Abstract

In the perspective of multiple attachment bonds, the teacher-child relationship is considered as one of the fundamental ways to express a crucially relevant bond for the child's emotive and cognitive development. The contextualist approach underlines how the dynamics of interaction between the individual and micro-sociocultural contexts play a mediating role on developmental processes. Studies by Pianta, in particular, ascribed to the teacher-pupil interaction a crucial developmental function in the adaptation of the child, both in preschool age children and in the subsequent years of primary school.

The purpose of this study is to examine the characteristics of the teacher-pupil relationship when the teacher is male in the primary school setting. There were 310 children involved, equally distributed by gender, with their 52 teachers, of whom 42 were female and 10 were male.

The analyses carried out reveal statistically relevant differences between the two groups of teachers on the issue of the way male teachers assess their relationship with female pupils. More than their male colleagues, female teachers tend to evaluate girls in a significantly different way as far as closeness and dependency are concerned. The data that emerges calls for careful consideration of the effect that the gender imbalance marking the teaching population in the early stages of schooling can have on aspects of child development.

Keywords: Child gender, elementary school teacher, female teacher, male teacher, quality teaching, teacher-child relationship.
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