Establish-Maintain-Restore (EMR) is an intervention designed to improve teachers’ skills in to cultivating and maintaining relationships with students. EMR includes training and ongoing professional learning communities to support implementation. In this presentation, we will discuss two studies utilizing the EMR approach with adolescents to understand the effectiveness of EMR for students of color.
Study 1: We conducted a randomized controlled trial with middle school teachers (10 treatment, 10 control) to examine the effects of EMR on students’ (N=190; 75% White) perceptions of STRs, academically engaged time, and disruptive behavior. We were interested in examining whether EMR was differentially effective for students of color. Students in the EMR condition demonstrated improved STRs (Hedge’s g=.61), increased academically engaged time (g=.81), and reduced disruptive behavior (g=1.07). Results did not differ systematically for White and non-White students.
Study 2: To enhance the effectiveness of EMR in improving STRs for high school students of color, EMR was adapted to include cultural responsiveness and implicit bias reduction. A mixed methods study is ongoing with ninth grade teachers (N=14) and their students (N=148; 43% White). Before and after EMR, students are reporting on their STRs and perceptions of equity (e.g., “My race plays a role in how teachers perceive me”). Qualitative interviews with all teachers and a subset of students (N=45) will gather qualitative feedback about the impact and cultural responsiveness of EMR. We will quantitatively assess changes in STRs and perceptions of equity from pre- to post-intervention, and explore the moderating role of student ethnic minority status.
Conclusion: EMR may serve as an effective strategy for enhancing STRs and improving engagement for adolescent students of color. However, it is important to explicitly incorporate cultural responsiveness and implicit bias to reduce disparities in the quality of STRs and academic and behavioral outcomes for students of color. The iterative development process of EMR may serve as a model for including such elements into teacher professional development programing.