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Classroom Interactions: Teachers and Students

The definition of teaching implies an interaction between teacher and student. Yet, such interactions are often ignored for macro-level educational concerns. When scholars do consider these interactions, the research that they produce is largely divided along disciplinary lines. Education psychologists focus on linking specific teacher behaviors to student outcomes, or on explaining variations in such interactions as a function of individual-level attributes. Sociologists of education instead view teacher-student interactions as a function of the social organization of the school environment, and use these structural relationships to explain why teacher-student interactions matter for learning and achievement.

Research on teacher-student interactions often examines how these exchanges matter for students' learning and achievement, and how they vary with the characteristics of students and teachers. While some scholars recognize ...

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