Operationalizing the role of trust for student wellbeing, learning and achievement


  • Jacqueline P. Leighton University of Alberta http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8958-2470
  • Paolina Seitz St. Mary's University, Calgary
  • Man-Wai Chu University of Calgary
  • Maria Clara Bustos Gomez Independent Consultant




pedagogical alliance, LEAFF model, student achievement, student wellbeing, trust


Abstract:  This paper provides an argument regarding the importance of relational trust between students and teachers during the learning process. Establishing this trust is expected to foster student wellbeing and lead to openness to learn and increased innovativeness. However, there is a relative dearth of theoretical and empirical literature on behaviors to establish relational trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 1997), and how these behaviors can be expected to lead to wellbeing and academic achievement. The Learning Errors and Formative Feedback (LEAFF) model is proposed to organize key aspects of the theoretical literature as they might relate to measurable ways in which trust can be promoted with specific words and actions in the classroom to enhance learning. Based on the LEAFF model, a framework is designed to operationalize facets of trust to help teachers develop trusting relationships with their students. However, the potential effects of these facets need to be empirically tested in future studies to secure optimal learning outcomes. 


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Author Biographies

Jacqueline P. Leighton, University of Alberta

Department of Educational Psychology, Professor and Chair

Paolina Seitz, St. Mary's University, Calgary

Assistant Professor, Education

Man-Wai Chu, University of Calgary

Assistant Professor, Weklund School of Education