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School Climate

Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter

Students who feel connected to their teachers and to other school adults tend to have stronger academic performances and better behavioral records in individual classes and in school generally. A critical source of data about the strength of teacher-student relationships are students themselves.

The Panorama Student Survey and Panorama Social-Emotional Learning Survey include a series of questions to assess the strength of the social connection between students and teachers, within and beyond the classroom, to help schools and districts work on developing stronger bonds between teachers and their students.  

Questions and answers about Teacher-Student Relationships measure student perceptions of how much their teachers care about them in a number of areas, including how respectful their teachers are towards them, their teachers' levels of concern about their feelings, and what they imagine their future relationships with their teachers will look like.

Because strong teacher-student relationships are an important indicator of many different kinds of student outcomes—academic, professional, and social—these questions can be used to determine how much students feel a sense of belonging in school, as well as how likely a student is to drop out of school. Scores on these questions may also be correlated to how much students value particular subjects and their probable academic success in those subjects.  

On the Panorama Student Survey and Panorama SEL Survey , Teacher-Student Relationships are assessed with five questions written for older students (grades 6-12) and 4 questions written for younger students (3-5). These questions together can be used to measure students' perceptions of the strength of their relationships with their teachers in a valid and reliable way.

Sample Teacher-Student Relationship Questions:

  • If you walked into class upset, how concerned would your teacher be?
  • How excited would you be to have this teacher again

Scores about Teacher-Student Relationships can provide important insight for schools and districts into how well their teaching staff is supporting student academic, social, and emotional development. Teachers can use student feedback on these questions to determine if they are creating welcoming classroom environments and a sense of community at school for students. Because strong teacher-student relationships are correlated with a range of student outcomes, scores on these questions can be used as predictors of student happiness and motivation. 

Those who use the Panorama Student Survey or Panorama Social-Emotional Learning Survey to learn more about teacher-student relationships can turn to Playbook to find strategies from other successful classroom teachers focused on establishing closer connections. Playbook moves teachers can use to build more teacher-student relationships include “Learn Their Language,” “Contact Parents with Positive Information,” and “Model the Behavior You Expect.”

Topic(s): School Climate

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