Associations between teacher-child relationships and children's writing in kindergarten and first grade
When children experience conflict in relationships with their teachers during early education, they perform more poorly on measures of language development and overall academic competence. Whereas children who have close relationships with teachers, often perform better on these measures. A close teacher-child relationship may be important for children learning to write, given the complex and personal nature of writing. Yet, scholars have not examined associations between teacher-child relationship quality and children's early success in writing. The current study examined associations between quality of the teacher-child relationship (defined as teachers' perceptions of closeness and conflict and children's feelings about teachers) and children's writing quality in kindergarten and first grade. Children's receptive language was also investigated as a moderator of these associations. Results indicated teacher-child conflict was significantly associated with children's writing quality, after accounting for grade level, initial reading status, and type of instruction. Findings of the study have important implications for future research and practice. Attention to the importance of conflict in teacher-child relationships and its' influence on children's literacy learning and development should be included in future research studies. (author abstract)
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