The Role of Teachers' Perceptions of the Educational Environment on Latinx and Multilingual Children's Development

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Lucas, Melissa, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Palacios, Natalia, University of Virginia

This three-manuscript style dissertation explores within-group differences among Latinx and multilingual populations, to examine different ways in which teachers create supportive learning environments in their classrooms—with particular focus on teachers’ perceptions of school context and their relationships with students. Paper 1 identifies unique profiles of teachers’ perceptions of climate and explores whether these profiles predict teachers’ perceptions of student-teacher relationships with Latinx first graders. Paper 2 leverages quasi-experimental methods to examine the causal effect of English Learner classification in third grade on teachers’ perception of students’ social skills and explores the mediating role of student-teacher relationships. Paper 3 examines changes in Latinx students’ student-teacher relationship quality as they transition from first to third grade and identifies which students (based on demographic factors) are more likely to experience different relationship quality transition patterns. All three papers draw from the same nationally representative dataset, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLSK:2011). This dissertation elucidates the associations between (un)supportive school contexts, teacher perceptions of school climate, student-teacher relationship quality, and socioemotional outcomes of Latinx and multilingual students. Findings from this dissertation can guide future efforts to mitigate school contextual factors (e.g., deficit-oriented policies, student-teacher relationships characterized by conflict, low expectations) that hinder Latinx and multilingual students’ development from first to third grade.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Latinx, Multilingual, Quantitative Methods, Equity, Socioemotional Learning, Latent Profile Analysis, Latent Transition Analysis, Propensity Score Matching
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