The Influential Cultural Factors Associated with the Development of Positive Student-Teacher Relationships

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An emerging set of literature in school reform has centered on the concept of student–teacher relationships. Characteristic behaviors of positive relationships have been defined as students feeling respected, being treated fairly, being cared for as individuals and having individual learning cared for (McNeely, Nonnemaker, & Blum, 2000; Resnick et. al., 1997). These positive student-teacher relationships are critical to school engagement (Resnick, Bearman, Blum, et al., 1997), attendance, and a reduction in violent or inappropriate behavior, (Jenkens, 1997) but for many students, particularly those whose trust in adults has been damaged, only real respect can cultivate that relationship. This presentation will explore the findings of a qualitative study that goes beyond surface characteristics of teachers to examine the role of underlying cultural beliefs and values. In particular, Anglo-Saxon hierarchical and patriarchal cultural views are contrasted with Native American cultural views of children and the impact of each on developing respectful relationships with youth. The results for students who lack positive connections with adults in schools provide implications for efforts to improve these relationships.


Keywords: Teacher-Student Relationships, Behavior, School Climate, Adolescents
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Vikki Seger

Behavior Specialist, Special Education, Char-Em Intermediate School District
Charlevoix, Michigan, USA

Vikki Seger is a doctoral student in educational leadership with an interest area of school culture and student-teacher relationships at the primary thru secondary school levels. Her background in education is centered around troubled children and youth whose behaviors impede learning. Vikki currently is a behavior specialist for Charlevoix-Emmet ISD, an adjunct professor for Central Michigan University, and conducts trainings on building cultures of respect in K-12 schools throughout the United States and Canada. She has 17 years of experience working with students with behavioral and emotional disorders.

David Anderson

Professor, Educational Leadership, Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA


Ref: L09P0698