Optimal educational climate among students at risk: the role of teachers’ work attitudes

Anat Freund, Amit Zriker, Zehava Sapir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most significant phenomena among students at risk is low resilience. However, very little is known about teacher-related factors that affect students’ resilience. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to shed light on the relationships between teacher-level (affective and continuance organizational commitment, professional commitment, burnout, and job characteristics) and student-level variables (optimal educational climate, OEC: the needs of belonging, respect from others, autonomy, self-efficacy, and self-fulfillment), as OEC is viewed as a main source of students’ psychological resilience. A sample of 243 teachers and 1777 10th-grade students from 44 nationwide secondary schools in Israel participated in this study. The study included the entire population of this selected cohort. Using hierarchical linear model (HLM) coefficient models, we found two major factors that significantly predicted students’ OEC: teachers’ affective organizational commitment and teachers’ job characteristics. These findings indicate that schools may serve as a protective factor for students at risk, since schools can strengthen teachers’ affective abilities in order to ensure their students’ psychological resilience. These findings are especially important when working with students at risk, who tend to be exposed to a wider range of stress factors, both individually and academically. The importance of these relationships becomes even greater considering the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has had a significant global impact on many aspects, including students’ relationships with schools and teachers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)207-226
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Optimal educational climate
  • Organizational commitment
  • Professional commitment
  • Psychological resilience
  • Students at risk

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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