Implications of supportive and structured teaching for student and teacher behavior in k-8 classrooms serving predominantly black students
Positive school climate is associated with a broad range of student benefits across diverse student populations. However, Black1 students often report less positive perceptions of school climate than their peers, which could lead to decreased school engagement. One important aspect of school climate, teacher-student relationships, may promote positive student outcomes such as engagement. Specifically, supportive and structured teacher behaviors are associated with greater student engagement, which in turn may predict ongoing supportive and structured teaching, but current literature examining these associations underrepresents Black students and their teachers. The current study was completed in elementary and middle school classrooms in four New Orleans public charter schools with majority Black student populations. It was hypothesized that across grade levels and levels of teacher experience in education, supportive and structured teaching at the beginning of the year would be positively associated with student engagement at mid-year, and that mid-year student engagement would positively mediate the association between supportive and structured teaching at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. Results supported the hypothesized association between beginning-of-the-year supportive and structured teaching and mid-year student engagement. However, results did not support the hypothesized association between beginning-of-the-year supportive and structured teaching and end-of-year supportive and structured teaching, nor was there a mediation effect of mid-year student engagement. The current findings extend the literature promoting supportive and structured teaching as an effective tool for student engagement to include classrooms with predominantly Black students. Results and implications are discussed in the context of supportive and structured teaching, student engagement, and the broader construct of school climate. 1The author of the current study notes the diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds represented by individuals identifying as Black. As this racial group includes individuals with origins from any of the black racial and ethnic groups of the world, including those from African countries and the Caribbean, the current document adopts the terminology of Kena and colleagues (2015) and uses the term Black as an inclusive term representing these diverse groups.