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Attachment Study

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Abstract: This study examines the relationship between teacher-student attachment and teachers’ attitude towards work. We show that teacher-student attachment and teachers’ attitudes towards work appear critical in promoting and maintaining positive teacher behaviours. Communication connects students with teachers, improving the classroom atmosphere. Teachers who communicate effectively with their students can give them appropriate and helpful feedback. Teacher-student interaction is extremely important for a successful relationship through the entire school year.

Keywords: teacher, student, attachment, attitude, work Abstrak: Tujuan kajian ini adalah untuk menguji hubungan di antara perapatan gurumurid dan sikap guru terhadap kerja.

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Kajian ini menunjukkan bahawa perapatan gurumurid dan sikap guru terhadap kerja kelihatan amat penting dalam mempromosikan dan mengekalkan tingkahlaku guru yang positif. Komunikasi di antara pelajar dan guru menyumbang kepada ikatan di antara kedua mereka, yang menyediakan atmosfera yang baik untuk persekitaran bilik darjah.

Guru, yang berkomunikasi secara efektif dengan pelajar mereka, memberi maklum balas yang betul dan membantu pelajar. Interaksi gurumurid menjadi amat penting untuk suatu hubungan yang berjaya di sepanjang masa tahun persekolahan.

Kata kunci: guru, murid, perapatan, sikap, kerja INTRODUCTION Teachers are expected to be positive role models for their students, both inside and outside the classroom. Rose (2005) has examined the role of educators as role models in formal and informal education, and stressed that role models can expose groups to specific attitudes, lifestyles and outlooks.

Children often see teachers as important role models on par with parents (Rose, 2005). According to Carr (2000), teachers, regardless of subject area, have a moral role to play in education. It is the teachers’ duty to be socially acceptable by keeping themselves morally upright, refraining from gambling, abhorring drunkenness and other excesses, and avoiding immoral relations. 55 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak Referring to Sava (2001), teachers’ actions could actually have some lasting negative effects on students.

Unfortunately, on top of that, Kearney, Plax, Hays and Iveys (1991) reported that researchers often tend to overlook teachers as a potential source of problems in the classroom. Compared to the large body of literature that focuses on positive teacher communication behaviours, fewer studies have been done on negative teacher communication behaviours (Wanzer & McCroskey, 1998). Concurrently, educational reform tends to focus only on curricula, neglecting the importance of effective teacher-student interaction.

Teacher support can be conceptualised similarly to social support in schools, which is strongly related to a student’s psychological well-being (acceptance, care, encouragement and approval from others) and may improve students’ selfesteem and self-evaluation (Sava, 2001). On the other hand Bru, Boyesen, Munthe and Roland (1998) asserted that lack of teacher support would hinder students from developing a positive self-concept. Despite all these compelling reasons to study teachers’ behaviour, researching negative teacher-student interactions is often considered a taboo, which can make study in this area difficult (Poenaru & Sava, 1998).

Besides, according to Sava (2001), it is ironic to study a teacher’s mistakes or faulty education when their primary aim is to be educational agents. Unfortunately, studying the characteristics of effective teachers will not give us all the elements necessary to understand teacher misbehaviour (Sava, 2001). However, it might give us a better understanding and provide a discussion frame for such problems in order to improve teacher training programs.

In this paper, we examine the relationship of teacher-student attachment to teachers’ attitude towards work. Teacher-Student Attachment Ainsworth and her colleagues (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970) were the first to provide empirical evidence for Bowlby’s (1988) attachment theory. Using the strange situation procedure, Ainsworth and Bell classified infants into one of three categories: (1) secure, in which infants use the mother as a secure base for exploration and seek contact with her after separation; (2) anxious-ambivalent (later called resistant”), in which infants are unable to use the mother as a secure base and are often angry and push her away upon reunion; (3) anxious-avoidant, in which infants fail to use the mother as a secure base for exploration and avoid the mother upon reunion or approach her only indirectly. More recent work (Main & Solomon, 1990) presented a fourth category (disorganised-disoriented), in which infants have no predictable or effective pattern of eliciting care-giving behaviours when stressed.

Each of these attachment classifications, across the lifespan, falls on a continuum of emotional regulation for managing affect, events, and relationships (Dozier, Stovall, & Albus, 1999). This conceptualisation places the anxious–avoidant style, with its overly organised strategies for 56 Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes controlling and minimising affect, at one end of the continuum, and the relatively uncontrolled, poorly managed affect of anxious–resistant styles at the opposite end. Secure attachment, falling along the midpoint of the emotional continuum, reflects a balance of the two extremes of emotional regulation.

Those with disorganised–disoriented attachment classifications may present a range of behaviours involving under-controlled emotional reactions such as impulsive verbal or physical aggression or over-controlled responses in which emotions are difficult to express and behaviour may reflect withdrawal and difficulty handling conflict (Jacobite & Hazen, 1999). Thus, their emotional reactions are unpredictable and typically maladaptive. Bowlby (1988) suggests that attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure.

Previous research has found that adults differ according to their own attachment style in their ability to act as a secure base for children in their care. Secure adults are typically better at realistically evaluating their own relationship histories and responding sensitively and appropriately to a child’s attachment needs (Crowell & Feldman, 1988) than adults with an insecure attachment history. Pianta, Steinberg and Rollins (1995) define positive teacher-student relationships as ‘warm, close, communicative,’ and such relationships are linked to behavioural competence and better school adjustment.

Teacher and student attachment has been identified as a significant influence on students’ overall school and behavioural adjustment (Baker et al. 1997). According to Fisher and Cresswell (1999), interaction with other people (students, other teachers, and staff) is actually a major part of most teachers’ school days. Therefore, it is important to study the naturalness and quality of teacher-student relationships, as it influences the quality of their relationships (Sava, 2001).

According to researchers, the qualities that lead to effective teacher-student relationships are positive affection (Poenaru & Sava, 1998), warm attitude (Elmore & LaPointe, 1975), tact in teaching (Van Manen, 1991), teacher immediacy and teacher power (Thweatt & McCroskey, 1996), teacher assertiveness and responsiveness (Wanzer & McCroskey, 1998), and low differential treatment (Brattesani, Weinstein & Marshall, 1984). Lack of any of these traits may negatively influence teacher-student interaction.

According to Kennedy and Kennedy (2004), teachers with a dismissing (avoidant) attachment style may have difficulty recognising their own lack of warmth, trust and sensitivity in their relationships with their students. These teachers may have unrealistic expectations for their students’ maturity and independence, as they themselves may have learned to be overly self-reliant and distant in their own interpersonal relationships. Teachers with a dismissing status may generally respond to students by distancing themselves, demonstrating a lack of warmth and understanding.

The teacher with a preoccupied (resistant) style may be intermittently attuned to students’ needs and easily become involved 57 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak in dealing with specific observable behaviours without addressing underlying problems. Kennedy and Kennedy (2004) furthermore reported that teachers, regardless of their attachment status, may perceive the anxious-avoidant student as passively aggressive, angry, withdrawn, and uncooperative and the anxiousresistant students as overly dependent and reactive, demanding of attention, and prone to impulsivity and acting-out behaviour.

The disorganised student may be viewed as aggressive, reactive, unpredictable, and difficult to manage. Because of their own relationship needs, teachers may be more accepting of students with one attachment style than students with another one (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004). Teachers with preoccupied status, because of their own dependency needs, may be more supportive of the anxious-resistant student and rejecting of anxiousavoidant and disorganised students, bolstering the negative internal working model of relationships for these children.

Teachers with a dismissing attachment style (with the need to maintain an emotional distance from others) would be expected to show less acceptance of anxious-resistant and disorganised students (who need too much help or supervision), but also fail to support avoidant children (who are reluctant to ask for assistance). Both dismissing and preoccupied teachers would be expected to work best with children secure in attachment style (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004).

The secure teacher, on the other hand, may recognise in the anxious-avoidant students’ withdrawal and aloofness, the anxious-resistant students’ dependency and the disorganised students’ acting out behaviour the need to foster positive supportive interaction, trust, and relatedness in their relationship (a process that may foster a more positive internal working model and a more cooperative relationship) (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004). As Sava (2001) reported, the organisational climate in schools, teachers’ ideologies, and their level of burnout (outcome of stress) could harm teacherstudent relationships.

Affected teacher-student relationships can in turn cause teacher-conflict-inducing attitudes (lack of teacher emotional support, teacher misbehaviour or hostility). Sava (2001) reported that the quality of teacherstudent relationships can influence students’ educational and psychosomatic outcomes. Concurrently, high incidences of educational, psychological and somatic complaints are seen in students whose teachers they characterise as more hostile in their attitude towards them.

Teachers who have lower morale due to school climate conditions and who are more likely to burn out tend to adopt conflict-inducing attitudes towards students, which will in turn lead to educational and psychosomatic complaints in students (Sava, 2001). According to Abidin and Kmetz (1997), teacher-student relationships are one of the factors that influence teachers’ stress, and the stresses developed by teachers are reflected in their behaviour towards students. Teachers, as reported by Abidin and Kmetz (1997), have different perceptions and experienced different stress 58

Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes levels with regard to specific students in classroom (behaviourally challenging students and typical students). These perceptions and stress levels are linked to their classroom behaviours and may bias a teacher’s behaviour towards those students. In addition, teachers’ behaviour towards challenging students involved greater amounts of negative and neutral behaviours compared to the control students (Abidin & Kmetz, 1997).

Briefly, if teachers’ stress levels increase, this will decrease their positive behaviour towards the students, and the teacher will avoid contact or ignore the students. The more stress induced by the students, the less engaged the teacher will be with the students, which affects the teacherstudent relationship (Abidin & Kmetz, 1997). Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Work The word “attitude” is defined within the framework of social psychology as a subjective or mental preparation for action. It defines outward and visible postures and human beliefs.

Attitudes determine what each individual will see, hear, think and do. They are rooted in experience and do not become automatic, routine conduct. Furthermore, “attitude” means the individual’s prevailing tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably to an object (person or group of people, institutions or events) (Morris & Maisto, 2005). Attitudes can be positive (values) or negative (prejudices). According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2007), there are three components of attitudes: affective, cognitive and behavioural.

The affective component is a feeling or an emotion one has about an object or situation. The cognitive component is the beliefs or ideas one has about an object or situation, whereas the behavioural component of attitude reflects how one intends to act or behave towards someone or something (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). In most situations, the three components appear concomitantly to shape teachers’ classroom postures, through direct and indirect interaction between society, school and teachers (Leite, 1994). Moreover, teachers’ styles and attitudes are strong context outcomes rooted in experience.

They do not become automatic routine behaviours, in the sense that they are developed through very slow interactions (action and reaction), and become well-established constructs for each individual only after some time (Carr, 1990). In that sense, as noted by Carr (1990), attitudes can be modified only by each individual, when they become aware, through elements and evidence, that new postures would be better to deal with the surrounding world. Attitudes towards work mean perceptions that affect how employees perform in their positions.

In the mid-1970s, Brophy and Good (1974) reported that many educational researchers have supported the idea that teachers’ attitudes and expectations can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Brophy and Good (1974) also proposed that once teachers develop a particular attitude or belief, they may begin to treat students differently in ways that help bring about the outcomes that they 59 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak expect. On the other hand, according to Petty and Cacioppo (1986), attitude and behaviour are defined comprehensively as individuals’ general evaluations about themselves, others, other objects, events and problems.

Briefly, attitudes do predict people’s behaviour. In order to understand teachers’ attitudes and understand how attitude reflects teachers’ behaviour, we could examine many components of attitude in context of organisational behaviour. In this study, we would like to focus on four components of attitude used to assess teachers’ attitude towards work: job satisfaction (Mitchell & Lasan, 1987), commitment, communication, and alienation (Northcraft & Neale, 1996). According to Mitchell and Lason (1987), in the organisational behaviour field, job satisfaction is the most important and frequently studied attitude.

It reflects the extent to which people like their jobs (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). As expected, teachers’ working conditions, assessed by their level of job satisfaction, affect teacher-student interaction. Hence, higher levels of job satisfaction improve teachers’ morale, which students perceive positively. ‘Commitment’ is a term used to distinguish those who are ‘caring’, ‘dedicated’, and who ‘take the job seriously’ from those who ‘put their own interests first’ (Nias, 1989).

Commitment is an important work attitude, because committed individuals are expected to be willing to work harder to achieve their goal and remain employed (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). Nonetheless, according to Kelchtermans (2005), teachers do not all have the same level of commitment to their job. For some teachers, commitment is a major part of their lives, and they afford it extensive consideration and high priority. Others may perceive it differently, seeing teaching as just a job (Kelchtermans, 2005).

Meanwhile, a reflexive account of research over a 20-year period with 54 primary school teachers indicated that the word ‘commitment’ appeared in almost every interview (Nias, 1989). In a different context, Jackson, Boostrom and Hansen (1993), Goodlad (1990) and Sockett (1993) have reported the moral purposes of teachers, using words such as ‘courage’, ‘integrity’, ‘honesty’, ‘care’ and ‘fairness’. It is easy to see how these words may be associated with commitment. The more obvious signs of commitment are enthusiasm for the job and for the people with whom one works.

Individuals’ commitment levels affect their performance at work. However, findings reported by Leung (1997) and Tett and Meyer (1993) on commitment outcomes, particularly turnover, absenteeism, tardiness, and work performance, are mixed, weak, or inconsistent. Communication manifests itself in attitudes as accuracy and openness of information exchange. Effective communication is the heart of creating and maintaining an effective school (Rafferty, 2003). Communication that occurs within schools is crucial in shaping teachers’ social reality. School excellence is 60

Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes directly related to what teachers think and do. Teachers’ attitudes and behaviour strongly rely on their perceptions about their schools. The fourth component of attitude is alienation, meaning the extent to which staff members feel disappointed with their careers and professional development (Rafferty, 2003). On the whole, the concept of positive student-teacher interaction is multi-dimensional, as it involves organisation, workload (difficulty), expected fairness of grading, instructor knowledge, and perceiving learning.

Teaching has been identified as a stressful profession (Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1978b; Milstein & Golaszewski, 1985). High stress among teachers has many negative consequences, including higher than average levels of anxiety and depression (Beer & Beer, 1992; Travers & Cooper, 1994) and a desire to quit the profession and to use drugs (Watts & Short, 1990). Indeed, according to Bakewell (1988) and Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978b), teachers’ relationships with their students affect their stress levels significantly. According to Mancini et al. 1984), teachers with depersonalisation (an ‘alteration’ in the perception or experience of the self so that one feels ‘detached’ from one’s mental processes or body ) will behave immorally and fail to give information to their students. These teachers tend to deny opinions and ideas from students as well as fail to interact or communicate with their students. Several studies show that teacher stress predicted negative teacher and student relationships. Significant correlations were found among teacher stress and negative relationships between teacher and student (Yoon, 2002).

Teacher stress arises from being unable to discipline pupils in the way they would prefer (Lewis, 1999). Referring to Day, Elliot and Kington’s (2005) study, teacher commitment has been found to be a critical predictor of teachers’ work performance, absenteeism, retention, burnout and turnover. Day et al. (2005) suggested that teachers remained committed to their beliefs throughout their professional life. Although their levels of engagement with particular practices were modified through various life events and activities, their commitment to their ideological positions did not diminish.

However, some teachers’ commitment might vary over time, because different people have different levels, and some can plateau earlier or later than others. Commitment was moderated through a range of factors; some of which were sustaining and some diminishing. Teachers were less likely to engage in particular activities or behave in particular ways at one point in time, depending on various work and life contextual factors such as school contexts, and relationships with students and colleagues. These seemed to be the major work and life factors that diminished commitment (Huberman, 1993a; 1993b). 61 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak

The relationship between job satisfaction and stress coping skills of primary school teachers has been studied extensively by Bindhu and Kumar (2007). Bindhu and Kumar’s (2007) study shows a statistically significant difference in job satisfaction between male and female primary school teachers. However, in case of stress coping skills, they found no statistically significant difference. Bindhu and Kumar’s (2007) study also shows a significant and positive correlation between job satisfaction and stress coping skills, which are selfreliance, pro-active attitude, adaptability and flexibility, and total stress coping skills.

In brief, the ability to cope with stress can increase teachers’ job satisfaction. METHODOLOGY The participants in the study were 242 primary school teachers. The study was done in Kuala Pilah and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. Seventeen primary schools were stratified and selected in the middle of 2007. Each of the schools involved ordinary teachers (the headmaster, assistant-headmaster, and school counsellor were excluded). The study was based on a questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of three parts: Part A for Demographic Information, Part B for TeacherStudent Attachment, and Part C for Teachers’ Attitude towards Work.

Part A: Demographic Information Part A of the questionnaire was structured in order to obtain the personal background of the participants, such as gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, educational status, and length of teaching service. Part B: Teacher-student Attachment Questionnaire The Teacher-Student Attachment Questionnaire was developed by combining relevant variables based on Kesner’s (1994) study and a modified form of the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS); (Pianta, 2001). This questionnaire consists of 30 items and has four subscales: warmth, open communication, troubled feelings, and conflict or anger.

Warmth: Warmth is defined as positive feelings about the child (Pianta, 2001). This subscale has six items. An illustrative example of this item is: 62 Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes Saya mudah mesra dengan pelajar saya sepertimana pelajar itu mudah mesra dengan saya. [translation: I easily get along with my students as they have with me. ] Open Communication: Open communication is defined as a quality of communication between teacher and the child, focusing on the quality of mutual non-verbal communication between teacher and student (Pianta, 2001). This subscale consists of six items.

An example of this item is: Saya sering berkongsi pendapat atau masalah dengan pelajar saya dalam hal pembelajaran di sekolah. [translation: I always shared ideas or problems relating to school studies with my students. ] Troubled feelings: Troubled feelings are a disturbing feeling of the teacher about the relationship such as rejection by the child or preoccupation with the child (Pianta, 2001). Six items were used to assess the extent of this subscale. An example of the item is: Saya enggan mempunyai hubungan baik dengan pelajar saya, kerana saya merasakan sebenarnya dia ingin membodek saya. translation: I am reluctant to have good relation with other students as I think they just wish to ingratiate me. ] Conflict or anger: Conflict or anger is defined as a conflicting relationship between teacher and the students that may evoke anger in the teacher (Pianta, 2001). This variable was represented by six items. An illustrative example of this subscale is: Saya cepat merasa marah pada pelajar saya walaupun mereka melakukan kesalahan yang kecil dan tidak disengajakan. [translation: I got annoyed easily with my students over minor or unintentional mistakes. Part C: Teachers’ Attitude Towards Work Questionnaire We used the Teachers’ Attitude Towards Work questionnaire to measure teachers’ attitudes towards work (teaching profession). This questionnaire 63 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak consists of 40 items, based on four major variables of attitude towards work; job satisfaction, commitment, communication, and alienation. Job Satisfaction: According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2007), job satisfaction reflects the extent to which individuals like their jobs. This subscale was represented by eleven items.

The example of the item is: Bertugas sebagai guru membuatkan saya merasa bangga. [translation: Working as a teacher make me feel proud. ] Commitment: Commitment is an attitude reflecting an employee’s loyalty to the organisation, and an ongoing process through which organisational members express their concern for the organisation and its continued success and well being. According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2007), it is an important work attitude, since committed individuals are expected to be willing to work harder to achieve their goal and stay employed.

This subscale was had eleven items. An example of the item is: Saya sentiasa mengikut jadual yang betul datang ke sekolah dan pulang dari sekolah. [translation: I always follow the right schedule for coming and returning from school. ] Communication: According to George and Jones (1996), communication is defined as the accuracy and openness of information exchange. This subscale had nine items. An example of the item is: Saya menggalakkan pelajar memberitahu saya masalah mereka. [translation: I encourage my students to talk about their difficulties to me. Alienation: As noted by George and Jones (1996), alienation is defined as the extent to which the worker feels disappointed with their career and professional development. The variable was represented by nine items. An example of the items is: Saya merasakan diri saya tidak diperlukan di sekolah ini [translation: I feel rejected in this school. ] 64 Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes RESULTS Reliability We evaluated the questionnaires’ reliability with the Cronbach’s Alpha method and the suggested minimum acceptable value for Cronbach’s alpha of . 7 (Gardner, 2001).

Overall, the reliability value for Teacher-Student Attachment questionnaire is acceptable (a = . 7). Meanwhile, the reliability values for Teachers’ Attitude towards Work Questionnaire were strong and acceptable (job satisfaction a. 8, commitment a. 9, open communication a. 8, alienation a. 7). Demographic Analysis Among the respondents, 85% were women and 15% were men. The mean age of the participants was 40 years old. The sample studied was divided into 91% Malay and 8% Chinese. In total, 88% were married, 7% bachelor, and the other 9 participants were single parent.

Of the 242 subjects, 49% were qualified with Sijil Maktab Perguruan (SMP), 20% held a Bachelor’s Degree, 19% had diploma qualifications, 7% with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), and 2% hold Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM). Three participants were identified as Master’s Degree holders. According to Clarridge and Berliner (1991), teachers’ levels of experience have been shown to be related to how they perceive interactions with students. The analysis of the study reported that a majority of the participants (93%) had been teaching in the current school for more than a year.

Hypothesis Test There is a significant relationship between teacher-student attachment and teachers’ attitudes towards work. The subscales of teacher-student attachment (warmth, communication, troubled feelings and conflict or anger) have been tested for correlation against each of the subscales of attitude towards work (job satisfaction, commitment, communication, and alienation). The subscale of warmth correlated significantly with the four subscales of attitudes towards work: job satisfaction (r = . 437, p = . 00), commitment (r = . 420, p = . 00), communication (r = . 69, p = . 00), and alienation (r = . 435, p = . 00). The subscale of communication in Teacher-Student Attachment also shows significant correlation with the variables of Teacher Attitude towards Work: job satisfaction (r = . 276, p = . 00), commitment (r =. 322, p = . 00), communication (r = . 402, p = . 00), and alienation (r = . 302, p = . 00). Furthermore, the subscale of troubled feeling shows a significant correlation with job satisfaction (r = . 265, p = . 00), commitment (r = . 295, p = . 00), communication (r = . 363, p = . 00) and alienation (r = . 390, p = . 0). The result 65 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak for the subscale of conflict or anger shows significant correlation with job satisfaction (r = . 126, p = . 05), communication (r = . 237, p = . 00) and alienation (r = . 184, p = . 00). However, the subscale of conflict or anger has no significant relationship with the variable of commitment (r = . 115, p = . 07) for Teacher Attitude towards Work. DISCUSSION The teacher-student relationship is very important for schoolchildren. Children spend approximately five to seven hours a day with a teacher for almost 10 months.

A positive relationship between the student and the teacher is difficult to establish, but can be found for both individuals at either end. The qualities for a positive relationship can vary, making a learning experience approachable and inviting the students to learn. A teacher and student who communicate well and show respect in the classroom, if the teacher shows interest in teaching, will establish a positive relationship in the classroom. Teaching becomes difficult if there is no proper communication between teacher and students. Teachers need to continuously monitor students in order to be aware of any difficulties students are having.

Understanding the students’ problems, fear, or confusion will help teachers better understand students’ learning difficulties. Once the teachers becomes aware of the problems, they will have more patience with students, making them feel secure or less confused when learning is taking place in the classroom. Communication between the student and the teacher serves as a connection between the two, which improves the classroom atmosphere. Of course, teachers will not understand every problem of every student in their classrooms, but will acquire enough information for those students who are struggling with specific tasks.

This was supported by the earliest significant body of research (Jones & Jones, 1981: 95), which indicates that “academic achievement and student behaviour are influenced by the quality of the teacher and student relationship. ” The more that teachers connect or communicate with their students, the more likely they are to be able to help students learn quickly and at a high level. The teacher needs to understand that in many schools, especially in Malaysia, students come from different cultures (for example, Malay, Chinese, or Indian) and backgrounds.

A teacher then needs to understand the value of the students’ sense of belonging, which can be of greater value and build self worth for minority students. If the teacher demonstrates an understanding of the student’s culture, this will improve understanding between the teacher and the student. Teachers who demonstrate respect towards their students automatically win favour by having active learners in their classroom. Arrogant teachers lack these 66 Teacher-Student Attachment and Teachers’ Attitudes positive qualities, due to their lack of respect from students.

Teachers should assert that they and their responsibilities must also be treated with respect, in order to ensure that students treat each other with kindness. As Jones and Jones (1981: 111) noted, “teachers are encouraged to blend their warmth and firmness towards the students in their classroom, but with realistic limits. ” For teachers running a classroom and shaping the minds of young students, communicating effectively with students entails giving them appropriate and helpful feedback. Interaction between the student and teacher becomes extremely important for a successful relationship through the entire school year.

Current research suggests that a close but limited relationship between the student and teacher can be helpful in developing students’ self-esteem. The student will have the confidence they had always wanted due to having a good relationship with the teacher. The teacher, indirectly, will feel satisfied with their job. Teachers establish a positive relationship with their students by communicating with them and properly giving them feedback. Respect between teacher and student should exist, with both feeling enthusiastic when learning and teaching.

Having established a positive relationship with students, teachers will encourage students to seek education, be enthusiastic, and to be in school. Poor teacher-student attachment can lower teachers’ morale. Attachment with students affects teachers’ cognitive, emotional and behavioural outcomes, due to the quality of the attachment itself. The quality of teacher-student attachment can provide social control of teachers’ behaviour. Lack of attachment between teacher and students results in weak social relationship and poor social control of the teacher, which might worsen teachers’ attitudes about work.

In brief, attachment offers teachers a chance to forge instrumental relationships, thus fostering strong relational control of teachers’ attitude towards work. The findings of the present study, furthermore, proved the existence of significant relationships between teacher-student attachment and teachers’ attitude towards work in the subscales of warmth, communication, and troubled feelings. The result of the current study is parallel to the findings of Sava (2001): that is, teachers’ job satisfaction is related to teacher-student interaction.

In conclusion, the findings of this study have several important implications. Teacher-student attachment and teachers’ attitude towards work appears critical in promoting and maintaining positive teacher behaviours. More motivated activities can be organised to help teachers develop positive relationships with students. As a result of positive relationships, teachers tend to enjoy school more, ultimately become more motivated towards engaging in learning activities (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Ladd & Coleman, 1997) and maintaining positive attitudes towards work.

A supportive organisational climate will help teachers to reduce 67 Affizal Ahmad and Rafidah Sahak job stress, and thereby increase job satisfaction among teachers. Improving teachers’ working conditions will increase their job satisfaction. Most importantly, in addition to promoting positive behaviour in teachers, they should be provided with appropriate intervention programs (Howes, Galinsky, & Kontos, 1998), so that they can learn about forming teacher-student attachment.

Cite this Attachment Study

Attachment Study. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/attachment-study/

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