Exploring the teacher-student relationship in graduate education: a constructivist grounded theory

  • Eleni Karpouza, Anastassios Emvalotis
  • Teaching in Higher Education, April 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2018.1468319

Teacher-student relationship in graduate education

What is it about?

Despite its significance, there is not enough research on the teacher-student relationship in higher education. Thus, we intensively interviewed twenty teacher educators (individually) and twenty-five graduate students in Educational Sciences (in groups) to create a theory on how the teacher-student relationship in graduate education develops and gradually evolves.

Why is it important?

Our findings show that, despite the teachers’ hierarchical superiority, the teacher-student relationship in graduate education is a complex dynamic process based on reciprocating: A mutual want to relate is needed. The teacher and the student mutually develop the characteristics of a meaningful relationship. They mutually overcome the relationship's obstacles while maintaining appropriate boundaries. Finally, they mutually experience the positive outcomes stemming from their relationship.


Eleni Karpouza

Undertaking this study encouraged me to critically reflect on and better make sense of my personal experiences of the teacher-student relationship, which I hope for you too. The theory that emerged incites us all to be more self-aware as teachers and students, helping us realise what to do and avoid for a more fruitful teacher-student relationship.

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The following have contributed to this page: Eleni Karpouza