A recent study released by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence using data from 35 grade 5–6 classrooms cites that supportive classroom environments are associated with improved student outcomes.
Said another way, children's perceptions as to whether they are being supported or not matter.
Connecting with kids
The study states that students who have stronger relationships with their teachers invest more time in academics, earn better grades, report being more satisfied, and behave in more prosocial ways as they transition from childhood into adolescence.
"When adolescents do not feel connected to school, their grades often suﬀer, they behave disruptively in class, and they are unlikely to aspire to higher educational goals (Eccles and Midgley 1990)."
What are the barriers to a supportive classroom? One cited in the study is high-stakes testing.
"The environment of high-stakes testing prevalent in the aftermath of the No Child Left Behind era could be damaging the protective emotional connection that many children build with their teachers and school (Mulvenon et al. 2005)."
Investing in relationships
The study reinforces the notion that children benefit from positive, relationship-based teaching methods and suggests that educational interventions targeting classroom processes be enacted at the school level and assessed by both teachers and students.
The notion that supportive classrooms and teaching methods are crucial for providing children with the social and academic skills they need to succeed is not a surprise, but it is reassuring to know that in these findings, common sense and science align.
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Teaching Through Play: Teachers' Thinking and Classroom Practice: By Bennett, Neville
The Effect if Classroom Environments on Student learning: By Hannah, Ryan
Cipriano, C., Barnes, T.N., Pieloch, K.A. et al. A multilevel approach to understanding student and teacher perceptions of classroom support during early adolescence, Learning Environ Res (2018).