Positive and Supportive Teacher-Student Relationship:
A Cornerstone for Students’ Intellectual, Emotional and Social Development
Establishing a positive and supportive classroom environment, combined with productive relationships between teachers and their students, will provide a platform in which students are encouraged and motivated to grow both academically and personally – John Hattie
What makes students curious and creative, confident and competent, active and eager, intelligent and exceptional? What is the role of positive teacher-student relationship in achieving students’ academic excellence, social development and emotional stability? What is the significance and relevance of forging and fostering strong and supportive teacher-student relationship in the classrooms and school community? What is the impact and lasting consequences of such teacher-student relationship? How can teachers enhance their relationship with their students to make them progressive and empowered learners? These are some of the questions that made me ponder over the theme ‘Positive and Supportive Teacher-Student Relationship: A Cornerstone for Students’Intellectual, Emotional and Social Development’. I have tried to answer these questions with the help of the knowledge and understanding I have acquired on the topic through my reading, experiences I was fortunate to have, and the experiments I have had with my students who have been my best teachers during my fruitful teaching tenure in eight unique schools in India. I am very grateful to every student, every teacher and every school community for inspiring me, enlightening me and empowering me. I am greatly convinced of the fact that teachers do make a difference in their students by promoting positive and supportive teacher-student relationships that hone their skills, develop their abilities, uncover their innate talents, and augment their ingenuity beyond measure.
‘A good teacher, first and foremost, sees each student as an individual with hopes, dreams, strengths and vulnerabilities’, says Charlotte Wolfe. Great and effective teachers are those teachers who are conscious about the holistic development of all students who are entrusted to their care and who have the ability to maximize their learning abilities by carefully developing and sustaining strong and positive relationships with them. Research shows that fostering and enhancing supportive Teacher-Student relationship has a monumental impact and positive effect in creating a healthy and conducive learning environment wherein teachers can promote a caring and passionate community of learners who will go on to become great achievers, excellent inventors and global leaders.
Education is a powerful
weapon with which we
can shape the destiny of
humankind by positively
changing their mental
Every teacher must realize that he/she needs to be highly motivated, committed, passionate, and optimistic towards his/her students as well as his/her teaching in order to create a positive and productive impact on the students and their learning outcomes. It is a proven fact that teachers who are sincere, caring, approachable, supportive and inspiring can easily enable their students to become enthusiastic, successful and creative learners. John Hattie, a proponent of Evidence Based Quantitative Research Methodologies on the Influences on Student achievement, who is also a Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, has noted in his study that a harmonious classroom can assist with the development of creativity as well as reduce anxiety levels amongst students. In my opinion, the primary objective of all effective and conscious teachers should be to promote a safe and healthy learning environment wherein students will feel confident, comfortable, happy and accepted. Time and again, I am convinced of the fact that only effective and conscious teachers understand, acknowledge and therefore, appreciate the significance of creating a rapport and bonding with their students for providing an education that is positive, productive and progressive. When teachers display a positive and congenial attitude towards their students, they not only make them ‘learn better, faster and deeper’ but make them self-confident and self-reliant too.
Building positive, supportive, cooperative and mutually strong teacher-student relationships is the key to create a welcoming, healthy and conducive learning space in which students are enabled to thrive, prosper and go on to become what they are meant to be in life. And it is only by forging and nurturing a strong and positive relationship with their students, can teachers create a healthy and conducive learning atmosphere wherein students feel welcome, accepted, respected, loved and cared for, wherein learning becomes fun and joy. Conscious and committed teachers promote the art of positive parenting in every classroom and in every school to enable the students to become confident learners by willingly and happily shouldering the responsibility of being their ‘second parents’.
When teachers teach with passion, display positive attitude towards their students and their success, and show genuine care for them, the students reciprocate with respect for their teachers, interest and love for their learning.
Though developing and sustaining strong, positive and congenial teacher-student relationship requires a considerable amount of time, commitment, patience and understanding from the teachers, the benefits and impact are enormous. It raises positively and substantially the standard of their learning outcomes, increases their concentration, makes them self-confident and prepares them socially to be responsible and productive human beings who are ready to learn and grow, glad to lead and serve the world.
It is said that ‘The destiny of humankind is shaped in three classrooms namely home, school and society. ’When our home, school and society become safe, healthy, happy and supportive learning centres, children tend to thrive, prosper, experiment, learn, innovate, enjoy, succeed and be empowered. It is here that our children are able to expand their knowledge, widen their perception, build their self-confidence, enhance their communication skills, augment their leadership skills and increase their positive mental attitude.
It is an undeniable fact that students tend to respond positively and listen attentively if teachers can engage them creatively and relate with them cordially. This might have been the reason for Henry Adams to remark that ‘teachers affect eternity; no one knows where their influence stops’. Education is a powerful weapon with which we can shape the destiny of humankind by positively changing their mental attitude. Research suggests that learning can be enhanced and taken to the next level when teachers demonstrate warmth, acceptance, genuine care, empathy, optimism, respect and encouragement towards their students. Therefore, teachers who are kind, supportive, positive and caring can easily enable their students to increase their creativity and ingenuity.
My humble appeal to every conscious educator who wants to make a positive difference in the lives his/her students is: Make conscious and continuous effort to touch their hearts, influence their minds, ignite their spirits and thus elevate their lives. Let us not confine our role to teaching them the subjects alone, rather strive to influence them, inspire them positively and thus empower them to become ‘the masterpieces of God’s creation’.
Dear Educators, let us therefore, rededicate ourselves to ignite and empower the young minds by fostering strong and supportive Teacher-Student Relationships!
M Alfred William is the Principal of Wisdom Wealth International School (Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu), a Progressive School that strives to mould and shape Global Leaders through a life-oriented and personalized learning.
He has served as a Teacher, Sports Secretary, Cultural Secretary, Vice-Principal, Principal and Manager in five different schools in India since 2006. He has a great passion for teaching and learning and enjoys the responsibility of being a school administrator. He is a voracious reader and loves sports and games. He holds master’s degrees in English, Computer Science, Education and Business Administration. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Sciences. He firmly believes that EDUCATION can change one’s destiny by changing one’s mental attitude. Therefore, he strives to become a great educator in order to bring revolution and innovation in the field of education.