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Students who perceive that their teachers have high expectations of their academic achievement are more motivated to try to meet those expectations and perform better academically than their peers who perceive low expectations from their teachers (Muller et al., 1999).
Due to the influence of expectations on motivation, expectations can be an important factor on a students’ academic achievement.
Students who perceive their relationship with their teacher as positive, warm and close are motivated to be more engaged in school and to improve their academic achievement (Hughes, Cavell, & Jackson, 1999).
Students’ motivation to learn is impacted positively by having a caring and supportive relationship with a teacher (Wentzel, 1998).
Motivation is closely linked to student’s perceptions of teacher expectations.
Studies of middle and high school students have shown that students shape their own educational expectations from their perceptions of their teachers’ expectations (Muller, Katz, & Dance, 1999).
This includes, relationships with peers, and developing self-esteem and self-concept (Hamre & Pianta, 2001).
In one intervention study that aimed to increase positive relationships between low-income high school students and their teachers, results showed that students who participated in the intervention significantly improved their GPA over the course of five months (Murray & Malmgren, 2005).
Such research shows that positive teacher-student relationships can improve academic skills in students as early as middle school and as late as high school (Midgley et al., 1989; Murray & Malmgren, 2005).
There is substantial research on the importance of teacher-student relationships in the early elementary years (Pianta, 1992; Hamre & Pianta 2001).
However, little is known about the effects of teacher-student relationships on high school students.