The Impact of Teacher-Students Relationship

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Literature Review Outline


  1. This study aimed to focus on the relationship between teachers and students in the educational process to get insights on how its quality influences the performance of students (Archambault et al., 2017).
  2. Such themes as the essence of TSR quality and its impact on student’s negative behavior and academic achievements would be discussed in the review. In general, positive TSR improves the achievements of students and mitigates their bad behavior.

The Influence of TSR on Students’ Negative Behavior

Overview of the influence of good relationships on the level of aggression and harassment among students.

Aggression (Meehan et al., 2003):

  1. Advantage of the same ethnic background to mitigate aggression.
  2. TSR as a compensatory tool for the negative quality of parent-child relationships and maladjustment.
  3. The importance of the supportive approach.

Peer-harassment (Lucas‐Molina et al., 2015; Bouchard & Smith, 2017; Baker et al., 2008):

  1. Correlations between problematic TSR, individual student-level characteristics and student-reported peer bullying.
  2. The association between aggression from students and teachers and increased peer aggression.
  3. Relationship closeness and warmth helps to get positive outcomes in school.

The TSR and Academic Achievements of Students

Motivation (Hagenauer et al., 2015):

  1. The teacher-student relationship as an essential factor for a student’s motivation.
  2. The significant influence of TSR and engagement of students on teacher emotions.

Academic achievements (Yunus et al., 2011; Teng et al., 2018):

  1. Academic achievements of students can be fostered by the contribution made by teacher-student relationships.
  2. TSR as a strong predictor for the level of motivation and academic performance students have.
  3. Competitive surroundings, motivation and high self-esteem.

Analysis of Methods to Establish Positive TSR

Self-disclosure (Henry & Thorsen, 2018):

  1. Opportunity for students to move from identities entrusted to them by the interactional context.
  2. Master, personal, and relational identity work in class analysis.

Personal feedback (Skipper & Douglas, 2015):

  1. Personal and process feedback as an important shaper of TSR.
  2. The person criticism appears to have a negative influence on the teacher-students relationship.

Conclusion: Evaluation of presented literature

  1. Overall, literature testifies the positive impact of closeness between students and teachers.
  2. Formation of strong and trustful relationships with teachers allows students to feel more competent, create positive relationships with peers, and achieve high academic results. The negative TSR proved to contribute to the low self-esteem of students, which in turn decreases their academic performance.
  3. All presented literature adds new approaches and interpretations to the research. Some studies have drawbacks which should be fixed by further research.

The Impact of Teacher-Student Relationship


The literature review aimed to focus on the relationship between teachers and students in the educational process to get insights on how its quality influence the performance of students. The issue of the relationship between teacher and student is a traditional psychological and pedagogical problem, which has been the subject of research by many scientists (Archambault et al., 2017). Nowadays, this problem has become especially urgent in connection with the growth of child aggression and deviations.

The learning process is the unity of teaching and comprehending, where the activities of the teacher and student are interconnected. It is also a mixed system of relations of various types. This study will pay attention to the teacher-student relationship (TSR) because this particular type of relations might be almost of the same importance in shaping students’ personalities as parent-children relations have at home. The TSR’s quality influence on children’s negative behavior, such as peer harassment and aggression, will be examined by this paper (Lucas-Molina et al., 2015). Moreover, articles on the correlation between TSR and levels of academic achievements among students will be reviewed as well (Teng et al., 2018). This will help to assess the advantages that come with the positive TSR, and find out what happens to academic and behavior performance of in-risk children.

According to the reviewed literature, emotional support delivered by teachers to their students is very important in order to increase their academic performance. The advantages of positive relations between students and teachers are not limited only by their influence on the cognitive development of students. There is a number of evidence that the quality of communication between teachers and students is closely related to the level of students’ motivation for learning activities (Hagenauer et al., 2015).

The Influence of TSR on Students’ Negative Behavior

Something that is strongly addressed throughout the literature on the teacher-student relationship (TSR) is the influence of good relations on the level of aggression and harassment among students. In every classroom, there are individuals who more than others subjected to aggressive behavior due to natural personal characteristics, drawbacks of in-home upbringing, and low level of socialization. In those cases, teachers play the role of “up bringers in a class” who help such students to learn how to control emotions and behave in particular situations (Fitzsimmons et al., 2019). Many sources state that teachers have to be prepared and apply the supportive approach dealing with such pupils, as findings show that it has a positive correlation with a lower level of aggression among students.


For instance, according to Meehan et al. (2003), the best conditions to develop and advance the supportive relationship between teacher and student in order to decrease aggression is when they have the same ethnic background. The goal of this two-year research was to find out the correlation between the students’ levels of aggression and the quality of student-teacher relationships. The authors take into consideration African American and Hispanic minority status students, the negative quality of parent-child relationships, and risks of maladjustment of students during further schooling and life. The teacher-student relationship is seen as a compensatory source under those conditions.

Researchers used a group of 140 second and third-year students who participated in the intervention program for aggressive children and a group of teachers from fifteen different schools. Teachers had to identify two-three aggressive children from their classes who later were screened for level of aggression. The samples of children included Caucasian, Hispanic, and Africa American origins, where Caucasian was less represented. The network of Relationship Inventory interview, sociometric assessment within classroom groups, the TRF, and Weinberger Parenting Inventory were used to convey the research (Meehan et al., 2003). The findings of the study suggest the importance of preparing the teachers who can apply the supportive approach to the relationship, especially with Hispanic and Afro American students. The relatedness with a teacher helps these at-risk children to develop a sense of competence in the classroom and a stronger sense of autonomy. The main drawback of this research is that it does not show some expected insights and that there are no multiple reporters to rate the relationship quality.

Peer harassment

The question of bullying is strongly interconnected with the aggression issue within the process of education. For one, bullying can be treated as a type of aggression the student can exert on his/her peers. The literature provides insights on how teachers using well-established relations with problematic students can decrease the amount of bullying. A larger number of studies were dedicated to student-student harassment issues. However, some of them analyzed relationships between classroom teachers and students. For instance, Lucas‐Molina et al. (2015) conducted a study to assess the correlations between problematic teacher-students relationships, individual student-level characteristics, and student-reported peer bullying. The authors employed a socioeconomic method that involved almost two thousand pupils aged 8 to 13 years from Spanish schools. Their teachers described the quality of the relationships they had while students underwent the self-report measure to evaluate students-teacher relationships and peer harassment level. In general, the results pointed at a varying degree of impact on levels of peer harassment made by TSR.

The most interesting outcome here is that students associated teacher support with decreased peer victimization, although student-reported indirect and direct aggression from teachers was associated with higher peer victimization. Moreover, the investigators spotted the association between aggression both from students and teachers and increased peer aggression. One of the main drawbacks of a particular study is that variables reported by teachers contributed little to outcomes assessed from students (Lucas‐Molina et al., 2015).

Another paper on this theme was written by Bouchard and Smith (2017), in which they use social-ecological systems theory to claim that current research on bullying can better off from considering the mesosystem, what is the group of people, or institutions influencing children outside the home. As a result, they provide two theories, such as social referral and attachment, that help to describe the relation between students’ bullying experiences and teacher-student relationships. Bouchard and Smith (2017) find out that those interactions can be influential, yet delicate, in shaping children’s relations with their peers.

Moreover, Baker et al. (2008) state that student-teacher relations, which were “characterized by trust, warmth, and low degrees of conflict was associated with positive school outcomes” (10). This study more precisely analyses the adaptation process of urban young students with the help of teachers. The authors measured the performance of students and relationship quality during the whole period of elementary school. The findings show that relational negativity, closeness, and warmth helped to get positive outcomes in school. However, good relations with all teachers are only a part of a larger picture as school surroundings, atmosphere and individual characteristics influence how student adapts in a new school. Nevertheless, this study has some limitations, such as the suggestion that teacher ratings are valid indicators of student’s competence, and it lacks the behavioral variability of elementary classrooms.

The TSR and Academic Achievements of Students

Another two common themes dedicated to the assessment of the TSR quality are academic achievements and motivation around students. Those themes should be addressed as well because one of the tasks the teacher has to perform is to engage students in active participation and motivate them to study hard. In order to succeed, teachers need to apply a special way of teaching, which incorporates engagement incentives and communication techniques, such as self-disclosure.


The teacher-student relationship was always assumed to be an essential factor for student’s motivation, but its influence seems to be underinvestigated. The teaching process’s effectiveness is believed to be dependent on the teacher’s ability to maintain a positive relationship and readiness for emotional and social connectedness. The first article which can be used in further research is written by Hagenauer et al. (2015). This study concentrates on teacher emotions, especially on how they can be forecasted by a mutual facet of the TSR and student’s behavior. The authors used a quantitative method to carry this study out and invited to participate more than a hundred secondary teachers. This research is based on gathered from questionnaires self-report data of teachers who had to rate their own experience by emotions they felt.

The independent variables were closeness, motivational behavior, and discipline in class. In general, this study reveals that relationships formed between teachers and children had the strongest association with teacher’s anxiety and joy. The study also points at the fact that teacher usually experiences anger due to the lack of attention in the classroom (Hagenauer et al., 2015). One of the drawbacks of this article is that it views the problem only from the teachers’ perspective. However, it states that both TSR and engagement of students also demonstrated a significant influence on teacher emotions. In contrary to the next paper, this one uses the bigger pool of respondents.

Academic achievements

According to Yunus et al. (2011), the level of motivation to study and academic achievement of students can be increased by the contribution made by teacher-student relationships. This study also applied a qualitative method of questioning, and six teachers in Malaysia were examined. They had to answer questions designed to collect appropriate data for further analysis of teacher-student relationships as a factor affecting the motivation of students. The findings saw that the majority of respondents agree on the fact that TSR is a strong predictor for the level of motivation and academic performance students have. However, there is a kind of apprehension toward this paper as it has a very limited respondent pool, so other works should be compared as well.

It is not a secret that children might stick to various reasons to do everything possible in the learning process, as well as for not doing. Academic achievements can be possible if only students feel that they are in competitive surroundings, they are motivated and have high self-esteem. The influence of the latter is added into research by Teng et al. (2018). This paper has a goal to examine the effects on the academic achievements of high students exerted by TSR and self-esteem as a mediator. In order to collect the data, the authors organized a questionnaire survey for almost three hundred junior high students. Findings include the fact that both conflicts in TSR and self-depreciation decrease the chance of academic achievement. It means that there is a chain of triggered outcomes: the satisfaction from the teacher-student relationship diminishes the level of self-depreciation, which further contributes to higher academic achievements (Teng et al., 2018). This recent empirical study affirms that TSR can positively influence the academic achievements of children, and self-esteem is an essential mediator as well as already mentioned motivation.

Analysis of Methods to Establish Positive TSR


Following Henry and Thorsen (2018), the idea of teachers sharing personal information about themselves during the lecture has a positive influence on motivation, as students have the opportunity to move from identities entrusted to them by the interactional context. This paper has a goal to conceptualize and identify how teachers provide personal information and how it influences motivation in class. Self-disclosures made by teachers are seen to have positive learning outcomes. For instance, the students’ understanding of the subject has been found to increase due to approaches when teachers reveal who they are, share personal beliefs and values, and use stories from their own life as an example. Teachers attribute different purposes for self-disclosure tools, varying from providing real-world examples to establishing a positive teacher-student relationship.

Different types of identity-work applied by teachers have been analyzed, such as those involving master, personal, and relational identities (Henry & Thorsen, 2018). As a result, the teacher’s orientation to a master identity during the lecture proved to engage students in some cases, but there was no evident outcome. The authors state that motivational influences from teachers’ self-disclosure are accumulating over time, as students acquire knowledge about their tutor during relationship development. This paper has high importance in terms of research purposes because it examines the issue from another angle and provides insights for teachers on how to establish positive TSR.

Personal feedback

According to Skipper and Douglas (2015), feedback about students that teachers usually deliver during the lectures can be an essential shaper of TSR. There are two main feedbacks teachers usually use in class: personal (“you are smart) or about the process (“you can do better”). The authors conducted experimental research testing the notion that person feedback can promote negative academic results. Two experiments were conducted where British children read different scenarios of their success and failure for what they received different types of criticism or praise. Both experiments made out failure and success outcomes but in a different order. In the end, participants rated how much they perceived that the teacher liked them and how they liked him/her (Skipper & Douglas, 2015). As a result, researches reveal that students were more content with the teacher- students relationship after success than failure. It is peculiar that type of praise was not a matter for children to rate TSR following failure or success.

Nevertheless, students felt more negative about the teacher-student relationship getting person criticism after the failure and even retained this negative feeling following the first successful task. It seems that the best background to develop positive TSR is the moments of success. The person criticism appears to have a negative influence on the teacher-students relationship, so teachers would better off avoiding such criticism in class.


To conclude, the analysis of theoretical and experimental papers on this issue indicates the importance of identifying the quality of TSR. The results of various studies demonstrate that the quality of relationships in the teacher-student system influence such factors as student performance and motivation. Formation of strong and trustful relationships with teachers allows students to feel more competent, create positive relationships with peers, and achieve high academic results. The negative TSR between students and teachers proved to contribute to the low self-esteem of students, what in turn decreases their academic performance. The main method among the presented literature is quantitative, for which researches collected data with the help of questionnaires and sampling of respondents.


Archambault, I., Vandenbossche-Makombo, J., & Fraser, S. L. (2017). Students’ oppositional behaviors and engagement in school: The differential role of the student-teacher relationship. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(6), 1702-1712.

Baker, J. A., Grant, S., & Morlock, L. (2008). The teacher-student relationship as a developmental context for children with internalizing or externalizing behavior problems. School psychology quarterly, 23(1), 3.

Bouchard, K. L., & Smith, J. D. (2017). Teacher-student relationship quality and children’s bullying experiences with peers: Reflecting on the mesosystem. In The Educational Forum (Vol. 81, No. 1, pp. 108-125). Routledge.

Hagenauer, G., Hascher, T., & Volet, S. E. (2015). Teacher emotions in the classroom: associations with students’ engagement, classroom discipline, and the interpersonal teacher-student relationship. European journal of psychology of education, 30(4), 385-403.

Henry, A., & Thorsen, C. (2018). Teachers’ self-disclosures and influences on students’ motivation: A relational perspective. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-15.

Lucas‐Molina, B., Williamson, A. A., Pulido, R., & Pérez‐Albéniz, A. (2015). Effects of teacher-student relationships on peer harassment: a multilevel study. Psychology in the Schools, 52(3), 298-315.

Meehan, B. T., Hughes, J. N., & Cavell, T. A. (2003). Teacher-student relationships as compensatory resources for aggressive children. Child Development, 74(4), 1145-1157.

Skipper, Y., & Douglas, K. (2015). The influence of teacher feedback on children’s perceptions of student-teacher relationships. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(3), 276-288.

Teng, X., Liu, G., & Song, T. Influence of teacher-student relationship on junior high students’ academic achievements: Mediating role of self-esteem. In 2018 2nd International Conference on Management, Education and Social Science (ICMESS). Atlantis Press.

Yunus, M. M., Osman, W. S. W., & Ishak, N. M. (2011). Teacher-student relationship factor affecting motivation and academic achievement in ESL classroom. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 2637-2641.

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