An examination of the student and teacher behaviors that contribute to good student-teacher relationships in large urban high schools
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This study examined the behaviors that students and teachers considered important for good student-teacher relationships in large urban high schools. The two research questions that framed this study were: (a) From the perspectives of students and teachers in large urban high schools, what behaviors contribute to good student-teacher relationships? and (b) What student and teacher behaviors contribute to good relationships in large urban high schools? In order to answer these questions, teachers (N = 103) from 11 different content areas in 8 high schools, and students (N = 274) in 6 high schools were administered online surveys. Five students and five teachers were also interviewed. Factor analyses were conducted on survey data. Seven factors were identified from the student survey data. These were: (a) Providing academic and personal support for students, (b) Showing concern for and interest in students, (c) Motivating students and attending to their personal interests, (d) Treating students with respect, (e) Being compassionate to students, (f) Being accessible to students, and (g) Understanding and valuing students' opinions and feelings. The themes that emerged from the student interviews were: (a) Providing social and academic support, (b) Engaging students in learning activities, (c) Expressing high expectations and encouragement, and (d) Treating students with respect (like adults). Three factors were identified from the teacher surveys. These were: (a) Demonstrating engagement and interest in school work, (b) Being respectful, rule-abiding and cooperative, and (c) Demonstrating positive social behaviors. The themes that emerged from the teacher interviews were: (a) Having a sense of humor (understanding the teacher's humor), (b) Showing respect, (c) Trying hard in class, and (d) Talking to teachers. It was found that student and teacher behaviors were influenced by one another and that good student-teacher relationships were easily established.