In a recent article, a study on student perceptions reveals that positive teacher-student relationships increases student performance. The classroom relationship between a student and teacher forms the foundation for an effective educational system. Positive teacher-students relationships decrease the need for discipline as well as increasing student performance.
According to the article, Experiment Tests If Teacher-Student Relationships Helps Performance, a study conducted in Germany revealed an association between increased student performance and positive teacher-student relationships for kindergarten students.
Researchers at the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Dresden conducted the study. They showed the students pictures of teachers that they did and did not like. The students who viewed pictures of only the teachers that they did like were able to solve pattern recognition problems faster than the students who viewed pictures of teachers that they did not like. The pictures were shown to the children so fast they processed the information subliminally.
The article falls short in indicating the possibilities for the biases that the children developed. It did not indicate what types of clothing, color of clothing, and other verbal and nonverbal characteristics of the teachers.
It is ultimately impossible for the conclusion of this student to reveal a correlation between teacher-student relationships and student performance. However, Dr. Derrick L. Campbell conducted a study, Promoting Positive Racial Teacher-Student Classroom relationships, which reveals a direct correlation between teacher student classroom relationships and student performance.
Education is a communication process that is not limited to transmitting knowledge but also involves interpersonal communication behaviors and nonverbal behaviors that are the major aspects of interpersonal relationships, which are critical in all learning situations. The teaching-learning process is essentially a communication event that includes verbal and nonverbal communication. Teachers and students are verbal and nonverbal message senders and receivers. Developing respectful relationships with students requires considerable knowledge of their verbal and nonverbal communication styles.
Verbal and nonverbal behavioral differences contribute to the racial challenges that exist between teachers and Black students. Schools and Black student conflict develop from expectation differences related to communication styles. The general public fails to accept that Blacks have different communication norms and conventions by assuming that Blacks communicate using standards set by socially dominant Whites.
Whites’ dispassionate and detached communication mode creates distrust among Blacks due to its similarity to Blacks who front which occurs when Blacks perceive there is a communication risk factor and chooses to remain silent in Black-White communication encounters. Most Black educational failure, which impacts student performance, arises from the teachers’ inability to understand how the students communicate. Schools will benefit from teachers becoming aware of specific verbal and nonverbal communication styles that affect students’ ability and motivation to engage in learning activities.
What are some of the verbal characteristics that can influence teacher-student classroom relationships which ultimately impact student performance?
Black verbal communication styles can influence teacher-student classroom relationships. White Americans’ unfamiliarity with the Black communication style results in a misunderstanding by the American mainstream.
For example, Blacks not only debate the idea; they also debate the person while Whites debate the idea rather than the person debating the idea. Blacks will probe beyond a given statement to find out where a person is “coming from,” in order to clarify a particular behavior or attitude. Black students also contrast White middle-class communication when they speak over others’ voices and repeat the communication until they are responded to or until they have someone’s attention.
Black communities accept the approach that their children use by interrupting others or speaking out of turn, which is an unacceptable school practice, and teachers view this behavior as disruptive and inappropriate. Anglo Americans place a high value on allowing one person at a time to speak to indicate respect for an individual.
In the classroom, Black students power play by loud talking or back-talking to make teachers lose their cool and get the last word in. Black students believe teachers show them respect by addressing them as Mr., Mrs., Sir, or Ma’am.
What is a nonverbal characteristics that can influence teacher-student classroom relationships which ultimately impacts student performance?
Colleges teach teachers to ensure there is a distance between themselves and the students so the teacher can maintain discipline in the classroom. European Americans are more likely to have close social distance with Mexican Americans when compared to Blacks and prefer to keep their personal space at arm’s length. Hispanic Americans stand close to or side by side instead of face-to-face when talking to another person. Hispanic Americans stand 6 to 8 inches within an arm’s length when talking to another person. Latinos interact at a close distance and frequently touch one another. Latino Americans prefer closer standing distances when compared to North Americans.
Blacks prefer closer social distance when compared to Mexican Americans. Blacks are more likely to touch each other in a conversation when compared to Whites. Individuals who perceive a proximity violator as someone who will provide them with negative rewards will react negatively when the proximity violator moves closer. Maintaining the appropriate or comfortable proximity is associated with a positive effect, friendship, and attraction.
Teachers can overcome the complications associated with verbal and nonverbal behavior expectations and improve student performance by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships). Teachers can develop classroom relationships which ultimately impact student performance.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President