Teachers’ Perception of the Relationship With Pupils Having Specific Learning Disabilities

Tiziana Pasta, Manuela Mendola, Laura Elvira Prino, Claudio Longobardi, Francesca Giovanna Maria Gastaldi


Research Findings: The presence of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) increases the risk of scholastic failure. According to the literature, a successful relationship with the teacher can lead to greater participation, raise the pupil’s motivation in school activities and have a positive effect on learning outcomes. Hence the aim of this study: to investigate teachers’ perception of the relationship with primary school pupils in Years 2 and 3 who have SLD (n = 38) and to compare it with that of pupils without SLD, with an achievement level that is the same as (n = 38) or the opposite from (n = 32) the achievement of their peers diagnosed or considered as having specific learning disabilities. Teachers’ perceptions of relationships were examined using the Student Teacher Relationship Scale (Fraire, Longobardi, Prino, Sclavo, & Settanni, in press; Pianta, 2001). The teachers perceive a higher level of Dependency for pupils with SLD (F = 14.252; df = 2; p < .001), in particular for those who do not yet have an official diagnosis (t = 2.529; df = 62.367; p < .05). This research has enabled a start to be made on an issue that in the Italian context has yet not received the attention it deserves.


teacher-child interaction; teacher’s perception of relationship; specific learning disabilities; primary school; Italian context

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v7i1.120