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Teacher–Student Interaction

Joshua M. Englehart
Published 2009 · Psychology

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Many of us, particularly those of us how have chosen education as a profession, can think back to a teacher who was exceptionally influential in our school experience or even in our life’s direction. If you have memory of such a teacher, hold his or her qualities in mind... Now, you probably learned a lot of subject matter from this teacher, and this teacher was likely very knowledgeable, but chances are that these are not the reasons why this teacher made such a difference. Chances are that this teacher’s exceptionality lies with how he or she interacted with students. The fact is that a definite thread of similarity runs through teacher preparation programs; teachers generally enter the classroom with comparable training in content and pedagogy. The way that teachers interact with their students is a prominent factor in differentiating one from the next in terms of impact. Individual personality plays a sizeable role in determining a teacher’s particular style of interaction in the classroom. Nonetheless, an awareness of important aspects of interaction can guide one in becoming the kind of teacher who influences the lives of students beyond simply matters of subject matter. In this chapter, I will detail three of such aspects – basic styles of teacher-student interaction, the importance of positive interaction, and barriers to effective interaction.
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