Promoting student holistic success through positive relationships : a descriptive case study of elementary teachers and fourth and fifth grade students.


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Many teachers continue to send students to the office for disruptive behavior instead of conversing with students about the situation to better understand the why behind the behavior. Students lose valuable instructional time when teachers send them out of the classroom for behavioral issues, thus decreasing the opportunity for teachers to create meaningful relationships with them. Not only does exclusion from the classroom environment hinder students, but the exclusion also severs the relationship between the student and teacher. This descriptive case study described the benefits of the positive teacher and student relationship fostered through using restorative practices at a Title I school in the Washington D.C. area. It also explained how restorative practices impacted student-teacher relationships and discipline infractions. This study highlighted how students and teachers felt about restorative practices and if restorative practice had been a factor in improving the classroom culture related to student behavior and student motivation. The theoretical framework for this study was William Glasser’s Choice Theory. The framework drove the research questions and data collection protocols and analysis. Choice theory indicated choices, which led to a person’s quality world. The quality world helped to explain why students did or did not make good behavior choices in the school atmosphere. This theory provided insight as to why it was important for teachers to build positive relationships with their students. This study utilized teacher and student questionnaires as well as teacher and student interviews for the data collection process. Analysis of the data involved using NVivo to store and examine the data captured from the interviews. I coded the data explored from the interviews into themes using Choice Theory’s five basic needs, which included love and belonging, power, survival, freedom, and fun.

Implementing restorative practices within the classroom has shown positive outcomes for both teachers and students. When engaged in restorative practices, students violated school expectations less while maintaining positive relationships and interactions with teachers and peers. Overall, students showed more involvement in the school environment, allowing for growth and success.



Academics. Behavior. Circles. Discipline. Motivation. Negative. Positive. Punitive. Socioeconomic. Student. Success. Relationship. Restorative practice. Teacher. Zero tolerance.