Date of Award

Winter 2011

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jacob Adams

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mary Poplin

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Carl Cohn

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Rights Information

© 2011 Jennifer Pieratt


The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between pedagogy and teacher-student relationships. Researchers have hypothesized that these relationships can promote better student achievement, particularly among low-income students, and that instruction primarily shapes these relationships. Yet not enough is known about these relationships or their connection to student performance to move forward with school or teaching reforms. This study addresses this lack of knowledge. As such, it contributes to a stream of research that attempts to understand factors that contribute to student learning. The study setting is High Tech Middle North County (HTMNC), a charter school in San Marcos, CA. This case was chosen because of its unique and highly touted teaching practices based on relational and project-based pedagogies. Studying the implementation of these pedagogies and their meaning for the teachers and students at HTMNC will help researchers and educators better understand the role pedagogy plays in fostering teacher-student relationships. Through collegial relationships established by a project-based pedagogy, HTMNC teachers were able to develop positive relationships with students, allowing them to use these relationships to personalize curriculum and differentiate instruction, resulting in increased student motivation and engagement.



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