Study Finds Personal Relationships Trump Technology in Boosting Student Achievement

Child looking at computerPhoto by Julia M Cameron on

PHILADELPHIA, PA — At the American Education Research Association’s Annual Meeting, Professor William Jeynes presented compelling findings from a meta-study that may prompt educators and parents to reevaluate the emphasis on digital communication in academic settings. The study, synthesizing data from 107 analyses involving over 400,000 students, revealed that personal relationships filled with love and kindness hold significant sway over student success, far outweighing the impact of technologically mediated interactions.

Jeynes, a Harvard-educated Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, highlighted the stark contrast between the outcomes associated with traditional, personal forms of communication and those stemming from the use of technology such as texting, social media, and email. While schools increasingly rely on digital platforms for convenience, Jeynes’s research indicates these methods have minimal effect on enhancing students’ scholastic outcomes and parental involvement compared to more direct interpersonal interactions.

The implications of these findings are profound, suggesting that while technology offers convenience and supplemental support, it should not replace face-to-face interaction. The quality of parent-child relationships, stable family dynamics, and strong connections between families and teachers emerge as pivotal factors in fostering an environment conducive to learning and development.

Jeynes’s work challenges the prevailing notion that technological advancements can serve as a panacea for educational engagement, urging a return to basics in how we approach communication within the educational sphere. This call for a balanced integration of technology, without sidelining the invaluable role of personal rapport, could redefine strategies for promoting academic achievement and parental involvement in schools.

As educators and parents navigate the digital age, Jeynes’s findings serve as a reminder of the enduring value of human connection in the quest to enrich student lives academically and beyond. The study advocates for a judicious use of technology, emphasizing that the heart of education lies in the strength of the relationships that nurture it.

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