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Teachers who foster positive relationships with their students create classroom environments more conducive to learning and meet students' developmental, emotional and academic needs.
Here are some concrete examples of closeness between a teacher and a student: Positive teacher-student relationships — evidenced by teachers' reports of low conflict, a high degree of closeness and support, and little dependency — have been shown to support students' adjustment to school, contribute to their social skills, promote academic performance and foster students' resiliency in academic performance (Battistich, Schaps, & Wilson, 2004; Birch & Ladd, 1997; Curby, Rimm-Kaufman, & Ponitz, 2009; Ewing & Taylor, 2009; Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Rudasill, Reio, Stipanovic, & Taylor, 2010).
Further work indicates that kindergarten children with more closeness and less conflict with teachers developed better social skills as they approached the middle school years than kindergarten children with more conflictual relationships experiences in the past (Berry & O'Connor, 2009).
A recent study examining student-teacher relationships throughout elementary school (first through fifth grade) found that teacher-student closeness linked to gains in reading achievement, while teacher-student conflict related to lower levels of reading achievement (Mc Cormick & O'Connor, 2014).
Effects of a multiyear social-emotional learning program: The role of student and school characteristics.