Rose, Brian

Committee Member

Harding, Jennifer

Committee Member

Lawrence, Jody

Committee Member

Luckner, John


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; School of Teacher Education, Educational Studies


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



213 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Title I schools have a high percentage of students who come from a background of poverty. Students growing up in poverty are more likely to have insecure attachments because of the chronic and acute stressors their caregivers experience. These insecure attachments mean that students are less likely to have positive relationships with their teachers and are less likely to trust them. Given the importance of positive relationships in student’s academic, social, and emotional growth it is crucial that teachers are able to build relationships with these students regardless of their economic backgrounds. Qualitative case study was used to collect data from interviews with one teacher, interviews with seven students, observations, and artifact collection. The researcher was a teacher at the school where data collection took place in a different grade level than the teacher participant. The research showed that the teacher was good at building relationships through establishing trust with actions that showed benevolence, reliability, and competence. However, there was a lack of openness and honesty in the classroom, which led to students who had insecure attachments feeling less trust in their teacher. Because of these insecure attachments, combined with the lack of openness and honesty, students that were predisposed to have difficult relationships with their teachers perceived teacher actions to have negative intent. This shows that teachers need to receive more training and have more knowledge about the effect poverty has on students attachment styles and in turn what effect those attachment styles have on a teacher’s ability to build relationships with students. Teachers need to understand the multiple components that make up a positive, trusting relationship with their students so that they can self-reflect on their practice and incorporate practices that will have a positive impact on their relationships with students.

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Copyright is held by the author.