Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Thomas, Mary Shelley

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Peteet, Julie

Committee Member

Foster, Michèle

Committee Member

Howell, Penny

Author's Keywords

relationships; student-teacher relationships; relationship-building; cross-cultural connections; teacher education; positive relationships


This multiple case study using the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach (Alase, 2017) supported a need to understand the specific realities of student-teacher relationship-building. This investigation allowed a deeper look into four teachers’ perceptions of what it means to build positive relationships with students. This research study added to the literature demonstrating the importance of building strong positive relationships with students built on demonstrations of high expectations and care and driven by mutual understandings and celebration of diverse cultures and identities. Supporting this small group of teachers in investigating their personal beliefs about relationship-building was a step forward in defining systems and processes that can be used to help other educators navigate cultural differences and build positive relationships with students. Specifically, the findings from this study helped identify intentional strategies related to positive relationship-building, with implications for future teacher education programs and professional development.