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Students in high-poverty urban schools may benefit from positive teacher-student relationships even more than students in high-income schools, because of the risks associated with poverty (Murray & Malmgren, 2005).
Risk outcomes associated with poverty include high rates of high school dropout, lower rates of college applications, low self-efficacy, and low self-confidence (Murray & Malmgren, 2005).
Students who perceive their relationship with their teacher as positive, warm and close are motivated to be more engaged in school and to improve their academic achievement (Hughes, Cavell, & Jackson, 1999).
Students’ motivation to learn is impacted positively by having a caring and supportive relationship with a teacher (Wentzel, 1998).
For students who are considered at high risk for dropping out of high school, math achievement is significantly impacted by the perception of having a caring teacher (Midgley et al., 1989).
Furthermore, students who went from low teacher closeness to high teacher closeness significantly increased in math skills over the transition year, from elementary to middle school (Midgley et al., 1989).
Studies of middle and high school students have shown that students shape their own educational expectations from their perceptions of their teachers’ expectations (Muller, Katz, & Dance, 1999).There is substantial research on the importance of teacher-student relationships in the early elementary years (Pianta, 1992; Hamre & Pianta 2001).However, little is known about the effects of teacher-student relationships on high school students.Thus, positive relationships with teachers are important in supporting higher levels of self-esteem, higher academic self-efficacy, and more confidence in future employment outcomes (Ryan et al., 1994; Wentzel, 2003). Self-motivation for academic attainment: The role of self-efficacy beliefs and personal goal setting.Self-confidence and future aspirations have a significant impact on students’ interest in school, their academic self-efficacy and in turn, their academic achievement (Wentzel, 2003). American Educational Research Journal, 29(3), 663-676.