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Teacher-Student Relationships and Academic Achievement: What’s the Connection?

By Ann Narcisse, Regional Special Education Training Specialist, and Dale Langley, Behavior Specialist

Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household one of the authors, Ann, was subjected to an ample variety of “dichos”, or sayings, with nuanced meanings. She was repeatedly warned against laziness and lying. Her mother was very concerned about who she spent time with and would frequently say “Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres” (“Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.”) She certainly didn’t know it but she was referring to the similarity/attraction effect! ...

This month’s Bright Spot comes from staff at the Mount Pleasant Cottage, Summit, Hallen, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls and Clarkstown schools who attended a three-day training on Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) facilitated by RSE-TASC Non-District Specialists Fran Fernandez and John McCabe.

What were students able to achieve?

Over the three months in which the training took place, participants shared multiple student Bright Spots, describing how student performance was positively impacted by their use of EDI strategies.  The student impacts were many and diverse, and included things like, “my students increased their participation”, “they increased their test and homework grades”, and “they were able to discover pro/con evidence in a text, fully annotate texts and engage in class discussions.”

What practices or systems made this possible?

Here is just a sampling of the EDI strategies teachers found powerful:

⇒ Explicitly teaching about growth mindsets

⇒ Providing adequate wait time

⇒ Using processing activities like pair-share

⇒ Ensuring every student had ample opportunities to respond by using strategies like white boards and track/pronounce-with-me

⇒ Checking for understanding throughout a lesson using TAPPLE (Teach First, Ask a Question, Pause and Pair, Pick a Non-Volunteer, Listen, and Provide Effective Feedback)

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

The EDI framework for lesson planning and delivery has been proven to be effective for all students, including students with disabilities, through multiple research studies.  More importantly, real teachers in real classrooms are telling us the same — EDI works for their students!


Climate & Relationship Surveys – February 2018

Having read the article "Teacher-Student Relationships and Academic Achievement:  What’s the Connection?" from our February 2018 newsletter, are you wondering about teacher-student relationships in your school?  Consider surveying staff and students about school climate and relationships. To see an example of…

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