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Teacher Comforting and Social Support

Nichole Egbert

Subject Psychology
Communication and Development » Instructional Communication

Key-Topics emotion, teaching

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The communication of social support is central to relationships in and outside of the classroom. Although scholars offer many definitions, social support is widely understood to be resources – time, money, comforting – that people possess and extend to others. These resources can be further defined by the type of help that is provided, using categories like emotional, informational, instrumental, and appraisal support ( House 1981 ). Emotional support can be acts that demonstrate concern, empathy, trust, and caring. For teachers, emotionally supportive behaviors can also include being sensitive, positive, involved, and flexible (→  Teacher Communication Concern ). Instrumental support refers to providing tangible resources (such as gifts or loans) or time. Informational support can include advice, counsel, or information that assists another person, whereas appraisal support consists of evaluative feedback and/or social comparison. One other type of support relevant to classroom interactions is instructional support – reading to and with students, providing high-quality feedback, leading interactive discussions, and encouraging students to take responsibility in the classroom ( Hamre & Pianta 2005 ). Some of the most obvious benefits of providing students with a supportive environment are improved attendance and grades. When students perceive that their teachers ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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