In 2000, the Program for International Student Assessment conducted a study on 3,268 15-year-old students from 121 schools across the United States. The study showed that an emotional engagement between a student and a teacher is just as important as an academic engagement.
Throughout the years, it appears that students and teachers have developed a more personal relationship with one another resulting in improved academic achievement. For example, students often go to their teacher for advice or to talk instead of talking to a guidance counselor or parent because they feel comfortable talking with their teachers, who are also more accessible.
Several students at Southmoreland High School said they seek advice from their teachers regarding issues that they may not be able to talk about with another adult.
Sophomore Sahara Willard sought out someone to talk to when things in her life took a turn and found that person in Mrs. Denise Puskar.
“Personally, I do prefer talking to her more than a parent” about certain issues, said Willard. “Therefore, it’s easier to get an outsider’s opinion.”
Science teacher Mr. Sean Cartwright said that when teachers and students have a positive bond, it creates a more supportive environment. When a student is engaged in something academically knowing they are in a positive environment, it can push them to move in a positive direction, he said.
“I do think that if a student has a personal connection with a teacher that they will feel more comfortable with it could lead to academic improvement,” said Mr. Cartwright. “With a more personal relationship, a student might be more inclined to seek help with a topic, when otherwise they may not.”
Motivation is one of the main roles in academic achievement. Motivational theorists suggest that a students’ perception of their relationship with their teacher will direct them to be more motivated to engage in their academic improvement.
“It is good to have a good student-teacher relationship because when they feel good they can learn the topics and academics they struggle with,” said sophomore Ryan Cameron.
“With a more personal relationship, a student might be more inclined to seek help with a topic, when otherwise they may not,” said Mr. Cartwright. When a student takes to time to seek help from a teacher, they may solve their problems and “it alleviates stress on the student and then they typically re-engage in school.”