Effective teachers building relational trust with diverse students to improve reading achievement
Schools are measured by scores students receive on standardized tests. Yet, since the collection of student demographic data on these tests, it has shown students of color are not getting the same opportunities to learn as their white peers. As classrooms across the country continue to become more diverse, it is imperative to study how some teachers are effective in teaching all students. This study examined the questions of how effective teachers build trusting relationships, how relational trust impacts instructional strategies, and how relational trust impacts student reading achievement. The purpose of this research study was to add to the existing literature about how effective teachers build relational trust with their diverse students, therefore increasing academic achievement in reading. Critical race theory, deficit thinking, and critical consciousness were used as the theoretical framework in this study. Specific criterion was used to create a purposeful sample of four effective elementary reading teachers in a diverse district. Interviews with two principals and four effective reading teachers at two different elementary schools, observations of the teachers, and artifact/documents were collected throughout this multiple case study to help answer the research questions. It was determined all teachers believed in their students, used relationships as the basis of effective teaching, and used reflective practices. The teachers also used culturally relevant teaching practices and practiced cultural humility. The implications for these findings are discussed as well as future research.