Washington, Nov 16 : Children who change school at the elementary levels often tend to show a dip in academic performance. Researchers suggest that a supportive teacher can help child make a smooth transition in the changing environment.
he study conducted by researchers at Western Washington University and the University of Washington showed that how moving during the elementary school years may contribute to disengagement with school just before the significant changes of adolescence.
They found that a supportive teacher can encourages other students to accept newcomers and help them adapt the new environment.
"Our findings support the notion that school changes can negatively affect children, but we also show that supportive social contact with a teacher and peers can influence both academic and behavioural outcomes," said Diana H. Gruman, assistant professor of psychology at Western Washington University and the study's lead author.
"We suggest that teachers can play a critical role in mitigating the negative effects of mobility through their own caring response and by addressing the peer acceptance of newcomers in the classroom," she added.
The researchers followed 1,040 elementary school students for four years to determine how moving disrupts children's attitudes toward school and their behaviour in the classroom, such as how much they participate and whether they are cooperative.
They found that not all mobile students suffer negative consequences. In an effort to identify protective factors, they looked at the role of students' ties with teachers and peers at school.
It revealed that the children who are accepted by their peers are more likely to do well academically and have better attitudes toward school.
Moreover, teachers who were supportive of mobile students had an especially strong influence on their attitudes toward school, particularly for children who moved a lot.
In addition, teacher support had a positive influence on children's behaviour in the classroom.
The study appears in the journal Child Development.