Teacher-Student Relatedness: The Importance of Classroom Relationships for Children with Hearing Loss
Gordey, David Walter
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There is evidence to suggest that there is a strong relationship between psychosocial development and academic performance. The school is an important setting for developing social skills, and students function optimally in the context in which their needs are satisfied. A large amount of research has examined the importance of the teacher-student relationship as an important, contributing factor to student wellness, peer relationship development and academic success. Early identification of hearing loss, early habilitation and new hearing technology have moved the majority of deaf and hard of hearing students into their neighborhood schools. This study explored the facilitators and barriers to the teacher-student relationship for students with hearing loss in mainstream classrooms. Surveys and interviews were used to gather information from teachers, parents, and students on their experiences with the teacher-student relationship and their early elementary classroom. Results revealed five main constructs that were crucial to promoting the teacher-student relationship, and therefore supported the development of relatedness of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. They were transitions, social skill development, teacher understanding of hearing loss, classroom inclusion, and the importance of the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. This study found that parents were doing a great deal of work to ensure that the needs of their deaf or hard of hearing child were being met in their mainstream classroom. Teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing were also found to be instrumental because they supported parents, teachers and the student with hearing loss. This work identified a set of requirements to facilitate a successful teacher-student relationship and it is important that parents are equipped with this knowledge as early as possible.