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Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review


How does Teaching Pedagogies Encourage Engagement in Secondary Schools?

Sub-Topic: Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

The relationships that teachers build with their students have an important role
in the learning environment. The classroom is a social system where the teacher
and students interact showing support and conflict (Hendrick, Mainhard, Boor-
Klip, Cilessen & Brekelmans, 2016). Several environmental conditions such as
the quality of the classroom often tend to improve or depress an academic
performance of the students, further known as positive teacher-student
relationships (Fan, 2012). Interaction with students is not the only initial
component of being a teacher but also can be the most challenging. It is stated by
the dynamic interaction composed between teacher and students that influence
cognitive, emotional patterns and social-cultural context (Spilt, J.L., Hughes,J.N.,
Wu, J., & Kwok, O.M, 2012). The pedagogy of teacher-student relationship is
relevant within teaching practices and can be shown to improve self-efficacy,
motivation to learn, engagement in task and discussions, social emotional
development and an overall improvement in academic outcomes.


Self-efficacy has been involved with the effectiveness in various teaching

practices to better learning opportunities and favour student outcomes. Several
studies have shown the importance of self-efficacy on providing a positive
teacher-student relationship. This is shown through Claessens, Tartwijk, VanDer
Want, Pennings, Verloop, Brok & Wubbles (2017), researching the wellbeing and
self-efficacy of teachers creating an environment where students were able to
feel safe, trusted and respected, therefore build a optimistic relationship.
Creating relationships in the classroom can take time and persistence from the
teacher, therefore teachers need to ensure the learning environments are
supportive and collaborative to meet individual student needs.

This is furthered explored in a study by Friedman, (2006) suggesting that

negative teacher-student relationships effects teachers self-efficacy, wellbeing
and becoming burnt out. The findings suggest the main stress for teachers stem

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

off relationships formed with individual student, therefore if there is negative

relationships within the classroom the environment would be controlling and
demonstrate low teacher self-efficacy showing frustration and irritability. To
improve self-efficacy, teachers need to build positive relationship with students,
which are influenced by the instructional practices. Classroom management and
strategies to increase student engagement is a pivotal dimension of positive and
productive learning environments Shoulders, Krei, (2015).

The conclusions from Claessens et al, 2017 self-efficacy research suggested that
it is essential to take the quality of the relationship as a whole, which is
influenced by communication, trust, empathy and helpfulness, rather than being
the agent or controlling. Having positive interpersonal relationship skills have a
greater significance between students and teachers that can be used for lifelong
development (Parsonson, 2012). Positive interactions with students can
therefore be the driven force behind the teachers commitment and the students
motivation to learn.

A limitation within Claessens et al, 2017 study was to research less extreme
cases of teacher-student relationships that can provide an overall understanding
as well as the teachers perspective of positive relationships in and outside the
classroom environment. The overall belief for helping teachers improve their
relationship with students in a positive manner is to adapt pedagogies and
strategies in developing self-efficacy skills to reduce negative learning
environments (Pianta, Hamre & Allen, 2012).


Students within the classroom have individual needs that influence their
learning experiences. Ensuring the students are motivated within the classroom
and within the content enables positive engagement in their individual learning
outcomes. Teachers must establish positive relationships with their students to
provide not only opportunities for learning but increase motivation to be
involved within the learning content. In 2010, Caballero researched the influence

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

of motivation on students in years 7 and 8. The statistics demonstrated a

significant result in positive teacher-student relationship increases overall
academic achievement and motivation with the students willingness to succeed.

Within Caballero (2010), self-determination theory was evidence of a connection

to students motivation to learn. In relation to teacher-student relationships,
self-determination theory is the ability to gain the students interest in learning
the content and valuing the importance of education. The theory allows students
to learn how to build relationships through finding connections with others,
therefore develop student autonomy and assist in developing conversations with

Students who report to have greater motivation levels in the learning

environment also have increased engagement showing higher academic
outcomes and achievement increasing their individual attendance. Several
teachers within Taylor & Parsons (2011) study found it challenging to
implement activities that are highly engaging and motivating due to the
curriculum and their teaching pedagogies. This idea however can be altered
towards professional development in designing lessons that are relevant and
engaging to meet students needs therefore increase motivation to learn.

Building positive teacher-student relationships is being able to adjust teaching to

accommodate individual learning needs for students to achieve set goals. Further
mentioned by Gablinske, 2014 research advocates that building environments
that are student centered to learning needs and abilities will foster students
confidence and allow students to feel safer in the formation of strong and
supportive relationships. When students are provided with positive
environments they become confident that teachers provide guidance and
support as well as having positive peer relationships.

In todays education the proposal supported by Caballero (2010), suggests the

educational environment is accountable and depends on the willingness of the
teacher within the classroom established. Ensuring the students feel comfortable

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

and safe in the learning environment allows confidence within the students to
volunteer responses and become actively involved in classroom discussions. This
furthers a positive rapport with the students by making not only the content
relatable but also working towards achieving the students needs.

Social Emotional Competence

Ensuring both teachers an students develop positive social and emotional skills,
play a role in building successful relationships. Knowing how to express and
communicate emotions correctly is an essential skill to develop for all
relationships. Having positive social emotional skills can increase self-esteem,
self-confidence, problem-solving and communication skills. Being able to
communicate effectively and positively towards others is the starting point to
building and creating relationships (Engles, Colpin, Leeuwen, Bijttebier,
Noortgate, Claes, Goossens & Verscheren, 2016). When students develop social
emotional competence it build confidence to ask questions, be involved and
achieve the overall outcome of engaged within learning environment. Claessens
et al, (2017) states that problematic relationships in class are found to have a
67% effect on the behaviour of both the teacher and student. Students
behaviour not only affects the student individually but can also hinder other
students engagement within the learning by disrupting the learning

Teacher-student relationships encourage students self-efficacy that influences

transitions into higher levels of motivation becoming involved within the
learning environment (Buckler, 2015). If students find it difficult to build a
connection and relationship with their teacher this can lead to further
implications of students feeling victimized, unsupportive and difficult to trust. A
democratic environment can become stressful and confronting for both the
students and teachers and can be detrimental to the students overall social and
emotional development (Rimm-Kaufman, Sandilos, 2011).

Furthermore in Engles., et al, 2016 research it directed the study to transactional

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

association between adolescents in behavioural engagement and positive and

negative teacher student relationships. Both genders were studied in grades 7-
11 using a large sample size. The conclusions revealed similar findings to Rimm-
Kaufman & Sandilos (2011) that positive relationships improves the students
developmental, emotional and academic achievement, however negative
relationships foster evidence of anger, irritability and can be detrimental to
students academic and social emotional development. This evidence correlates
with Coballero, (2010) by providing positive learning environments to build the
classroom atmosphere where students are engaged and have the desire to meet
the teachers expectations and strive to achieve their own.

Engles, et al. 2016, concluded that both teachers and students have an
independent role in playing a unique part in developing their social and
emotional competence. Teachers who are confronted with continuous disruptive
behaviour report to feeling emotionally exhausted and therefore have irritability
towards the students, increasing likelihood of negative relationships (Claessens,
2017). With low competence of social emotional skills, this can hinder students
overall academic achievements with low confidence and communication within
the content therefore can be left behind in completing work. In connection to
positive relationship on academic achievements it proposes a direct increase in
academic attendance, whereas negative teacher-student relationships suggest
harmful implications on students social and academic behaviour of the student
(Patrick, Mantzicopoulo, Samarapungavan & French 2008).

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

The overall census from the literature regards that there is various amounts of
factors that can influence positive teacher-student relationship. The most
successful classes is when teachers take the time to build a positive relationship
with their students that increases students self-confidence, motivation and
social emotional development. These attributions will not only be valuable in the
school environment but also continue to be important for after lifelong
development in building positive relationships.
Within this sub-topic of teacher-student relationships, it works towards the
action research on how various pedagogies encourage engagement within
schools, therefore will have an overall improvement in not only social and
academic outcomes but also improve skills for all aspects within individual
development and positive school community.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review


Buckler, A. (2015). An exploratory study of student and teacher perceptions on

student motivation and the teacher-student relationship (Order No.
3708723). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I.
(1698505522). Retrieved from https://search-proquest-

Caballero, J. A. R. (2010). The effects of the teacher-student relationship, teacher

expectancy, and culturally-relevant pedagogy on student academic
achievement (Order No. 3474274). Available from Education Database.
(897551383). Retrieved from

Claessens, L. C. A., Tartwijk, J. V., Van der Want, A. C., Pennings, H. J. M., Verlopp,
N., Brok, P. J., & Wubbels, T. (2017). Positive teacher-student relationships
go beyond the classroom, problematic ones stay inside. The Journal of
Education Research, 11(5). 478-493. doi:

Engels, M. C., Colpin, H., Leeuwen, K. V., Bijttebier, P, Noortgate, W. V., Claes, S.,
Goossens, L., & Verschueren, K. (2016). Behavioural engagement, Peer
status, and teacher-student relationships in adolescence: a longitudinal
study on reciprocal influences. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 45(1), 1192-
1207. doi: 10.1007/s10964-016-0414-5

Fan, F.A. (2012). Teacher: students interpersonal relationships and students

academic achievements in social studies. Teachers and Teaching Theory
and Practice,18(4), 483-490.

Friedman, I. A. (2006). Classroom management and teacher stress and burnout.

In Evertson C.M., & Weinstein, C. S. (eds.). Handbook of classroom
management: Research Practice and Contemporary Issues. (925-944).
Mahwah NJ:Erlbaum.

Gablinske, P. B. (2014). A case study of student and teacher relationships and the
effect on student learning. Open Access Dissertations. 1-144. Retrieved

Hendrick, M. M.G., Mainhard, M.T., Boor-Klip, Cilessen, A.H., & Brekelmans, M.

(2016). Social dynamics in the classroom: Teacher support and conflict
and the peer ecology. Teaching and Teacher Education, 53(3), 30-40.

Painta, R. C., Hamre, B.K., & Allen, J. P. (2012). Teacher-student relationships and
engagement: conceptualizing, measuring, and improving the capacity of
classroom interactions. Research on Student Engagement, 17(1), 365- 386.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

Parsonson, B.S. (2012). Evidence-based classroom behaviour management

strategies. Special Educational Practices,13(1), 16-23

Patrick, H., Mantzicopoulos, P., Samarapungavan, A., & French, B. (2008).

Patterns of young children's motivation for science and teacher-child
relationships. Journal of Experimental Education, 76(2), 121-144.

Rimm- Kaufman, S., & Sandilos, L. (2011). Improving students relationships with
teachers to provide essential support for learning. American Psychological
Association. Retrieved from

Shoulders, T.L., & Krei, M.S. (2015). Rural high school teachers self-efficacy in
student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom
management. American Secondary Education, 44(1), 50-61.

Spilt, J.L., Hughes, J.N., Wu, J., Kwok, O. M. (2012). Dynamics of teacher-student
relationships stability and change across elementary school and the
influence on childrens academic success. Journal of Child Development,
83(4), 1180-1195.

Taylor, L., & Parsons, J. (2011). Improving student engagement. Current Issues in
Education,14(1), 2-33.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

PART B: Data Collection Protocol

Dear Potential Participant:

I am working on a project titled How does various pedagogies encourage engagement in
Secondary Schools? for the class, Researching Teaching and Learning 2, at Western Sydney
University. As part of the project, I am collecting information to help inform the design of a
teacher research proposal.

My project involves the understanding of how teacher-student relationships affect students

engagement within the learning environment and the overall affect their academic outcome.
I hope to reveal the impact and importance of building a positive relationship with students
on all areas of development including social, emotional and academic. It will also consider
strategies that can be implemented on how to promote teacher-student relationships within
the classroom and outside behaviour. The data will be collected through observations within
a secondary school using 1 boy and 1 girl over 3 several observations with varying teachers.

By signing this form I acknowledge that:

I have read the project information through an online and hard copy with also
having the opportunity to discuss the information and my involvement in the project
with the researcher/s.
The procedures required for the project and the time involved have been explained
to me, and any questions I have about the project have been answered to my
I consent to be observed within the specified time period for the research project.
I understand that my involvement is confidential and that the information gained
during this data collection experience will only be reported within the confines of
the Researching Teaching and Learning 2 unit, and that all personal details will be
de-identified from the data.
I understand that I can withdraw from the project at any time, without affecting my
relationship with the researcher/s, now or in the future.

By signing below, I acknowledge that I am 18 years of age or older, or I am a full-time

university student who is 17 years old.
Signed: __________________________________
Name: __________________________________
Date: __________________________________
By signing below, I acknowledge that I am the legal guardian of a person who is 16 or 17
years old, and provide my consent for the persons participation.
Signed: __________________________________
Name: __________________________________
Date: __________________________________

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

The following data collection is based around a mixed method approach of an

observation protocol and semi-structured interviews. The format of the data
collection follows:

Observation protocol:
Using a field note strategy, based on a schools period times in this case
60minutes. Field notes will summaries the themes and categories that arise
within the behaviour, social and academic within teacher-student relationships.
Field notes will be compared and contrasted towards the semi-structured
interviews to provide a deeper analysis of the research.

A sample is provided below of the format that will be used by the researcher. The
sample was influences by an example through Richards & Farrell (2011).

Date: / / 17
Period: 1
Subject: English
Lesson taught by:
8:30am Greeting from the Respond to teacher
teacher before in a happy and
allowing students to cheerful tone
walk in. Give a polite
When students response
walking in asked how
their weekend was or
how they are





Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review








Closing of the

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

Look at:
How students are being involved with the content
Is their discussion activities or just individual quite work
Teacher techniques
Body Language
Facial expression
Students engagement in the learning environment
Understand the connection the students have with the teacher?
What pedagogies are used to motivate student and teacher relationships?
Themes and patterns that arise from teacher and student environment and how
things differ and why?
Academic/ focus on learning content
What are people doing or trying to accomplish?


1x male student (1x week for 3 week study) Yr 8/10

1x female student (1x week for 3 week study) Yr 8/10

1x teacher a week (change teacher each week for the 3 week study)

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

Semi-structured Interviews

- 30minutes interview with teacher/pre-service teacher observed as well as the

- Interview each teacher 3 times over the study (once a week on various subjects)
- Conducted in a relaxed environment, after school or within lunchtime depending
on participants commitments.
- Establish the teacher/student name
- Teaching area

The above ideas are suggested by Fosen (2016) in ways to research the data and
the context the questions can be started. With semi-structured the questions are
open-ended and will allow participants to drift off a little, however the
researcher will incorporate the next question into the conversation. At no time
the researcher will disrupt the participant to limit individual interpretations
including any prejudice.

At the conclusion of the interviews, that data will be compared to the data
recorded on the observation and themes and categories will be anlaysed and
then compared to literature review and research.

Before commencement of the interview, ensure participants received the

WSU protocol form to understanding the projects purpose and any ethical
concerns within the practice. Possible questions to prompt speaker are
below, however as it is semi-structured conversations will flow but by
being mindful of the time.

Question Teacher response Student response Common Themes Code

What importance does
it bring by having
positive relationships?

In your opinion what is

a good positive
relationship look like?

How does having a

negative relationship
with either
teacher/student affect
overall learning

Do you feel positive

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

relationships have an
impact on students
academic outcomes?

Do you remember an
occasion where you
had a negative
relationship and
changed it to a positive
What strategies did you
use to overcome?

What are the effects of

both verbal and non-
verbal communication

Should programs be in
place to support all
teachers in improving
Self-efficacy etc

Student characteristics
affecting relationship
quality and the
teachers choice of
strategies for that
Do you perfrom a
reflective practice over
the lesson/day?

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

How does having a
positive relationship
not only affect your
school life but also

What are some reasons

as to why negative &
positive relationships
are available?

How can we improve

relationships within
the school and/or
community outside?

Do you think
motivation levels link
towards engagement in
why/why not?

Look at:
- How the interview will be recorded (notes/voice record/video record)
- Keep conversation focused on the main themes, keep within the time allocated
- Some questions may be answered within other areas of questions to allow flow
of conversation
- Do not interrupt the participant, ask questions at the end if they arise
- Consent forms must be signed.

(Efron, Ravid, 2013)

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review


Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2014). Action research in education: a practical guide.
New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Forsen, D.M. (2016). Developing good teacher-student relationships:

multiple case study of six teachers relational strategies and
perceptions of closeness to students. Institute of Education. 2-161.
Retrieved from

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, S. C. (2011). Practice teaching: A reflective

approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

PART C: Data Collection Protocol Explanation

The data collection process will be conducted within secondary school

environment analysisng both genders of teachers and students. Participants will
be randomly selected, students will be chosen from years 7-11 whereas teachers
will be chosen from English, Mathematics and PDHPE.

The method used will be a mixed approach, where both observation and semi-
structured interview will be used to collect data. The observation will be able to
provide an insight into the natural environment of the teacher-student
relationship. One student from each gender will be observed for three weeks
(once a week) in three different settings with various teachers throughout the
day. The semi- structured interviews will collect qualitative data using open-
ended questions for attitudinal information on a larger scale (Fox, 2009).

Observations will also be semi-structured, where patterns of teacher-student

relationships will be observed and recorded. The focus will start broad and then
once patterns begin to emerge the focus lens can be narrowed to become at the
centre of the topic (Efron, Ravid, 2013). It allows you as the researcher to
understand the behaviour in a natural environment through consistent field
notes and a coding system to ensure most of the time is key observing
(Raufelder, Bukowski, Mohr, 2013). Using field notes within an observation
provides a summary of actions as a whole that occur through time-based events
(Richards, Farrell, 2011).The analysis of the low interference of specific events
will measure the understanding and connection between the students and

The semi-structured interviews will allow discussion from the participants of

how they feel about teacher-student relationships impacts their overall learning
capacity. Additionally, this will allow participants to explore their own concepts
with the interviewer contributing little to the responses allowing elicit responses
(Whiting, 2008). The interviews will be conducted in a relaxed setting permitting

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review

the respondents to explore matters that they believe are important in building
positive relationships and the importance in the overall development.

The semi-structured interviews allow teachers and students to reflect on their

behaviour and how this may affect learning environments both positive and
negative attributions. Using mixed research approach strengths the findings by
reducing bias and improving the validity of the data (Good & Brophy, 2007).

Prior to conducting the research the participants will be made aware of the
research process and the completion of a consent form. The key outcome of this
data recording will be analysising the relationships the student have with several
teachers and whether this influences the students social emotional capacity,
motivation and whether it influences their engagement to learn. This will also be
determined by observation with their behaviour and attitude towards each other
within the classroom and within the school playground.

In relation to the overarching topic, this research teacher-student relationship

will further analyse the teacher pedagogies for engagement within learning
environments. By understanding the importance of positive teacher-student
relationships, will increase student engagement within a learning environment
through incorporating multiple teaching pedagogies. The aim of conducting this
following research is to analyse both teacher and student perspectives around
positive relationships and the influence on motivation, self-efficacy and social
emotional development. The effects are studied on a micro level within
classrooms, however can be communicated on a whole school approach
providing strategies to build a positive school relationship community.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review


Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2014). Action research in education: a practical guide.
New York, NY: Guilford Publications

Good, T., & Brophy, J. (2007). Looking in classrooms(10th ed.). Boston:

Pearson/Allyn and Bacon

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, S. C. (2011). Practice teaching: A reflective approach.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Raufelder, D., Bukowski, W.M., & Mohr, S. (2013). Thick description of the
teacher-student relationship in the educational context of school: results
of an ethnographic field study. Journal of Education and Training
Studies,1(2), 1-18.

Fox, N. (2009). Using interviews in a research project. National Institute for

Health Research. 1-39. Retrieved from https://www.rds-

Whiting, L.S. (2008). Semi-structured interviews: guidance for novice

researchers. Journal of Nursing Standards, 22(23), 35-40.

Research Teaching and Learning 2 PART A: Literature Review