The joint operations of teacher-student and peer relationships on classroom engagement among low-achieving elementary students: A longitudinal multilevel study

Tianyu Li, Zhe Wang, Gabriel J. Merrin, Sirui Wan, Kaiwen Bi, Michaela Quintero, Seowon Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although both teacher-student relationship (TSR) and peer relationship (PR) have been found important for the development of students’ classroom engagement, little research has been done regarding the joint operations of these two factors. Guided by a developmental systems framework, this study examined longitudinal between-person and within-person associations between TSR/ PR and classroom engagement in a sample of 784 low-achieving students in the first three years of elementary school. A multidimensional approach was used to distinguish positive and negative dimensions of TSR, as well as peer liking and disliking. At the between-person level, results showed that students’ classroom engagement was positively predicted by positive TSR and PR liking and was negatively predicted by negative TSR and PR disliking. Both positive and negative TSR interacted with PR disliking at the between-person level, such that the associations between positive/negative TSR and classroom engagement were stronger for students with lower levels of PR disliking. At the within-person level, changes in classroom engagement were associated with contemporaneous year-to-year changes in positive/negative TSR and PR disliking. No within-person level interaction effects were found. Cross-level interaction showed that the effects of within-person negative TSR on classroom engagement were stronger for students with lower overall levels of PR disliking. Findings highlighted the importance of using a multilevel multidimensional approach to understand the joint operations of TSR and PR in the development of classroom engagement in low-achieving students in early elementary school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102258
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume77
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Between- and within-person effects
  • Classroom engagement
  • Early elementary school students
  • Peer relationship
  • Teacher-student relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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