Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders

Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders

Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders

Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders

Synopsis

How teachers form and maintain classroom and staffroom relationships is crucial to the success of their work. A teacher who is able to accurately interpret the underlying relationship processes can learn to proactively, rather than reactively, influence the dynamics of any class. These are skills that can be taught. This invaluable text explains how adult attachment theory offers new ways to examine professional teaching relationships, classroom management and collegial harmony: equally important information for school leaders, teacher mentors and proteges.

Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship addresses three significant gaps in the current literature on classroom management:

  • the effects of teachers' attachment style on the formation and maintenance of classroom and staffroom relationships
  • the importance of attachment processes in scaffolding teachers' and students emotional responses to daily educational tasks
  • the degree of influence these factors have on teachers' classroom behaviour, particularly management of student behaviour.

Based on recent developments in adult attachment theory, this book highlights the key aspects of teacher-student relationships that teachers and teacher educators should know. As such, it will be of great interest to educational researchers, teacher educators, students and training teachers.

Excerpt

A note about gender

Throughout the book the feminine gender is used to represent all people while keeping the grammar manageable. This is not to imply that teaching is or should be increasingly done by women as current trends indicate. In fact I believe there is very good evidence to suggest that more men should be teaching. Studies reported by Hrdy (2009) show that males involved in childcare of all types have increased levels of prolactin and decreased levels of testoterone, and that the most violent societies are the ones that have extreme sex segregation. She believes men are a largely untapped source of nurture in many societies. If more men were teaching, societies would increase male nurturing.

A note about educational leadership

There are two distinguishing features of educational leadership that differ from the leadership of many other professions. First, educational leaders generally move up from the shop floor, beginning their careers as classroom teachers and moving through the ranks to leadership positions. The second distinguishing feature lies in the nature of teachers’ work. Teaching is also a form of leadership. Teachers are the leaders of their classes. This means that formally appointed educational leaders lead leaders, not followers. Yet for their leadership to be effective teachers must be followers also, at least to a certain extent. This structure creates a number of challenges for educational leaders and for the teachers as leader-followers.

Teachers practice leadership from their first day in the classroom. When they are appointed to formal school leadership positions they bring all of this experience of leadership, albeit with children, to the role. This is not to underplay the significant new challenges that leading adults demands of educational leadership. However, as will be outlined in the text, leadership in the context of schools and teaching are almost interchangeable in terms of attachment theory. The rapidly growing literature on leadership conceived as an attachment relationship attests to this, but until now this has not been applied to educational leadership. Therefore, as the teacher– student relationship has many similarities to the leader–follower relationship, when . . .

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