Race to the Top (RttT) initiatives have strongly focused onmeasuring teacher effectiveness primarily using standardized testscores. However, there is a large body of research that examines thevalue of a teacher’s affective acumen when it comes to a teacher’seffectiveness as an educator (Brophy, 1974; Baker, 1999; Crosnoe,Johnson, & Elder, 2004; Grant & Rothenberg, 1986; Hamre, Pianta,Burchinal, Field, Crouch, Downer, Howes, LaParo, Little, 2012;Leder, 1987). An approach to accountability that includes a broaderrange of measurement of effective classroom instructional practicesshould include the relationships the teacher builds with her/hisstudents. Marzano (2003) studied the practices of effective teachersand determined that “an effective teacher-student relationship may bethe keystone that allows the other aspects to work well” (p.
91). The relationships that teachers develop with their students havean important role in a student’s academic growth. Hallinan (2008)writes “Learning is a process that involves cognitive and socialpsychological dimensions, and both processes should be considered ifacademic achievement is to be maximized” (p. 271). 1 The unbalanced reliance on test scores to determine successdoes not provide an accurate accounting of all that goes into creatingan effective learning environment. Rothstein, Jacobsen, & Wilder(2008) agreed saying, “it is surprising that so many educationpolicymakers have been seduced into thinking that simple quantitativemeasures like test scores can be used to hold schools accountable forachieving complex educational outcomes” (p. 27).
Meyer & Turner (2002) discussed their findings illustrating theimportance of students’ and teachers’ emotions during instructionalinteractions. They determined that “through studying student-teacherinteractions, our conceptualization of what constitutes motivation tolearn increasingly has involved emotions as essential to learning andteaching” (p.107). Their results provide support for further study ofthe inclusion of interpersonal relationships in the instructional settingand to what degree those relationships affect the students’ learningenvironment.
The quality of the relationship between a student and theteacher will result in a greater degree of learning in the classroomaccording to Downey (2008). Mohrman, Tenkasi, & Mohrman, (2003) assert “lasting change does not result from plans, blueprints, and events, rather change occurs 2 through interaction of participants” (p. 321). Strong teacher-studentrelationships may be one of the most important environmental factorsin changing a child’s educational path (Baker, 2006).
This case studywill explore the environmental factors that are deliberately created bythe study participant as she interacts with the student on theireducational path. As Cazden (2001) asserts, the establishment ofsocial relationships can seriously impact effective teaching andaccurate evaluation in a classroom.