Language development in the early school years: the importance of close relationships with teachers

Jantine L. Spilt*, Helma M. Y. Koomen, Linda J. Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This longitudinal study examined developmental links between closeness in teacher- child relationships and children's receptive language ability from the end of the preschool years into the early elementary years, while controlling for changes in peer interaction quality and child behavioral functioning. The sample included children and their parents and teachers (N = 4,983) participating in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) at ages 4-5, 6-7, and 8-9 years (3 waves). Teachers reported on levels of closeness in relationships with individual children. Independent assessments of receptive language were employed. Parents and teachers reported on peer interaction problems and child conduct problems. Results indicated reciprocal associations between close teacher- child relationships and receptive language development above and beyond associations with peer interaction quality and child behavioral functioning. However, the effects were only modest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • teacher-child relationships
  • support
  • receptive language
  • transactional models

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