How to handle a teacher’s call for help from students
When a teacher calls for help in her classroom, students often respond with questions and criticism, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University.
The study, which surveyed over 2,000 college students in New England, is one of the first to examine how teachers respond to a call for support.
The research found that students are more likely to offer support when they think it will benefit their teacher, the researchers say.
For instance, students who responded to the call for assistance as supportive were more likely than students who did not to say they were happy with their teacher’s response, and more likely say that they felt safe to share their concerns with their teachers.
In fact, teachers who responded with positive feedback were twice as likely as those who responded negatively to students who had been bullied in their own school.
The researchers said the results may help educators recognize when a call to help is needed.
“Our findings show that teachers can use a simple set of questions to assess the needs of their students, and can provide support even when the students themselves do not agree,” said Dr. Kathryn Rose Perkins, one of three authors of the study.
Perkins, a professor of educational psychology at Boston College, is also a member of the faculty at Harvard.
She is the author of “Schools and Teachers: The Effects of Teaching on Students’ Experiences” (Cambridge University Press).
In her study, Perkins surveyed 2,100 students in her class, all students attending the same Massachusetts public high school.
The students were randomly assigned to receive a parent-teacher contact call or a parent and teacher call.
After the first call, the students were asked to answer questions about their own bullying experiences, and to answer one of four questions about how their school and teachers support each other.
The questions asked students to rate their teacher on four scales ranging from 1 to 5, ranging from very positive to very negative.
The students who received a parent call were more than twice as positive and more than three times as negative than those who received teacher-teaching support.
Students who received support from their parents were less likely to say that their teachers are supportive.
Teachers who received positive feedback from students also were more supportive of their teachers than those teachers who received negative feedback.
This type of support can be helpful to students, the study found, and may also help them feel more comfortable in their school environment.
Perks said that teachers who receive positive feedback are more often able to recognize and address their students’ needs and concerns.
“The support they offer may be particularly helpful for students who are feeling excluded or have difficulty accessing resources,” she said.
Perk said the research suggests that teachers should encourage students to discuss their bullying experience, as well as offer support for students in need of help.
The study also found that teachers were more willing to respond to students when they saw their teachers doing well.
Teaching students about their bullying experiences is important, but it can be difficult because of the stigma associated with it, said Perkins.
“If we want to help students in their time of need, we need to help them talk about their experience, and we need teachers to offer their support.”
The study is published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
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