Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Teacher Connectedness Project

The Teacher Connectedness Project started on 4th July 2016 and represents a very exciting collaboration between the HBSC Spain and HBSC England teams. During the next 2 years, the Teacher Connectedness Project team will work to get a better understanding of relationships between young people and their teachers and how they can improve young people’s wellbeing.

But what does connectedness mean and why should we pay attention to it? Connectedness comes from the word ‘connection’ and therefore we used the term teacher connectedness to refer to meaningful relationships with teachers. Previous research shows that supportive and trusting relationships with teachers have very positive effects on young people’s wellbeing in and outside the school 1,2. In an earlier study we found that teacher connectedness is very important for the emotional wellbeing of both Spanish and English adolescents of all ages and regardless of how well or not so well they thought they did at school3 (read our earlier blog post for a summary). Unfortunately, research also shows that relationships with teachers tend to become more distant during secondary school – HBSC data below can serve to illustrate this.

Figure 1. Percentage of adolescents who agree or strongly agree with the statement "teachers care about me as a person".
Source: HBSC England and HBSC Spain, 2014

In the Teacher Connectedness Project, we want to know more about what the key ingredients are that make it possible to establish and maintain meaningful student-teacher connections.

And because nobody can know better about teacher-student relationships than teachers and students themselves we are looking forward to having the opportunity to hear from them directly. We will be going to schools in Hertfordshire to have chats with groups of young people and interviews with their teachers from January 2017 onwards, so any local secondary school that want to share their views with us is more than welcome. Just let us know!

If you’d like, you can find further information about the project and its team at our website. You can also follow us on Twitter @TeachConProject to keep track of all the new findings and activities linked to the Teacher Connectedness Project.

Teachers, students, your views and feedback are very much appreciated!

1.  Kidger, J., Araya, R., Donovab, J., & Gunnel, D. (2012). The effect of the school environment on the emotional health of adolescents: A systematic review. Pediatrics 129(5): 925-949. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-2248

2. Shochet, I. M., Dadds, M. R., Ham, D. & Montague, R. (2006). School connectedness is an underemphasized parameter in adolescent mental health: Results of a community prediction study. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 35(2): 170-179. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3502_1

3. GarcĂ­a-Moya, I., Brooks, F., Morgan, A., & Moreno, C. (2015). Subjective well-being in adolescence and teacher connectedness. A health asset analysis. Health Education Journal, 74(6), 641-654. doi: 10.1177/0017896914555039.


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