About this Research Topic
One of the potent factors contributing to the teacher-student relationship is a teacher’s behavior toward students since it is crucial to satisfying students’ emotional needs. A teacher’s behavior influences students’ satisfaction and morale, and his/her status as a prominent figure in the classroom lowers once the students perceive a sense of injustice in the teacher’s behavior. An extensive body of research points to the importance of observing fairness and equality in teachers’ behavior in a teacher-student relationship since teachers’ unfairness leads to students’ anger, distraction, dissatisfaction, and demotivation. The Teacher’s Pet Phenomenon (TPP) is an extreme example of unfairness in educational contexts and is, thus, an area worth investigating. TPP is a phenomenon of a special emotional relationship between the teacher and a particular student (or a selected group of students) in the classroom. The significance of TPP lies in the fact that it has a significant bearing on the social psychology of the classroom, and involves every single member of the classroom society, including the teacher, pet, and nonpets.
Limited studies on TPP suggest that TPP is a kind of negative teacher-student relationship which is a barrier to students’ social and cognitive learning. Despite the contributions of these studies, there are gaps to fill in understanding this phenomenon. First, previous researchers ignored the importance of addressing both a student’s and a teacher’s underlying motives to initiate TPR (Teacher’s Pet Relationship). Thus, the reasons why particular teachers and students are willing to engage in TPR remains a vexing challenge. Second, prior studies failed to consider the important question of how a student can gradually turn into a pet. Thus, the mechanism through which a student becomes a pet is still unknown. Third, previous researchers mainly focused on students’ attitudes towards TPP and overlooked the teachers’ perspectives on this phenomenon. Fourth, the foregoing works were predominantly limited to school students, and although their findings would be helpful to all students and teachers in any educational context, no investigation was conducted in settings other than schools (e.g., universities). Being more complicated and multi-faceted in older age groups, the issue of interest and a special relationship between instructors and students, and the reactions of adolescent students towards them might be more intense compared to those of school students. Fifth, despite all the studies undertaken on TPP, it seems as if the contextual factors (e.g., culture, the higher education system) leading to the emergence of TPP are still unknown.
This Research Topic aims at thoroughly exploring TPP in the higher education context, considering both students’ and instructors’ perceptions. We welcome research articles centered (but not exclusively) on the following themes:
1) Definition for the concept of teacher’s pet
2) Motivators in a teacher-pet relationship
3) How a student can turn into a teacher’s pet
4) Contextual factors leading to the emergence of TPP
5) Attitudes and feelings towards instructors and their pets
6) Prevalence of TPP in the higher education system
7) Effects of TPP on pets’ and nonpets’ learning and psyche and the educational system
Keywords: teacher's pet phenomenon, higher education, perception, instructors, students
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.