Amicable student-teacher relationships (STRs) contribute to students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development. In order to facilitate positive STRs, it is important to understand effective practices from past rigorous studies. A recent meta-analysis, published in Review of Educational Research, aims to identify the most effective and the most common practice elements for school- and class-wide STR programs.
This meta-analysis reviews randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental designs within the PreK-12 realm. After applying inclusion criteria, researchers from the University of Minnesota identified 21 studies and 13 unique STR programs. STR was measured by a teacher-reported 28-item scale that assessed their interpersonal relationships with students.
- On average, the combined weighted effect size shows that the included programs had a modest effect size on overall STR (ES=+0.26).
- The authors also highlighted two universal programs that demonstrate the largest effect sizes: Establish-Maintain-Restore(ES=+0.64) and BRIDGE (ES=+0.65).
Apart from program-based analysis, the authors also explored the effectiveness of different practice types.
- Understandably, preventative strategies that aim to bolster positive STRs (ES=+0.22) are more effective than reactive strategies which try to repair STRs after conflicts (ES=-0.05).
- Moreover, programs using direct practices are more promising than those using indirect practices. The most common proactive direct practices include praise, respect, spending time, and building personal connections. The most common proactive indirect practices include establishing classroom rules and parental involvement. The most common reactive practices include positive discipline strategies, feedback, and rewards.
Interestingly, to repair STRs, teachers could also suggest a “fresh start” by saying that “I know we had a rough day yesterday, but I am so glad that you are in my class today.” Lastly, the researchers suggest incorporating these strategies into teacher professional development to prepare teachers with STR enhancement skills.
Source (Open Access): Kincade, L., Cook, C., & Goerdt, A. (2020). Meta-analysis and common practice elements of universal approaches to improving student-teacher relationships. Review of Educational Research, 90(5), 710-748.