Title

Teacher-student relationships in primary schools in Perth

Date of Award

1-1-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

Abstract

This study investigated teacher-student relationships at Perth metropolitan schools in Western Australia. From the literature, three key social and emotional aspects that affect teacher-student relationships, namely, Connectedness, Availability and Communication, were identified as important to good, positive teacher-student relationships. Data were collected in four parts: (1) through a teacher questionnaire; (2) through a student questionnaire; (3) through teacher interviews; and (4) through student interviews. The three relationship aspects formed the structure of a teacher questionnaire in which ten stem-items were conceptualised from easy to hard - four stem-items for Connectedness, three for Availability, and three for Communication - and answered in three perspectives: (1) an idealistic attitude, this is what I would like to happen; (2) a self-perceived Capability, this is what I am capable of, and (3) Actual Behaviour, this is what actually happens, using three ordered response categories: not at all or some of the time (score 1), most of the time (score 2), and almost always (score 3). The same three aspects formed the structure of a student questionnaire in which ten stem-items were conceptualised from easy to hard and answered in two perspectives: (1)a realistic view, this is what does happen; and (2) an idealistic view, this is what I wish would happen. Questionnaire data were collected from 43 primary teachers concerning 139 teacher-student relationships and 139 primary school students. Interview data were collected from 25 primary teachers and 139 students gave either, or both, a brief written comment and some verbal answers to relationship questions.

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