Wang, C., Harrison, L. J., McLeod, S., Walker, S., & Spilt, J. L. (2017, in press November). Can teacher-child relationships support human rights to freedom of opinion and expression, education, and participation? International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
Here is the abstract:
Purpose: This study explored how teacher-child relationships change over the early school years, in terms of closeness and conflict, whether these trajectories differ in type and frequency for children with typical development and children with speech and language concern (SLC), and whether the trajectories are associated with school outcomes at 12-13 years.
Method: Participants were children, parents, and teachers in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Parents identified 2,890 children with typical communication and 1,442 children with SLC. Teacher-rated teacher-child closeness and conflict were collected biennially over six years. Academic and social-emotional outcomes were reported by teachers and children. Growth mixture modelling was conducted to generate teacher-child relationship trajectories and Wald’s chi-square analyses were used to test the association between trajectories and school outcomes at 12-13 years, after controlling for a range of covariates including child’s sex, language background, indigenous status, age, and socio-economic position.
Result: In both groups, the majority of children had teacher-child relationship trajectories with sustained high closeness and low conflict that predicted positive outcomes at age 12-13, but the SLC group was more at risk of less positive trajectories and poorer school outcomes.
Conclusion: Close, less conflicted relationships with teachers may provide a supportive context for later language, literacy, and social-emotional development. This study highlights the role of teachers in supporting children in their development of communication and academic skills that will optimise their capacity for freedom of opinions and expression, education, and participation, as enshrined in Articles 19, 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.