The Effects of Teacher Student Relationships on Middle Level Adolescents

The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate students’ perceptions of the relationship between their middle level social studies teacher and their attitudes toward the teacher, learning, and school. The data was collected in two phases. The first phase collected quantitative data through a whole class survey and informed the selection of the interviewees in phase two. The second phase collected qualitative data through one on one interviews with the participating students. The research question used to guide to study was, “How do middle school students’ perceptions of the teacher student relationship affect their attitudes toward the teacher learning and school?” The findings revealed a positive connection between strong teacher student relationships and students’ attitudes towards the teacher, learning, and school. The students’ perceived the teacher’s positive approach to be both personally and academically supportive, which motivated them to engage on a deeper level. The personal and academic support transferred into a willingness to engage in the curriculum, increasing academic rigor, and led to higher levels of academic success in their Social Studies class.