Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts


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.