond more negatively to teachers, and become less engaged in the material. And these effects are evident even when students aren't themselves the target of a teacher's antagonism. Observing the embarrassment of other students is enough  (Broeckelman-Post et al 2015 Goodboy et al 2018).

4. We need to train teachers to identify and counteract biases

Teachers are merely human. So like the rest of us, they harbor social biases they've absorbed from the popular culture -- stereotypes that can creep into our thinking whether or not we're consciously aware of it. 

And unfortunately, these implicit biases can give rise to stark inequalities in how students are treated.

For example, Jason Okonofua and his colleagues have documented "extreme racial disparities in school disciplinary action in the United States," and the researchers have confirmed one important cause: Teachers tend to perceive the misbehavior of Black students as more troubling (Okonofua et al 2016b).

In experiments, teachers who were asked to make judgments about hypothetical students were more likely to recommend severe punishment for repeat offenders who were਋lack, rather than White (Okonofua and Eberhardt 2015).

The descriptions of the students -- and their classroom behavior -- was identical. Only their racial identities were different, and that was enough to trigger biased reactions in the teachers. 

Children may also be treated differently depending on other factors, like socioeconomic status.ਏor instance, a recent experiment in Switzerland found that teachers were more likely to assign students of lower socioeconomic status to lower academic tracks -- even when their academic records were identical with those of high socioeconomic status students (Batruch et al 2018).

So social biases can create major barriers to the development of quality student-teacher relationships. How can we fix the problem, and address this fundamental unfairness?

The good news is that implicit biases don't have to dictate how we behave. They merely represent our knee-jerk reactions -- the conclusions that our unconscious minds jump to before we use our deliberative, conscious minds to mull the question over. 

So we can override our knee-jerk reactions, but we have to actively monitor ourselves,ਊnd make a practice of questioning our initial reactions.

Then what? We need to practice empathy, and take a constructive problem-solving approach to perceived misbehavior.

When Jason Okonofua and his colleagues coached middle school teachers to replace punitive discipline policies with empathy and problem solving, student-teacher relationships improved. And school suspension rates were cut in half (Okonofua et al 2016a).

Employing the principles of "positive parenting" in the classroom can help ensure that every child gets the support he or she deserves.

5. We need to help teachers bridge the culture gap

Sometimes students and teachers come from the same cultural background. But often they don't, and that can affect the quality of communication. 

For instance, people from different cultures express emotion in somewhat different ways, and it can lead to missed signals.

When researchers compared Turkish immigrant teachers with native Dutch teachers, they found that Turkish immigrant teachers were more likely to detect anxiety and depression in Turkish immigrant children. Native Dutch teachers didn't pick up on the same cues (Crijnen et al 2000). 

And cultural differences can affect the way we use and interpret language, leading to fundamental misunderstandings. 

Writing about the United States in 1988, educational researcher Lisa Delpit noted that the White American teachers she observed addressed their students in a roundabout way. Verbal directives were couched as suggestions or questions, like, "Is this where the scissors belong?"

By contrast, Delpit wrote, many Black American teachers stated the message more directly, (e.g., "Put those scissors on that shelf,") and the difference may have had important consequences.

Kids who'd been raised to respond to explicit directives may not have recognized a teacher’s question for what it really was – a veiled command. Kids accustomed to indirect commands may have interpreted imperative language ("Do this") as harsh or angry. Either way, there was potential for misunderstanding and trouble.

So we need to realize that teaching isn't as straightforward as it may seem. Teachers need to tune into the cultural assumptions of their students, and parents need to communicate with teachers about misunderstandings they perceive. Taking the time and effort to learn about cultural differences isn't a frill. It's crucial to successful education.

And what should we do when a relationship just isn't working?

When -- despite our best efforts -- relationships don't improve, I think we're justified in considering the option of classroom re-assignment. For some kids, there is lot at stake. 

And for the rest of us, it's time to reconsider the way our schools are organized. 

For example, is early education too regimented for naturally restless young children? Especially young boys? 

During the early years of schooling, girls outperform boys in attentiveness, task persistence, impulse control, and social skills (McWayne et al 2004 Rimm-Kaufman et al 2009).ਊs a result, girls may find it easier to adapt to school, which could explain why girls are more likely to forge high quality relationships with teachers (Mulolla et al 2012). 

Do we simply accept this as the way of the world, or do we decide to change the nature of early schooling so that it's easier for young children to cooperate and follow the rules?

And what about school policies that prevent teachers from offering physical reassurance to their students -- like a pat on the shoulder? Do such rules interfere with the development of quality student-teacher relationships?

What about the expectations of mainstream, secondary schools -- where students are bustled from classroom to classroom, rarely getting the chance to develop personal relationships with their teachers? Are we depriving students an important source of motivation and resilience?

These are questions worth asking.

Copyright © 2006-2021 by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D. all rights reserved.
For educational purposes only. If you suspect you have a medical problem, please see a physician.

References: Student-teacher relationships

Ahnert L , Milatz A , Kappler G , Schneiderwind J ,  and Fischer R . 2013. The impact of teacher-child relationships on child cognitive performance as explored by a priming paradigm. Dev Psychol. 49(3):554-67.

Ahnert L , Harwardt-Heinecke E , Kappler G , Eckstein-Madry T , and Milatz A . 2012. Student-teacher relationships and classroom climate in first grade: how do they relate to students' stress regulation? Attach Hum Dev.   14(3):249-63.

Barber BK and Olsen JA. 2004. Assessing the transitions to middle and high school. Journal of Adolescent Research. 19:3–30.

Batruch A, Autin F, Bataillard F, and Butera F. 2018. School Selection and the Social Class Divide: How Tracking Contributes to the Reproduction of Inequalities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Broeckelman-Post MA, Tacconelli A, Guzmán J, Rios M, Calero B and Latif F. 2016. Teacher Misbehavior and its Effects on Student Interest and Engagement Communication Education, 65(2): 204-212 2016.

Buyse E , Verschueren K , Doumen S , Van Damme J , and Maes F . 2008. Classroom problem behavior and teacher-child relationships in kindergarten: the moderating role of classroom climate. J Sch Psychol. 46(4):367-91.

Christian Elledge L, Elledge AR, Newgent RA, and Cavell TA. 2015. Social Risk and Peer Victimization in Elementary School Children: The Protective Role of Teacher-Student Relationships. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2015 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Corbin CM, Alamos P, Lowenstein AE, Downer JT, Brown JL. 2019. The role of teacher-student relationships in predicting teachers' personal accomplishment and emotional exhaustion. J Sch Psychol. 77:1-12.

Crijnen AA , Bengi-Arslan L , and Verhulst FC . 2000. Teacher-reported problem behaviour in Turkish immigrant and Dutch children: a cross-cultural comparison. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 102(6):439-44.

de Wilde A, Koot HM, and van Lier PA. 2015. Developmental Links Between Children's Working Memory and their Social Relations with Teachers and Peers in the Early School Years. J Abnorm Child Psychol . [ Epub ahead of print].

Delpit LD. 1988. The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review 58(3): p.280.

Gregory A and Weinstein RS. 2004. Connection and Regulation at Home and in School: Predicting Growth in Achievement for Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research 19(4): 405-427.

Hamre BK and Pianta RC. 2006. Student-teacher relationships. In: Bear GC, Minke KM, editors. Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention. National Association of School Psychologists Washington, DC, pp. 59–71.

Hamre BK and Pianta RC . 2001. Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children's school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Dev. 72(2):625-38.

Herman KC, Hickmon-Rosa J, Reinke WM. 2017. Empirically Derived Profiles of Teacher Stress, Burnout, Self-Efficacy, and Coping and Associated Student Outcomes. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 20 (2): 90.

Herman KC, Prewett SL, Eddy CL, Savala A, and Reinke WM. 2019. Profiles of middle school teacher stress and coping: Concurrent and prospective correlates. Journal of School Psychology 78: 54-68.

Hughes JN , Wu JY , Kwok OM , Villarreal V , and   Johnson AY . 2012. Indirect Effects of Child Reports of Teacher-Student Relationship on Achievement. J Educ Psychol. 򠄄(2):350-365. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Lisonbee JA , Mize J , Payne AL , and Granger DA . 2008. Children's cortisol and the quality of teacher--child relationships in child care. Child Dev. 79(6):1818-32.

Maldonado-Carreño C and Votruba-Drzal E . 2011. Teacher-child relationships and the development of academic and behavioral skills during elementary school: a within- and between-child analysis. Child Dev. ꂂ(2):601-16.

McWayne CM , Fantuzzo JW and McDermott PA . 2004. Preschool competency in context: an investigation of the unique contribution of child competencies to early academic success. Dev Psychol. 40(4):633-45.

Mullola S , Ravaja N , Lipsanen J , Alatupa S , Hintsanen M , Jokela M , and Keltikangas-Järvinen L . 2012. Gender differences in teachers' perceptions of students' temperament, educational competence, and teachability. Br J Educ Psychol. 82(Pt 2):185-206.

O'Connor E . 2010. Teacher-child relationships as dynamic systems. J Sch Psychol. 48(3):187-218.

Okonofua JA and Eberhardt JL. 2015. Two strikes: race and the disciplining of young students. Psychol Sci. 2015 May26(5):617-24.

Okonofua JA, Paunesku D, Walton GM. 2016a. Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(19):5221-6

Okonofua JA, Walton GM, Eberhardt JL. 2016b. A Vicious Cycle: A Social–Psychological Account of Extreme Racial Disparities in School Discipline  Perspect Psychol Sci. 11(3):381-98.

Ravalier JM and Walsh J. 2018. Working conditions and stress in the English education system. Occup Med (Lond). 68(2):129-134.

Rimm-Kaufman SE , Curby TW , Grimm KJ , Nathanson L , Brock LL . 2009. The contribution of children's self-regulation and classroom quality to children's adaptive behaviors in the kindergarten classroom. Dev Psychol. 2009 Jul45(4):958-72.

Roorda DL, Koomen HMY, Spilt, JL, and Oort FJ. 2011 The Influence of Affective Teacher–Student Relationships on Students’ School Engagement and Achievement. Review of Educational Research 81 (4): 493-529.

Rudasill KM , Reio TG Jr , Stipanovic N , and Taylor JE . 2010. A longitudinal study of student-teacher relationship quality, difficult temperament, and risky behavior from childhood to early adolescence. J Sch Psychol. 48(5):389-412.

Saft EW and Pianta RC. 2001. Teachers’ perceptions of their relationships with student: Effects of child age, gender, and ethnicity of teachers and children. School Psychology Quarterly 16:125–141.

Schmitt MB, Pentimonti JM, and Justice LM. 2012. Teacher-child relationships, behavior regulation, and language gain among at-risk preschoolers. J Sch Psychol. 50(5):681-99.

Skipper Y and Douglas K. 2015. The influence of teacher feedback on children's perceptions of student-teacher relationships. Br J Educ Psychol. 85(3 ):276-88.

Skalická V, Belsky J, Stenseng F, and Wichstrøm L. 2015a. Preschool-age problem behavior and teacher-child conflict in school: direct and moderation effects by preschool organization. Child Dev. 86(3):955-64.

Skalická V, Belsky J, Stenseng F, and Wichstrøm L. 2015b. Reciprocal Relations Between Student-Teacher Relationship and Children's Behavioral Problems: Moderation by Child-Care Group Size. Child Dev. 86(5 ):1557-70.

Spilt JL, Koomen HM, Harrison LJ. 2015. Language development in the early school years: the importance of close relationships with teachers. Dev Psychol. 51(2):185-96.

Spilt JL , Hughes JN , Wu JY , and Kwok OM . 2012a. Dynamics of teacher-student relationships: stability and change across elementary school and the influence on children's academic success. Child Dev. 83(4):1180-95.

Spilt JL , Koomen HM , Thijs JT , and van der Leij A . 2012b. Supporting teachers' relationships with disruptive children: the potential of relationship-focused reflection. Attach Hum Dev. ꀔ(3):305-18.

Spilt JL , Koomen HM , and Jak S . 2012c. Are boys better off with male and girls with female teachers? A multilevel investigation of measurement invariance and gender match in teacher-student relationship quality. J Sch Psychol. 50(3):363-78.

Thijs J , Westhof S , and Koomen H . 2012. Ethnic incongruence and the student-teacher relationship: the perspective of ethnic majority teachers. J Sch Psychol. 50(2):257-73.

Vancraeyveldt C, Verschueren K, Wouters S, Van Craeyevelt S, Van den Noortgate W, and Colpin H. 2015. Improving teacher-child relationship quality and teacher-rated behavioral adjustment amongst externalizing preschoolers: effects of a two-component intervention. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 43(2 ):243-57.

Wu JY, Hughes JN, and Kwok OM. 2010. Teacher-student relationship quality type in elementary grades: Effects on trajectories for achievement and engagement. J Sch Psychol. 48(5):357-87.

Title image of teacher surrounded by young children by Jani Bryson / istock

Image of children in computer lab by monkeybusinessimages

Image of student-teacher hug by Julio Nohara / wikimedia commons

Image of high school teacher and student by monkeybusinessimages

Image of pensive boy by Charmaineswart / wikimedia commons

Image of students at blackboard by Masae / wikimedia commons


2. Make learning activities more active.

Create gallery walks in which children must travel around the room to observe visual aids for different parts of a lesson. Have children form groups to discuss and answer lesson questions, then have them write their answers on the board. Play board games tied to the current lesson and include spaces that call for students to do push-ups or jumping jacks. Making children carry their assignments to your desk, rather than passing them forward, can also introduce more movement into their day.


Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform

Teachers interact differently with students expected to succeed. But they can be trained to change those classroom behaviors.

In my Morning Edition story today, I look at expectations — specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach.

The first psychologist to systematically study this was a Harvard professor named Robert Rosenthal, who in 1964 did a wonderful experiment at an elementary school south of San Francisco.

The idea was to figure out what would happen if teachers were told that certain kids in their class were destined to succeed, so Rosenthal took a normal IQ test and dressed it up as a different test.

"It was a standardized IQ test, Flanagan's Test of General Ability," he says. "But the cover we put on it, we had printed on every test booklet, said 'Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.' "

Rosenthal told the teachers that this very special test from Harvard had the very special ability to predict which kids were about to be very special — that is, which kids were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ.

After the kids took the test, he then chose from every class several children totally at random. There was nothing at all to distinguish these kids from the other kids, but he told their teachers that the test predicted the kids were on the verge of an intense intellectual bloom.

As he followed the children over the next two years, Rosenthal discovered that the teachers' expectations of these kids really did affect the students. "If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ," he says.

But just how do expectations influence IQ?

As Rosenthal did more research, he found that expectations affect teachers' moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

7 Ways Teachers Can Change Their Expectations

Researcher Robert Pianta offered these suggestions for teachers who want to change their behavior toward problem students:

  1. Watch how each student interacts. How do they prefer to engage? What do they seem to like to do? Observe so you can understand all they are capable of.
  2. Listen. Try to understand what motivates them, what their goals are and how they view you, their classmates and the activities you assign them.
  3. Engage. Talk with students about their individual interests. Don't offer advice or opinions – just listen.
  4. Experiment: Change how you react to challenging behaviors. Rather than responding quickly in the moment, take a breath. Realize that their behavior might just be a way of reaching out to you.
  5. Meet: Each week, spend time with students outside of your role as "teacher." Let the students choose a game or other nonacademic activity they'd like to do with you. Your job is to NOT teach but watch, listen and narrate what you see, focusing on students' interests and what they do well. This type of activity is really important for students with whom you often feel in conflict or who you avoid.
  6. Reach out: Know what your students like to do outside of school. Make it a project for them to tell you about it using some medium in which they feel comfortable: music, video, writing, etc. Find both individual and group time for them to share this with you. Watch and listen to how skilled, motivated and interested they can be. Now think about school through their eyes.
  7. Reflect: Think back on your own best and worst teachers, bosses or supervisors. List five words for each that describe how you felt in your interactions with them. How did the best and the worst make you feel? What specifically did they do or say that made you feel that way? Now think about how your students would describe you. Jot down how they might describe you and why. How do your expectations or beliefs shape how they look at you? Are there parallels in your beliefs and their responses to you?

"It's not magic, it's not mental telepathy," Rosenthal says. "It's very likely these thousands of different ways of treating people in small ways every day."

So since expectations can change the performance of kids, how do we get teachers to have the right expectations? Is it possible to change bad expectations? That was the question that brought me to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where I met Robert Pianta.

Pianta, dean of the Curry School, has studied teachers for years, and one of the first things he told me when we sat down together was that it is truly hard for teachers to control their expectations.

"It's really tough for anybody to police their own beliefs," he said. "But think about being in a classroom with 25 kids. The demands on their thinking are so great."

Still, people have tried. The traditional way, Pianta says, has been to sit teachers down and try to change their expectations through talking to them.

"For the most part, we've tried to convince them that the beliefs they have are wrong," he says. "And we've done most of that convincing using information."

But Pianta has a different idea of how to go about changing teachers' expectations. He says it's not effective to try to change their thoughts the key is to train teachers in an entirely new set of behaviors.

For years, Pianta and his colleagues at the Curry School have been collecting videotapes of teachers teaching. By analyzing these videos in minute ways, they've developed a good idea of which teaching behaviors are most effective. They can also see, Pianta tells me, how teacher expectations affect both their behaviors and classroom dynamics.

Pianta gives one very specific example: the belief that boys are disruptive and need to be managed.

"Say I'm a teacher and I ask a question in class, and a boy jumps up, sort of vociferously . 'I know the answer! I know the answer! I know the answer!' " Pianta says.

"If I believe boys are disruptive and my job is control the classroom, then I'm going to respond with, 'Johnny! You're out of line here! We need you to sit down right now.' "

This, Pianta says, will likely make the boy frustrated and emotionally disengaged. He will then be likely to escalate his behavior, which will simply confirm the teacher's beliefs about him, and the teacher and kid are stuck in an unproductive loop.

But if the teacher doesn't carry those beliefs into the classroom, then the teacher is unlikely to see that behavior as threatening.

Instead it's: " 'Johnny, tell me more about what you think is going on . But also, I want you to sit down quietly now as you tell that to me,' " Pianta says.

"Those two responses," he says, "are dictated almost entirely by two different interpretations of the same behavior that are driven by two different sets of beliefs."

To see if teachers' beliefs would be changed by giving them a new set of teaching behaviors, Pianta and his colleagues recently did a study.

They took a group of teachers, assessed their beliefs about children, then gave a portion of them a standard pedagogy course, which included information about appropriate beliefs and expectations. Another portion got intense behavioral training, which taught them a whole new set of skills based on those appropriate beliefs and expectations.

For this training, the teachers videotaped their classes over a period of months and worked with personal coaches who watched those videos, then gave them recommendations about different behaviors to try.

After that intensive training, Pianta and his colleagues analyzed the beliefs of the teachers again. What he found was that the beliefs of the trained teachers had shifted way more than the beliefs of teachers given a standard informational course.

This is why Pianta thinks that to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors.

"It's far more powerful to work from the outside in than the inside out if you want to change expectations," he says.

In other words, if you want to change a mind, simply talking to it might not be enough.