New meta-analysis explores the association between teacher support and school engagement.

Vargas-Madriz, L. F., Konishi, C., & Wong, T. K. (2024). A meta-analysis of the association between teacher support and school engagement. Social Development.


School engagement, a multifaceted concept involving behavioral, emotional, and cognitive dimensions, is crucial for students’ academic success and overall well-being. Previous research highlights the role of family, peer, and teacher support in fostering school engagement. However, the specific impact of teacher support, especially considering the diverse interactions and needs of students, remains less explored. This study aims to provide a comprehensive meta-analysis of the association between different domains of teacher support and various dimensions of school engagement, while also considering the influence of study and sample characteristics.


A meta analysis is a statistical technique used to combine and synthesize the results of multiple independent studies on a particular topic. Analysis was used to calculate effect sizes and assess the strength of associations, with moderation analyses performed to examine the impact of sample and study characteristics.


The overall findings indicate a moderate positive relationship between teacher support and school engagement. Teacher support in general and emotional support showed the strongest associations with school engagement, particularly emotional engagement. Behavioral and cognitive engagement also demonstrated significant associations with teacher support, though to a lesser extent.

Regarding study and sample characteristics, the association was stronger for language nondiscrepant students compared to language discrepant and more balanced samples. Secondary school students showed the strongest association between teacher support and school engagement, followed by primary and tertiary students. Male students exhibited a stronger association than female students. Concurrent studies and teacher informant reports yielded the strongest effect sizes compared to other study designs and informant types.


The findings underscore the importance of fostering a supportive classroom environment, particularly through emotional support from teachers. This support is crucial for enhancing students’ school engagement across different dimensions and demographics. The study highlights the need for teacher training programs to emphasize the development of supportive teacher-student relationships, considering factors such as language proficiency, school level, and student sex. Schools should prioritize professional development for teachers and other natural mentors to enhance their support skills and adapt their approaches to meet the diverse needs of their students.