Student Attachment Theory

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To better understand the student-teacher relationship and its impact on educational functioning, it is useful to understand Attachment Theory and its influence on the parent-child relationship. Attachment is a theoretical framework researchers are using to better understand how children develop positive working relationships with their teachers. Attachment theory, as first described by Bowlby (1962), is a dyadic relationship between the child and his caregiver that impacts how the child learns to navigate his environment, establish interpersonal relations, and develop a sense of personal worth. Effective interactions will allow the child to develop a sense of security in the context of relationships and fosters an exploration of the child’s…show more content…
They provided empirical evidence to support three different attachment styles by using a procedure they called the “Strange Situation.” In this standardized procedure, children were observed interacting with their mothers prior to, during, and after separation from their mother. The researchers were interested in the child’s behavioral responsiveness toward their mother in these situations. It was hypothesized that the child’s behaviors prior to, during, and after separation were a reflection of the child’s expectation of his parent’s availability as an emotional resource and secure base for exploration. In other words, the child’s behavior toward their primary caregiver was his strategy for securing physical…show more content…
For those children who enter their early elementary grades at-risk for academic and social problems, this flexibility allows them the opportunity to engage in more secure attachments with their teachers, which in turn allows these children to have their needs met. Developing a secure attachment with an adult other than their primary caregiver such as their teacher can allow for intimate relationships whereby the child / student may learn to regulate emotion, develop strategies for his behavior, develop self-esteem, explore his environment with confidence, establish effective peer relationships, and perform with better skills on measures of language development, emergent literacy and reading, cognitive development and play, and social interaction with peers and adults (Pianta, 2006). In the current literature, significant investigative attention has been paid to children’s attachment styles with their teachers. For example, as stated above, O’Farrell, Morrison, and Furlong (2006) refers to the differing Attachment styles as Types A, B, and C. Other researches focusing predominantly on the teacher student relationship, have identified similar styles. Using attachment theory, DiPerna, Volpe, & Elliot (2002) refer to the differing styles as secure, avoidant, and
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