Title: Student-teacher relationship in the Facebook era: the student perspective

Authors: Arnon Hershkovitz; Alona Forkosh-Baruch

Addresses: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280, USA ' Levinsky College of Education, P.O. Box 48130, Tel-Aviv, 61481 Israel; Tel-Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv, 69978 Israel

Abstract: Student-teacher relationships are vital for students' academic development and for their well-being. As social network sites (SNS) have become increasingly popular, school authorities and policymakers are concerned about the implications of student-teacher connections using them, often resulting in banning such communication. While these regulations might have far-reaching social impacts, empirical evidence supporting them is meagre. The main goal of the qualitative exploratory study reported herewith, involving lower and higher secondary school Israeli students (N = 11), is to understand the relations between Facebook-based student-teacher communication and student-teacher relationships. Findings suggest that communication between Israeli students and teachers on Facebook was limited; however, it was useful for some students as an available means of communication with their teachers. Generally, students see Facebook as a closed territory for youngsters; still, they do tend to befriend teachers they connect with in 'real-life'. Findings highlight opportunities, rather than risks, of SNS-mediated student-teacher relationships, implicating the need for evidence-based decision-making.

Keywords: Facebook; social networking services; social networking sites; student-teacher relationships; student perceptions; SNS-based communication; student perspectives; student development; academic development; student well-being; social networks; school authorities; policymakers; social impacts; lower secondary schools; higher secondary schools; Israel; secondary education; student-teacher communication; real life; evidence-based decision-making; life-long learning; social media; internet; world wide web; networks; mentoring; mentors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2013.051765

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2013 Vol.23 No.1, pp.33 - 52

Available online: 17 Jan 2013 *

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