This study examines the construct of respect, its manifestations in teacher-student relationships, and it relationship to ethics of care and sustainable development. The study found that students place a high premium on being respected by their teachers and measure expressions of respect chiefly through the attention received through listening. Students’ perspectives on the quality of the schools’ leadership and the teaching and learning environment were found to be shaped by their assessments of the degree to which they feel respected. In a number bivariate correlations, the study found strong, positive correlations between the variable ‘listening’ and other variables that characterize the teacher-student relationship, in particular respect for teachers and principals and comfort with the teaching and learning environment. The study makes the case that the act of showing respect is a critical component of the ethics of care and sustainable development. The study recommends that one strategy that teachers and educational administrators should adopt in seeking to strengthen teacher-student relationships, exert positive influence on students’ behaviours and academic performance, and thus ensure the sustainability of healthy social environments is to invest in the creation of organizational cultures and administrative systems and processes that create the avenues through which respect for students can be demonstrably seen

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© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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