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The Teacher’s Invisible Hand: A Meta-Analysis of the Relevance of Teacher–Student Relationship Quality for Peer Relationships and the Contribution of Student Behavior

Social relationships of students are important. Especially for students with problem behavior. How can a teacher support students in their social relationships via their own interactions with students? A lot, as is shown by a meta-analyses of Hinke Endedijk. She assessed almost 300 studies about teacher-student and peer relationships.

Hinke Endedijk
15 July 2022
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It showed that the teacher predicts the social position of students by how the teacher interacts with this student. Mainly via negative interactions, such as corrections or conflict. Especially for student with externalizing problem behavior, such as oppositional or hyperactive behavior. Teachers have more negative interactions with these students. For classmates it is mainly important how prosocial a student is. But the negative interactions of teacher’s with students with externalizing problem behavior direct the attention of classmates in a negative way to this student. Therefore, they will like this student less.

For teachers, it is important how they frame student behavior, especially for students with externalizing problem behavior. It is important not to respond negatively to student behavior (and therefore the student), but to frame student behavior neutrally of even positively. For example, they can suggest behavior alternatives, give a secret signal, or make a joke.

In this way teacher show that they perceive the student positively, help the student to regulate the behavior and support social relations. When teachers can change negative interactions into positive ones, this will be more favorable for both student and teacher

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