New Perspectives on Investigating Teacher-student Relationships
Hunter Gehlbach

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Harvard University

Primary Discipline

Teacher-student relationships lie at the heart of students’ schooling experience. Past studies have linked these relationships with multiple student outcomes. However, how to best improve teacher-student relationships to impact these outcomes remains an open question, particularly at the secondary level. The proposed longitudinal study takes two steps towards answering this question. First, the study seeks to understand the associations between teacher-student relationships and students’ achievement, behavioral, motivational, and affective outcomes over time. Extending previous research by assessing both students’ and teachers’ perspectives on their overall relationships at two time points within the school year will clarify our understanding of these associations. Second, the study examines a previously unstudied precursor to teacher-student relationships. Specifically, social perspective taking – the motivation and ability of teachers and students to discern one another’s thoughts and feelings – is investigated as a promising basis for interventions to improve teacher-student relationships. The proposed study will generate new knowledge by tracking the associations between social perspective taking and teacher-student relationships as well as between these relationships and educational outcomes at the beginning and end of the school year. The goal of this research is to lay the foundation for developing perspective-taking interventions to improve teacher-student relationships.
About Hunter Gehlbach

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