Gottlieb, Derek

Committee Member

Harding, Jennifer

Committee Member

Holmes, Michelle

Committee Member

Stewart, Connie


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



109 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Interpersonal relationships between teachers and students built within a learning context have a significant influence on the development of learners’ social and emotional life. Higher levels of engagement, attachment, and motivation are common among students who strongly connect with their teachers. This study aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of care related to student-teacher connection from students’ experience. Noddings Theory of Care believes that caring associations are ontologically essential; thus, they play a great part in the development of student’s learning process. However, care can fail to realize the expected outcomes according to Noddings’ theory if it is misinterpreted as approachability. Phenomenology research design was used to understand the experience of teachers in building relationships between teachers and students. A face-to-face interview was used to collect data from 12 participants enrolled in a teaching program. Thematic analysis was primarily used to analyze the data. NVivo 12 software program was also used to code the themes and sub-themes. Five themes emerged, including building positive interpersonal relationships with students, demonstrating interest and communicating concern, caring teachers provide academic and social goals, engaging, and going the extra-mile at both class and individual levels. Students' experiences regarding care were fundamental and the bedrock of the model of care that a teacher exhibits within a classroom context. Teachers tend to display activities and features of care that are in line with Noddings’ model of care. Future studies are needed to develop, test, and validate the instruments used to assess teacher care expressions founded on Noddings’ (2013) model. Teachers’ care aspects are receptive and demonstrate conducts that display relatedness or connection with students. The description of care facets found in this study is similar and different to some extent from Noddings’ (2013) model.

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