Teacher-Student Relationships

Authored by: Kathryn R. Wentzel

Handbook of Motivation at School

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138776166
eBook ISBN: 9781315773384
Adobe ISBN:


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There is growing consensus that the nature and quality of children’s relationships with their teachers play a critical and central role in motivating and engaging students to learn (Becker & Luthar, 2002; Pianta, Hamre, & Stuhlman, 2003; Stipek, 2004). Effective teachers are typically described as those who develop relationships with students that are emotionally close, safe, and trusting, that provide access to instrumental help, and that foster a more general ethos of community and caring in classrooms. These relationship qualities are believed to support the development of students’ emotional well-being and positive sense of self, motivational orientations for social and academic outcomes, and actual social and academic skills. They also provide a context for communicating positive and high expectations for performance and teaching students what they need to know to become knowledgeable and productive citizens.

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