Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

Linda L. Griffin

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gagne

Third Advisor

Daniel S. Gerber

Subject Categories



The purpose of this qualitative study was to use grounded theory and case study methodology to identify and describe the ways that an upper elementary school teacher makes students feel known and respected for who they are by creating a relationship-driven classroom community. Analyzing how a teacher uses a relationship-driven classroom community has the potential to improve upon existing classroom community models. Data were collected from a teacher questionnaire, student questionnaire, samples of student work, document collection, two formal interviews with ten students, two formal interviews the teacher, and descriptive field notes from observations. Results indicated creating teacher-student relationships that make students feel known and important has the potential to offset the issues resulting from the disconnect between teachers and students and could lead to greatly improved student achievement. The results also provide new directions in the following areas: (a) teacher-student relationships, i.e., making students feel known and important; (b) creating classroom communities that are formed around teacher-student relationships; and (c) accounting for the mismatch between teachers and students.


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