The Role of Responsive Classroom in the Attainment of Positive. Student-Teacher Relationships, Academic, and Social Success

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1 The Role of Responsive Classroom in the Attainment of Positive Student-Teacher Relationships, Academic, and Social Success Maryanne Montgomery Professor Shaughnessy Zeena May 2009 In partial fulfillment of requirements for Thesis II (Excerpt)

2 ABSTRACT The Responsive Classroom approach is a teaching program used in elementary classrooms. Responsive Classroom is guided by best practices that focus on developing students academic, social, and emotional skills (RC ). The purpose of this Action Research is to gain a deeper understanding of how the Responsive Classroom curriculum enables a classroom teacher to meet the varying needs of students, in order to foster positive studentteacher relationships. This is evidenced by students attainment of academic and social learning goals. The findings will enable the researcher to develop as a teacher and learn the best practices and methods of implementation to help future students reach their highest potential. The Action Research was designed using the triangulation method. Data collection was broken into three parts. These include observations, interviews, and students artifacts. This course of action enabled the researcher to draw conclusions about the Responsive Classroom s effect on positive student-teacher relationships and academic and social success. Overall, Responsive Classroom practices were found to generate a positive physical and emotional atmosphere. The teacher was able to assist students in their attainment of academic and social learning goals. Students academic and social success evidenced the teacher s capability to meet students needs. This supported the development of positive student-teacher relationships and enabled progress towards individuals reaching their highest potential. In conclusion, data collected revealed the Responsive Classroom curriculum does promote the development of positive student-teacher relationships because of the practices usefulness in enabling the teacher to meet students needs and attain academic and social success.

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract...2 Chapter 1: Introduction..5 Chapter 2: Literature Review...9 Chapter 3: Research Proposal..35 Chapter 4: Methodology..43 Chapter 5: Data Analysis.49 Chapter 6: Conclusions 85 Chapter 7: Limitations.90 Chapter 8: Suggestions for Future Research...92 Appendix A: Letters of Consent..94 Appendix B: Endicott College IRB Document Appendix C: Data Collection Methods...99 Appendix D: Mapping Appendix E: References 114

4 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

5 Introduction The Responsive Classroom approach is a teaching program implemented in elementary classrooms that is guided by researched best practices and based on current education philosophy. Responsive Classroom practices are supported and designed around the belief that children achieve when the curriculum focuses on academic, social, and emotional development (RC ). In order for students to reach their highest potential, an effective teachinglearning process within the academic and social curriculum must be established. This is accomplished through the development of positive student-teacher relationships. Literature Review findings revealed student-teacher relationships contribute to academic achievement and minimize discipline problems. Student-teacher relationships were a strong indicator of future academic and behavioral outcomes. Students who developed positive relationships were able to avoid future behavior problems (Hamre & Pianta 2001). Considering the wide range of individual s academic and social needs, this Action Research seeks to determine whether the implementation of the Responsive Classroom curriculum enables the teacher to meet students needs, and foster positive student-teacher relationships. This ultimately leads to students academic and social success. This evidences the teacher s ability to meet students requirements and fulfill her obligations using Responsive Classroom practices. Data collection for the Action Research was designed using the triangulation method. This process included observations, interviews, and artifacts. Observations included teacher and student evaluations. First, the researcher determined nineteen academic and social needs of students. Information was recorded indicating the ability of the classroom teacher to meet

6 students needs using Responsive Classroom practices. Second, five academic and fourteen social criteria evidencing students attainment of success were identified. Observations supporting students attainment of these goals were documented. Third, twelve positive and twelve negative student attitudes were classified in a Student Attitude Chart. Observations revealing students response to Responsive Classroom practices were recorded. A teacher interview and student surveys were given. Obtaining the teacher s perspective included having her identify which Responsive Classroom practices best enabled her to meet students needs and facilitate academic and social success. The interview also attempted to determine what the teacher thought about the importance of positive student-teacher relationships in developing academic and social success. Surveys revealed students opinions about Responsive Classroom practices. Students beliefs pointed toward the teacher s ability to meet students needs. Additionally, artifacts included photography and student work. Photography and mapping documented the teacher s use of Responsive Classroom practices and demonstrated how they facilitated academic and social learning. Student work evidenced the teacher s ability to meet students academic and social needs as well as students attainment of academic and social success. Taken as a whole, these methods of data collection enabled the researcher to draw conclusions. These revealed the Responsive Classroom s usefulness in enabling the teacher to meet students needs, build positive relationships with each child, and generate social and academic achievement. The Action Research was conducted in a second grade classroom of twenty students, ages seven to eight. The class consisted of both typically developing students as well as children with special needs. The elementary school where the research took place consists of grades K-6, in which the Responsive Classroom approach is implemented. The school is located in a small,

7 suburban town north of Boston. With a population averaging 5,000, residents consist of a majority of upper-middle class Caucasians. The Curriculum Analysis conducted in this setting enabled the researcher to draw conclusions about whether the teacher s implementation of the Responsive Classroom approach enabled her to meet students needs, build positive studentteacher relationships, and generate academic and social success.

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