04 SES 08 A, Re-Examining Support in the Light of Inclusive Education
Studies of the relation between students and teachers have a long tradition in educational research (Davis, 2003; La Guardia and Patrick, 2008; Hattie, 2008; Roorda, Koomen, Split & Oort, 2011).The quality of the teacher-student relationship is linked to many different factors central to a good learning environment in school.
Bru & Tuen (1999) found a strong connection between the degree of emotional support and the degree of academic support, structural support (classroom management), relevance (based on the student's interest and experience) and participation (student responsibility, participation and influence). Teachers' attitudes towards a student may also seem be essential for the student’s relationship with fellow students. Students who experience low support from their teachers often have a poorer relationship with their peers (Wentzel & Asher, 1995, Hamre & Pianta, 2001, Mercer & DeRosier, 2010).The quality of the relationship between teacher and student is not occurring in a vacuum, but is one of several key factors that together form the students' overall learning environment. Most children meet many teachers during their school hours. The pupils' motivation and commitment to school may change from year to year by exchange of teachers. An altered teacher-student relationship may have major consequences for the students' learning and emotional development.
In this paper, we will address the connection between teacher support and students’ academic achievements and also how teacher support and support from others influence on the students’ intrinsic motivation.
This paper reports from a project in Norwegian lower and upper secondary schools where students in three waves within three years were answering questionnaires on their life at school and their relations to teachers, parents and peers. 653 students from 11 schools participated in lower secondary school (Grade10), 1352 in the first year of upper secondary school and 982 in the second year of upper secondary school. 468 students participated in all three data collections. They were all students on the academic track in upper secondary school. All data were collected manually by presence in class of the project team, and analyzed with SPSS. There were only minor differences between the group of students who participated all years and the total group of students who took part in the study each year. In this paper, we have analyzed the total group of students for each data collection. We have combined academic and emotional teacher support (Malecki & Demary, 2002, OECD,2009) and used eight different items to measure teacher support. Examples: “My teachers care about me”, “My teachers will continue to help me until I understand”. Social support from peers was measured with four items from Malecki and Demary (2002). Example: «Other students in my class are nice to me». Support from parents was measured by 4 items (Malecki & Demary, 2002). Example: “My parents support me if I have troubles”. Intrinsic motivation was measured by four items (Deci Ryan, 1985). Example: “I like schoolwork”
The students were divided into 4 groups according to their marks in the different grades. We found a significant (p<.001) correlation between experienced teacher support and students achievements at school. A one-way ANOVA test showed that the students with the lowest academic achievement reported on low teacher support compared with students with high academic achievement. We found a close to linear connection between students’ marks and their experience of teacher support. We compared the experienced teacher support in the different groups and through linear regression analysis; we measured the influence of teacher support on intrinsic motivation. We included five independent variables in the regression: Teacher support, parent support and classmate support, support from other adults at school and marks in the three most important subjects (mathematics, Norwegian language and English language. We were able to explain from 23, 9 % (in lower secondary school) to 27, and 2 % (in grade 2 in upper secondary school) of the variance in intrinsic motivation. Experienced teacher support was by far the most important independent variable (t = 7.7 – 10.3, Beta = .279 - .359). By investing in promotion of a good relationship between teaches and students, we may achieve positive ripples also in other important areas of the school, Increased support to students with low academic achievements could probably lead to higher marks and a better life at school (Wentzel, 2002; Murray & Malmgren, 2005; Reeve & Jang, 2006).
Davis, H. A: (2003). Conzeptualizing the role and influence of student-teacher relashionships on children´s social and cognitive development. Educational Psychologist, 38, 207-234. Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum. Hamre, B.K. & Pianta, R.C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development 72, 625-638 Hattie, J. (2008) Visible learning: A synthesis of Over 800 meta-analysis relating to achivment. New York: Routledge. La Guardia J.F., Patrick, H. (2008) Self-Determination Theory as a Fundamental Theory of Close Relationships. Canadian Psychology 49, (3), 201–209 Malecki, C. K. & Demary, M. C. (2002). Measuring perceived social support. Development of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASS). Psychology in the Schools, 39(1), 1– 18. Mercer, S.H., DeRosier, M. E. (2010) A prospective investigation of teacher preference and children’s perceptions of the student-teacher relationship. Psychology in the schools, 47 (2) 184-192 Murray,C. & Malmgren, K. (2005)Implementing a teacher-student relationship program in high –poverty urban school: effects on social, emotional and academic adjustment and lessons learned. Journal of School Psychology, 38, 423 -445. Reeve, J, Jang, H: (2006) What Teachers Say and Do to Support Students’ Autonomy During a Learning Activity. Journal of Educational Psychology 98, No. 1, 209–218. Roorda, D.L., Koomen, H.M.Y., Split, J.L., & Oort, F.J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher-student relationships of student´s school engagement and achivement. A meta analytic approach. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 81, nr 4, 493–529. Wentzel , K.R. & Asher,S.R. (1995) The academic lives of neglected, rejected,popular and controversial children. Child Development, 66, 754-763 Wentzel, K.R. (2002) Are effective teachers like good parents? Teaching styles and student adjustment in early adolescence. Child Development 73,287 -301
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