Teaching in culturally diverse classrooms: The importance of dyadic relations between teachers and children

Jolien Geerlings

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


As classrooms have become more culturally diverse, teachers are facing two challenges of how to deal with this diversity. First, teachers are tasked with developing practices that enable minority students to academically perform to the same degree as their ethnic majority classmates. And second, teachers are challenged to teach about the topic of cultural and ethnic diversity in ways that positively contribute to intergroup attitudes and interactions among children of diverse backgrounds. In this dissertation, Jolien Geerlings investigates the importance of interpersonal, dyadic interactions between teachers and students in addressing these challenges, through empirical studies conducted among elementary school teachers and their students in The Netherlands. Dyadic relationships are found to be important for academic development because teachers can experience less efficacy in teaching individual minority students, which is in turn related to their academic engagement. Moreover, outgroup attitudes of majority and minority students are influenced by experiencing close or conflictual dyadic relationships with teachers. This book broadens the literature on student-teacher relationships by exploring both affective and efficacy aspects of these relationships, as well as academic and social consequences, and discusses the complexities around sustaining positive student-teacher relationships for teaching professionals in culturally diverse classrooms.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Verkuyten, Maykel, Primary supervisor
  • Thijs, Jochem, Co-supervisor
Award date10 Feb 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6416-380-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021


  • Culturally diverse classrooms
  • student-teacher relationships
  • dyadic relations
  • teacher self-efficacy
  • intergroup attitudes
  • multicultural education
  • academic engagement


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