University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2016
Event16th Biennial EARA Conference - Chiclana, Cadiz, Spain
Duration: 16 Sep 201619 Sep 2016

Conference

Conference16th Biennial EARA Conference
CountrySpain
CityCadiz
Period16/09/1619/09/16

Abstract

Supportive relationships with significant adults are important determinants of adolescents’ wellbeing. Whilst research on the importance of parents as key adult figures is abundant, less is known about the potential contribution of teachers, who nevertheless can be fundamental complementary and compensatory sources of wellbeing. In addition, understanding the significance of teacher connectedness in adolescence has been constrained by inconsistencies in definitions and measures.
WEY-CRISP is an EU funded project (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014) whose aim is to develop the current understanding of teacher connectedness in young people by means of a multi-component approach including a rigorous review of literature, quantitative and qualitative phases of examination of teacher connectedness, its determinants and its links with wellbeing and the development of a measure on teacher connectedness which incorporates both previous scientific evidence and students’ and teachers’ perspectives. This paper will present the preliminary findings from a multidisciplinary focused review of the published evidence on teacher connectedness, including definition, available measures and links with wellbeing.
The literature reviewed to date suggests that meaningful teacher-student relationships have been defined and measured in diverse and inconsistent ways. Besides, they have been embedded in broader constructs, such as school connectedness and school belonging, in a number of studies. Regarding links with wellbeing, associations are found with diverse positive outcomes (subjective well-being, satisfaction with school, decreased depression and anxiety, reduced involvement in risk behaviours…), although some mixed findings appear regarding the relative importance of relationships with teachers for wellbeing: some have suggested that teachers can become key adult figures in young people’s lives even compensating for the lack of parental support, while others conclude that teachers are not very salient figures and mostly provide complementary instrumental support to that of parents.
Teacher connectedness seems to be an important factor for young people’s wellbeing. However, in order to shed light on the unique importance of teachers in young people’s lives and the factors that can make a difference in the development of meaningful teacher-student relationships, definitions and measures on teacher connectedness need both theoretical and empirical development. Otherwise the potential elements of teacher-
student relationships that impact positively and protectively on young people’s wellbeing will remain poorly understood.

Notes

Irene Garcia-Moya, Frances Bunn and Fiona Brooks, 'Understanding teacher connectedness in adolescence. Preliminary findings from WEY-CRISP multidisciplinary review of literature'. Paper presented at the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA) 2016 Conference, La Barrosa, Cadix (SPain), 16-19 September 2016.

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