Focusing on student-teacher relationships

Why are student-teacher relationships important?

Did you have a favourite teacher at school? For most of us, there’s at least one that stands out.

The relationship between student and teacher is such an important one. It’s not just central to learning, it can also have long-lasting effects on academic and social development.

According to a 2014 study by McCormick and O’Connor15, students who have strong, positive relationships with their teachers are more likely to reach higher levels of achievement compared to those who don’t.

They also found that positive student-teacher relationships in primary school contributed to increased achievement in reading, while relationships with conflict were linked to lower reading achievement.

It’s a similar story for maths. Students who work in classrooms with a higher level of emotional support have increased engagement in their learning. Students in these environments are also more motivated to learn maths and are more willing to help their peers learn new concepts16.

These relationships don’t just affect students in the short term either. The relationship a student has with their teacher in their first year of school can impact their academic achievement and behaviour through to early high school17.

In their study, Hamre and Pianta18 reported that students who had more conflict with teachers or showed a greater dependency toward them had lower academic achievement in maths, language, and arts as well as behavioural problems throughout their schooling.

Maths Pathway understands the importance of student-teacher relationships. That’s why teachers are central to our Learning and Teaching Model.

We know that it can be really difficult for teachers to develop strong, productive relationships with every student that they teach. They don’t have enough time to meet with every student regularly, or the information on hand to truly understand where each individual is at.

Maths Pathway brings relationships to the forefront, building in dedicated time for teachers to meet with every student to set learning goals and discuss progress. And with live data on hand, teachers can get a clear picture of each student’s current learning needs so they can provide meaningful feedback and direction.

This supports teachers to really get to know their students and create a strong foundation for a positive learning environment. They have the time to encourage each individual to recognise their progress and experience success in maths. Often, for the very first time.

It makes relationships stronger. It’s a different way for staff to deliver maths. Once you understand Maths Pathway, you can’t not implement it. You really can’t. You’re really letting the kids down if you don’t.

Michael Green, BADEN POWELL COllege


15. McCormick, M. P, & O’Connor, E. E, 2014, ‘Teacher-child relationship quality and academic achievement in elementary school: Does gender matter?’ Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 502–516.

16. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E, Baroody, A E, Larsen, R. A. A, Curby, T. W, & Abry, T, 2014, ‘To what extent do teacher-student interaction quality and student gender contribute to fifth graders’ engagement in mathematics learning?’ Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(1), 170–185,

17. Hamre, B. K, & Pianta, R C, (2001), ‘Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade’ Child Development, 72, 625-638.

18. Hamre, B. K, & Pianta, R C, (2001), ‘Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade’ Child Development, 72, 625-638.


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How does Maths Pathway work?

Maths Pathway combines evidence-based practices in a holistic model that supports teachers to deliver differentiated teaching and achieve greater student growth in the classroom.

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