A Finnish study by researchers investigated ‘Investigating Bidirectional Links Between the Quality of Teacher-Child Relationships and Children’s Interest and Pre-Academic Skills in Literacy and Math.'
The study was a part of the ‘Teacher Stress Study’ which is led by Professor Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen and Associate Professor Eija Pakarinen, Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä (Finland).
This study investigated bidirectional links between the quality of teacher-child relationships and children's interest and pre-academic skills in literacy and math. Furthermore, differences in the patterns of bidirectionality between boys and girls were explored.
The Participants of the study were 461 Finnish kindergarteners (6-year-olds) and their 48 teachers. All around the kindergarten year, twice teachers reported their closeness and conflicts with every student. On the other hand, children rated their interest in literacy and math, they were also tested pre-academically.
Cross-lagged path models indicated that teacher-perceived conflict predicted lower interest and pre-academic skills in both literacy and math. Results were similar for boys and girls. Implications for reducing conflictual patterns of relationships, together with promoting other factors, are discussed.
The results show that there were statistically signiﬁcant correlations between teacher-child relationship quality variables and child outcomes, the associations being larger for teacher-perceived conﬂict.
According to the research conclusion, there should be interventions and teacher preparation programs. These programs should focus mainly on building and fostering the positive aspects of teacher-child relation. Kindergarten teachers should also be provided with prior knowledge about how their relationships with their students can inﬂuence their (child’s) later academic interest.
Professor Jaana Viljaranta says, “Compared to daycare, kindergarten introduces children to a more structured learning environment. The experiences children gain in this environment may have long-term consequences on the development of their academic motivation and competencies. Therefore, it is essential that our teachers are aware of the power their interaction with children may have, and that they are supported in finding optimal ways to interact with each child while taking individual strengths and needs into consideration.”
Paper Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343538745_Investigating_Bidirectional_Links_Between_the_Quality_of_Teacher-Child_Relationships_and_Children's_Interest_and_Pre-Academic_Skills_in_Literacy_and_Math
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