Sense of Belonging, School Climate, and Teacher-Student Relationships Through Sustainable Leadership: An International Case Study

dc.creatorSteven Nagy
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores the value school leaders place on teacher-student relationships as a sustainable leadership practice in an international school setting. Specifically, the following research questions guided this investigation: 1) What value do school leaders place on teacher-student relationships at Colegio Bolivar? And 2) How do leader practices influence the development of teacher-student relationships and the learning environment at Colegio Bolivar? The study of teacher-student relationships has been a prevalent topic of study for over three decades. There is a vast literature associating them with positive social and school factors for students. Still, gaps exist in the literature, particularly in international education and from a sustainable leadership perspective. The purpose of this study, then, was to investigate school leaders’ behaviors likely to help create conditions for positive teacher-student relationships, ensuring their focus as a sustainable leadership practice. The context of this study was a U.S. accredited K-12 school in Cali, Colombia that has a well-developed sense of community and belonging amongst its stakeholders attributed to positive interactions. At the school site, 10 school administrators completed a semi-structured interview regarding their practices as leaders. Twelve teachers also served on three separate focus groups to allow the capture of their perspectives of leadership practices as well. The single case qualitative design allowed for conducting in depth conversations and analyses regarding the individual case in its actual context. Based on identified themes and findings it is easy to conclude that school leaders place a high value on TSRs at Colegio Bolivar. They take them into account in their hiring practices, student placement, and in their attempts of ensuring students’ sense of belonging at school. Furthermore, it is something for which they explicitly check and provide resources for. So much of their organizational structure is based on the sense of community and belonging, making TSRs a key component of their identity. As for the second research question, school leaders also ensure that all stakeholders’ needs are met by ensuring they are heard, by providing them with autonomy in various facets of their teaching, and by ensuring that they feel valued and cared for. Additionally, administrators ensure they are consistently visible, constantly creating opportunities for others to interact with them whether it is for academic or non-academic matters. . After careful analysis, the study yielded the following leadership recommendations: 1) be explicit about focusing on relationships; 2) focus on developing people in order to achieve school success; and 3) ensure you are visible as much as possible. These findings have implications for practitioners at any level looking to enhance school climate. Additionally, there are also implications for future research in the intersection of teacher-student relationships, leadership approaches, and sustainability.
dc.titleSense of Belonging, School Climate, and Teacher-Student Relationships Through Sustainable Leadership: An International Case Study leadership Mason University


Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Thumbnail Image
876.02 KB
Adobe Portable Document Format