Research consistently shows that the learning environment plays an important role for early adolescents’ learning and outcomes and suggests that good teacher–student relationships can serve as a protective factor for maintaining young adolescents’ interest and active engagement in learning. However, less is known about the dynamic nature of teacher–student relationships and how they link with academic motivation development. Furthermore, little is known about the nature and the effects of teacher–student relationships in a cross-national context. The present study investigated changes in two components of teacher–student relationships (teachers’ involvement vs. rejection) and examined links with students’ academic motivation during the first grade of secondary school. Ten Dutch and ten Indonesian teachers (65 % female) from 24 classes were videoed 12 times across the school year, and four videos for each class were selected randomly and coded on teachers’ involvement versus rejection. A total of 713 students (52 % girls) completed four-wave measures of their academic motivation after each video observation. Multilevel growth curve modeling revealed that the teacher’s involvement changed in a curvilinear way and decreased across the first year of secondary education, while changes in the teacher’s rejection did not follow a linear time function. Academic motivation changed in an undesirable way: controlled motivation increased, while autonomous motivation decreased over time. Teachers’ involvement had a unique contribution in preventing high levels of controlled motivation in both countries. Findings suggest that teacher–student relationships (teachers’ involvement) play an essential role in early adolescents’ motivation regardless of the nations and should be a priority for schools.
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In our ongoing research on the development of learning environments over time, we found that the observation instrument is related positively to other relevant and theoretically identical questionnaires measuring teacher-student interpersonal relationships, including teachers’ involvement and teachers’ influence (teachers’ provision of guidance during learning).
Theoretically, a Dutch homogeneous class consists of students all following the same track ranging from the highest track “Gymnasium” to the lowest track “VMBO”. Heterogeneous classes involve students following a program, which does not differentiate yet between two (or more) tracks. Based on the results the students will have on their exams, they will be assigned to a lower or a higher track in grade 2 of secondary education. In Indonesia, a homogeneous class refers to either high ability groups (also corresponds to international or acceleration classes) or low ability groups (also corresponds to regular classes). However, in our sample, it refers only to high ability groups and international classes.
Due to the small amount of degrees of freedom (two variables were dummies and the estimation of other interaction effects with these variables were modeled), it is not possible to estimate these effects. For example, in every model the estimation effect of country × class type and the effect of time × country × class type were set to .00 with SD .00.
An additional model shows that the main effect of country on teachers’ rejection, without controlling for other co-variables, is not significant.
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We would like to specially thank the editor for his invaluable comments during the review process and for his contribution to proofread the manuscript. We are also grateful for the constructive and useful feedback provided by the three anonymous reviewers. Our sincere thanks also go to all teachers and students who participated in this longitudinal study and to our research assistants (Marije Dubois, M.Sc., Asmi Rusmanayanti, M.Sc., and Syamsul Aripin, S.Pd.) for their excellent assistance during the data collection of the study. This research was conducted as part of PhD study of the first author while the second author received a grant from Rosalind Franklin Fellowships (University of Groningen).
RM conceived of the study, selected, developed, and validated the instruments, performed the longitudinal measurements and analysed the data, performed statistical analyses, drafted the manuscript and was responsible for the manuscript as the first author. MO was the holder of the research project, participated in developing the instruments, designing the study and coordination, assisted statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. KS participated in developing the instrument. RB participated in supporting the research project and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
See Table 4.
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Maulana, R., Opdenakker, MC., Stroet, K. et al. Changes in Teachers’ Involvement Versus Rejection and Links with Academic Motivation During the First Year of Secondary Education: A Multilevel Growth Curve Analysis. J Youth Adolescence 42, 1348–1371 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9921-9