Cultivating positive teacher–student relationships: Preliminary evaluation of the establish–maintain–restore (EMR) method

Clayton R Cook, Susanna Coco, Yanchen Zhang, Aria E. Fiat, Mylien T. Duong, Tyler L. Renshaw, Anna C. Long, Sophia Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Strong teacher–student relationships have long been considered a foundational aspect of a positive school experience. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of the establish–maintain–restore (EMR) method for improving teacher–student relationships and students’ classroom behavior while providing elementary teachers with structured professional development and follow-up support. A matched randomized design with a sample of fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and students was used to investigate whether the EMR method produced significant improvements in teacher–student relationships and student outcomes using hierarchical linear modeling to account for nesting at the classroom level. Results indicated that the EMR method was associated with significant improvements in teacher-reported teacher–student relationships as well as improvements in observed indices of students’ classroom behavior (academic engaged time and disruptive behavior). Findings also revealed that teacher-reported changes in teacher–student relationships were significantly associated with moderate changes in student classroom behavior. The implications of this study for school-based universal prevention and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-243
Number of pages18
JournalSchool Psychology Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported in part by funding from the John and Nancy Peyton Faculty Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2018 by the National Association of School Psychologists.


  • Teacher professional development
  • Teacher–student interactions
  • Teacher–student relationships
  • Universal prevention


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