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Motivation may play a key role in the relationship between teacher-student relationships and academic outcomes (Bandura, 1997; Fan & Willams, 2010; Pajares & Graham, 1996; Ryan, Stiller, & Lynch, 1994; Wentzel, 2003; Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez-Pons, 1992).
Furthermore, students who went from low teacher closeness to high teacher closeness significantly increased in math skills over the transition year, from elementary to middle school (Midgley et al., 1989).
There is substantial research on the importance of teacher-student relationships in the early elementary years (Pianta, 1992; Hamre & Pianta 2001).
However, little is known about the effects of teacher-student relationships on high school students.
Through this secure relationship, students learn about socially appropriate behaviors as well as academic expectations and how to achieve these expectations (Hamre & Pianta, 2001).
Students in low-income schools can especially benefit from positive relationships with teachers (Murray & Malmgren, 2005).