Resources for Building Teacher-Student Relationships


February 2019


Photo of teacher and student at a computer

For more information, contact Vicki Nishioka at 503-275-9498.

Featured Resources

From Education Northwest

From REL Northwest

Additional featured resources

Through Others’ Eyes

This blog post from the New Teacher Center offers several strategies for perspective taking. It includes strategies for building empathy, role playing, using arts and literature, engaging in dialogues and more. The post links to several videos that illustrate the post’s key points and includes a set of questions that can be used for cultivating empathy through self-reflection and a set of activities for teachers and students to practice perspective taking.

Race Forward Video

In this video from Race Forward, eight young men talk about how they navigate around implicit bias in the classroom—and as they build their lives.

Creating Opportunities through Relationships (COR)

These learning modules are designed to strengthen teacher-student relationships. The modules can be taken alone or together depending on the needs of your organization and include video presentations, reflective questions and interactive components.

Research-Based Resources and Interventions

Black Achievers’ Experiences with Racial Spotlighting and Ignoring in a Predominantly White High School

This study looks at the adaptive behaviors that high-achieving Black students employed in a predominantly White high school to maintain school success and a positive racial self-definition. Findings indicate that students experienced racial microaggressions in the form of sometimes being spotlighted because of their race (i.e., racial spotlighting) and sometimes being ignored because of their race (i.e., racial ignoring). Students managed these experiences by utilizing a variety of resilient strategies that represent varying degrees of resistance. The article concludes with implications for teacher education and creating culturally inclusive school and classroom environments.

Brief Intervention to Encourage Empathic Discipline Cuts Suspension Rates in Half Among Adolescents

There is increasing concern about rising discipline citations in K–12 schooling and a lack of means to reduce them. A brief intervention aimed at encouraging an empathic mindset about discipline halved student suspension rates over an academic year. This intervention, an online exercise, can be delivered at near-zero marginal cost to large samples of teachers and students. These findings could mark a paradigm shift in society’s understanding of the origins of and remedies for discipline problems.

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Strategies

This article introduces culturally responsive classroom management as a pedagogical approach to guide the management decisions that teachers make and shine a light on the negative consequences of classroom management on students whose behaviors do not conform to middle-class norms. While the article summarizes a wealth of research on student discipline in schools, it focuses on the challenge of classroom management when students and teachers come from different cultural backgrounds.

Double-Check: A Framework of Cultural Responsiveness Applied to Classroom Behavior

Despite years of investigation and reporting on the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in office discipline referrals and special education, little progress has been made in reducing these disparities. It is recommended that school personnel identify cultural inconsistencies in disciplinary practices, and develop and maintain culturally responsive practices that facilitate improvements in student behavior. The Double-Check framework promotes such practices through self-assessment, and encourages school personnel to recognize their own attitudes and behaviors toward CLD students.

Social Motivation in the Secondary Classroom: Assessing Teacher-Student Relationships From Both Perspectives

Scholars have amassed robust evidence that teacher-student relationships are associated with a multitude of valued student outcomes. Drawing from a sample of 922 middle and high school students and their 127 teachers in six different schools, this article describes the development of a multifaceted approach to measuring teacher-student relationships at the secondary level that addresses four complexities of these relationships. It also focuses on four schools to examine how this measure predicts a series of student achievement, affective, behavioral, and motivational outcomes. Lastly, it assesses the promise of teacher-student relationships as a focal point for future interventions.

Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They're Not Magic

This article reviews the theoretical basis of several prominent social-psychological interventions and emphasizes that they have lasting effects because they target students’ subjective experiences in school, because they use persuasive yet stealthy methods for conveying psychological ideas, and because they tap into recursive processes present in educational environments. By understanding psychological interventions as powerful but context-dependent tools, educational researchers will be better equipped to take them to scale. The article concludes by discussing challenges to scaling psychological interventions and how these challenges may be overcome.

Related Websites

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provides resources, tools, and research on high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) for grades PreK-12 students. Topics include suggested frameworks for SEL, teaching approaches, and lessons learned from SEL professional learning communities.

The National Clearinghouse on Supportive School Discipline provides resources, tools, information, and fact sheets on positive approaches to school discipline. Topics include restorative justice, positive behavioral interventions and supports, conditions for learning, social-emotional learning, and evidence-based practices.

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments provides tools, research reports, and technical assistance events on school climate, preventing and responding to discriminatory behavior at school, responding to trauma in K–12 schools, social-emotional learning, and resilience.

The Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports provides research, professional development resources, and tools to support implementation of positive behavioral interventions and supports in schools. The website also provides information on training and technical assistance resources to incorporate equity in school discipline practices.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences provides practice guides, intervention reports, single study reviews, and quick reviews of recent research on many topics relevant to early childhood and K–12 education. The website includes products and services provided by the What Works Clearinghouse, the Regional Educational Laboratory Program, the Education Resources Information Center, and national data resources.