Date of Award

Winter 2-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)



First Advisor/Committee Member

John Bond

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Nyrazdo Mvududu

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Cher Edwards


teacher-student relationships, TSR, The Nurtured Heart Approach®, alternative education, qualitative data analysis, educator mindsets


Teacher-student relationships (TSR) have long been demonstrated to have significant impact on student outcomes. There has been far less research, however, focused on identifying the specific mindsets that educators’ hold which influence their actions toward students. As relationships are situated and contextual and qualitative in nature, this case study sought to explore the specific qualities of effective TSR through the perspectives of both educators (n = 31) and students (n = 65) in two alternative schools in Northwest Canada. Staff members in both the middle school and the high school participated in a professional development TSR intervention designed to coach significant adults on new mindsets and actions, The Nurtured Heart Approach® (NHA). Using anonymous survey data, short answer responses, and focus groups for both populations, qualitative data analysis (QDA) revealed three emergent educator themes, with associated sub-themes, and three dichotomous student themes. The results provided evidence that positive TSRs are supported most significantly by personalized, flexible, and relationally focused mindsets and actions. The findings from the analysis of this data gathered in the alternative school settings are additionally significant, as the related, overlapping themes from both educators and students in these unique populations, provide specific recommendations for educators seeking to increase their positive teaching efficacy with challenging students and settings.