Enhancing Teacher Student Connectedness Does it Promote Students Academic Achievement Research Proposal

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Enhancing Teacher-Student Connectedness

An increasing number of students have become disconnected from school which has led to a broad range of student issues resulting in negative social, behavioral, emotional, and academic responses (Murray, 2002). By high school, some 40 to 60% of all students are chronically disengaged from school (Mullin, 2006). Students that lack a connectedness to school have shown marked levels of depression, violence, anxiety, low self-esteem, sexual encounters, delinquency, absenteeism, low academic performance, and low achievement motivation (Murray, 2002). The lack of connectedness in students has also shown higher dropout rates, percentages of drug, cigarette, and alcohol use, and rates of suicidal thoughts (Murray, 2002). School is often seen as a place where children are socialized, and therefore it should not be surprising that often the school mirrors society in its many differences and permutations.

For many years, researchers have debated what influence, if any, a teacher may have upon their students and these areas of concern. Most research found noted connections between highly qualified teachers and their ability to use their vast teaching skills to improve student achievement, however little was documented as to the importance of the teacher-student relationship. That this relationship is something that logs more chronological time than the student being at home has often been neglected in the scholarly vein. Indeed, the degree of interaction and positive/negative reinforcement can almost be used as a predictor for student success (Non, 2007).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Proposal on Enhancing Teacher Student Connectedness Does it Promote Students Academic Achievement Assignment

Within the pedagoglical realm, the idea of the power issue of teacher over student is clearly discussed, and those interrelationships often become not only a moral and ethical dilemma, but legal as well. For instance, a number of cases have gone through the Courts that indicate an educator must be very careful about the manner in which their views are espoused, particularly in religion and politics, because students tend to place more authority and power in what the teacher says (CUA, 2007). Indeed, this hierarchical power structure often bleeds further, setting up a rubric or template of expected behaviors and boundaries on both sides.

Mullin (2006) recognized that students feeling anonymous or alienated, accepted the belief that their teachers and other school staff did not care about their success. At that point, students ultimately lost motivation for their academic success and fell into a state of disengagement, which in turn lead to various combinations of the earlier described negative responses. The word "care," mentioned in Mullin's (2006) findings hinted that a relationship characteristic was indeed responsible for the actions and attitudes students had toward their academic achievement. Pscyhologically, this relationship can have a huge effect upon the human development cycle and the ability for an individual student to form relationships with authority figures in later life (Snoman, 2008).

Consider the teacher's role in the classroom. In efforts to be fair and consistent, teachers have tried to maintain a professional attitude concerning their individual students. Professional trainings have warned teachers against the pitfalls of showing favoritism and developing relationships among their students. National and state mandates have forced schools to also increase the pressure on teachers in order to deliver higher academic performances and test scores from their students. The No Child Left Behind initiative has been a perfect example of how strategies and teaching techniques have been examined and modified in order to push more and more students into academic success (Hess, et.al. 2006).. Being overly cautious and highly pressured, these focused teachers may have inadvertently placed a wall of social disconnect between themselves and their students, leaving students to deal with feelings of isolation, uncertainty, and insecurity. In addition, the technological advances and the modernization of the educational system as a whole have caused depersonalization for the students. The use of computers and many technology-based teaching programs have limited the interaction between teachers and their students. Students are spending more time with computers in the classroom and less time with their teachers (Zucker, 2008).

Also consider the emotional perception received by students in relation to the physical school setting: large school buildings with vast hallways, uniquely formed sterile classrooms, metal-detector decorated entrances, strategically placed video surveillance cameras, security personnel, and overcrowded classes. "Although the cameras, metal detectors, and security personnel are in place for the security and safety of the students; the students may view the safety measures as a lack of trust between school officials and the students" (Mendler, 2001, p.1). The conditions described all lacked a sense of warmth and intimacy for the students which may be contributing factors to their increased feelings of alienation. This industrialization and modernization of the system, however, need not remove the humanness of the classroom. The relationship, in fact, between student and teacher can still be robust and empowering -- regardless of the external environment (Split and Koomen, 2009).

The Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action [CSMHA] (2005, ¶ 5) reported, "Connectedness is reliably linked to higher academic performance and school behavior. Students who reported connectedness were less likely to dropout, be absent, or exhibit behavior problems." The statement simply acknowledged the fact that students lacking a connection are more likely to become disengaged from their education than students with connectedness. The obvious element that would have the greatest effect on reversing student perceptions and feelings of alienation would then be the enhancement of the teacher-student relationship.

Research Questions -- the overall research questions should determine both whether the concept of connectedness and/or forms and degrees of this connectedness will have a specific and theoretically viable affect upon the studentseventual performance.

The Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action (2005) refers to connectedness as the students' feelings of belonging, attachment, engagement, bonding, or commitment they associate with something or someone. Connectedness has often times been referred to as positive feelings for individuals in a school setting or a sense of belonging in the school environment (CSMHA, 2005). Bonny, Britto, Klostermann, Hormung, & Slap (2000) defined connectedness as a student's experience of caring at school and sense of closeness to school personnel and environment.

How to Identify Students with Low Connectedness -Bonny et al. (2000) claimed that decreasing student connectedness was associated with a poor health status and may be a reliable source for identifying students needing intervention. The study conducted by Bonny et al. (2000), consisted of surveying students attending eight public schools in the grades 7 through 12 with variables associated with connectedness as determined by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. With 56% of the student surveys considered usable, Bonny et al. (2000) found that increased school nurse visits, increased drug and alcohol use, early sexual initiation, increased emotional distress, and violent behaviors were common among students experiencing disconnectedness. Bonny et al. (2000) compared high and low connected students against the following variables: gender, race, grade, grade-age synchrony, maternal and paternal education, adoption status, academic performance, school type, extracurricular involvement, substance use, health status, and number of school nurse visits. More girls than boys, more blacks than whites, urban students, and students of parents with low levels of education reported low connectedness (Bonny et al., 2000). Students with chronic health issues, increasing school nurse visits, low academic performance, less extracurricular involvement, and those not grade-age appropriate were cited with decreasing school connectedness (Bonny et al., 2000). The grade level and adoption status were not found to be associated with connectedness (Bonny et al., 2000).

Relationship Features of Connectedness - the CSMHA (2005) reported findings based on the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health that indicated specifically that positive teacher-student relationships were an important factor in inhibiting risky student behaviors. Norlander-Case, Reagan, & Case as cited by Thompson, Greer, & Greer (2004) stressed how the nurturing teacher enabled students to create and learn. In another study, the most effective teachers with troubled native Eskimo youth happened to be teachers who had formed a personal bond with the students (Kleinfeld as cited by Edgar & Johnson, 1995). The native Eskimo students reported that their teachers demonstrated care by placing high demands and expectations on their social and academic behaviors (Edgar & Johnson, 1995).

Novojenova (1999) conducted a study based on the Interpersonal Theory of 1957. Novojenova (1999) found substantial evidence that the teacher's personal style of interaction had effects on their student's personalities. Novojenova (1999) reviewed the teaching process and clarified that teaching took place in two dimensions; teaching was an act of both communication and personalization; Communication being the transfer of information from teacher to student and personalization being the process by which the teacher's personality was transferred and became part of the student's personality. Petrovskiy as cited by Novojenova (1999) reinforced the idea that teachers interact personally with students in order to enhance learning.

Literature Review- Scholarly examination on the subject of student-teacher relationships shows only marginal and very sporadic accounts within the educational field prior to 1980. Edgar & Johnson (1995) suggested using relationship building strategies that have been approved by three federally financed prevention programs for middle school and high school youth for promoting teacher-student connectedness.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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