Attachment and learning – the links between early experiences and responses in the classroom


Dr Heather Geddes

Affiliation: Caspari Foundation, Finspace, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, London, N4 2DA
Corresponding author: Dr Heather Geddes, 

Download the pdf here: 


Many children are underachieving in schools and some are presenting very difficult behaviours that challenge and stress the teacher and affect the measures of school achievement. The purpose of this paper is to summarise the research findings reported in ‘Attachment in the Classroom’ (Geddes, 2006) with the aim to inform and support teaching practice in the classroom and to enhance engagement in learning for the vulnerable pupils. In this paper, I review the different patterns of attachment first and their related patterns of behaviour that were observed in data from Geddes (2006). These patterns of behaviour were evident in the research findings that highlighted the significance of response to the teacher and engagement with the learning task. This has implications for classroom practice and the article seeks to briefly describe the patterns of insecure attachment responses to inform and support responses to the challenging pupils and to implications for interventions in the classroom. Each insecure attachment pattern is described as are the related responses in the classroom and briefly linked to interventions in terms of task and classroom practice. Awareness of the different meaning of these behaviours reduces teacher anxiety and enables the child to feel understood and to gradually adjust in terms of their responses to the teacher and the learning task. 


attachment, behaviour, learning and achievement 

Geddes, H. (2018) Attachment and learning – the links between early experiences and responses in the classroom. International Journal of Nurture in Education, 4(1), 15–21