Creating Birds of a Feather: The Potential of Similarity to Connect Teachers and Students

Race- and income-based achievement gaps affect many schools, and racial mismatches between teachers and students can trigger problems of cross-cultural misunderstanding. Developing a diverse cohort of teachers will take time and extensive resources. Meanwhile, strengthening teacher-student relationships offers a promising solution to improve student outcomes in education now.

The authors developed an intervention to improve teacher-student relationships by showing teachers and students what they have in common, and found that when teachers saw similarities between themselves and their students, the achievement gap was reduced by more than 60 percent.

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