Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education


Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Stead, Graham

Subject Headings

Counseling Psychology, Education, Educational Psychology, Educational Theory, Multicultural Education, Psychology, Teacher Education


Researchers across multiple disciplines suggest that teacher-student relationship quality (TSRQ) has a strong association with positive student outcomes across all domains of student functioning (McGrath & Van Bergen, 2015) and serves as a moderating factor in outcome measures for students of color (Murray, Waas, & Murray, 2008) and for those considered economically disadvantaged (Olsson, 2009). Despite the clear benefits of positive TSRQ, the literature is scarce regarding teacher specific factors that may impact TSRQ. This study is the first to explore TSRQ in relation to implicit teacher factors utilizing a mixed-methods approach. Through canonical correlation analysis, utilizing a sample of 135 urban K-12 educators, one significant root (Wilks’ ¿ = .63, F (22, 244) = 2.85, p < .001) and one trending root (Wilks’ ¿ = .87, F (10, 123) = 1.73, p = .081) were identified, suggesting a statistically significant amount of the variance in TSRQ could be traced to one or more burnout and culturally competent factors. Further analysis found cultural awareness, culturally responsive classroom management, and levels of personal accomplishment to be the most highly correlated with TSRQ. Grounded theory qualitative inquiry was then used to provide context to the findings from Phase I. Seven participants were interviewed, and their responses helped to lay the groundwork for a framework of Teacher-Student relating that is multi-leveled, multi-dimensional, and cross-disciplinary. This framework, arising from both the interview data and the canonical correlation analysis highlights two primary dimensions at play in teacher-student relationships: the environment, which includes, but it not limited to, home, school, and political environments, and the teacher’s inner working model, or way of viewing the world, the student, and the self within the world of education. Implications for research, theory, and practice in both the educational and psychological fields are discussed, as are the limitations of the current study.