Greetings of the festive season and a very happy New Year to all our readers from The Progressive Teacher.
If I treat you as what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that -Goethe
Teacher-student relationships lie at the heart of teaching and learning. Strong teacher student relationships are crucial for all teaching-learning programmes. The nature of your relationship with your students dictates the impact that you have on them. If you want to have a positive and lasting difference on your pupils, you need to forge productive teacher student relationships.
‘It is teachers who have created positive teacher student relationships that are more likely to have the above average effects on student achievement’ –says John Hattie, Professor of Education at the Melbourne University, Australia.
Strong teacher-student relationships shape the way children think and act in school. When the teacher has a good relationship with the students, they feel positive about class and about school in general. They are also willing to work hard, risk making mistakes, and to ask for help when they need it.
Research shows constructive teacher student relationships have a large and positive impact on students’ academic results. The quality and nature of the relationship the teacher has with the students has a larger effect on their results than socio-economic status or professional development. Thus, John Hattie calls them high-performance teacher-student relationships.
If the teacher wants to make a real and lasting difference, investing effort into building high-performance relationships with students is one of the most powerful things that can be done.
But what do such relationships entail?
One has to show genuine care. Care encompasses warmth, empathy and time. Accept the students for what they are, understand how your students feel and think and take time to be physically and mentally present with them. Listening is a very important component of caring. Believe that your students are capable of success and exert some pressure on them to carry on. This does not mean that a teacher is harsh on the students; this leads to guidance and structure in the classroom; the students understand the teacher’s beliefs and intentions and thus behave well in class. They have better attitudes about school and achieve better results. In a research study, Lee Jussim has stated that you can create a combination of high standards with a warm and supportive environment (and this) will benefit all students, not just the high achievers.
When students develop a strong bond with the teachers, they score better in class. Tyrone Howard, a professor of education at the University of California, has concluded in his research findings –‘I think schools in many ways have put the cart before the horse. What they’ve done is they want to jump right into academics and really dismiss or minimize the importance of relationships’.
With this issue of The Progressive Teacher my association with this magazine is coming to an end. I, as the founder-editor, have been associated with it for the last five years. I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me as much as I have enjoyed it. I have enjoyed every moment of this relationship, the bonding with my readers and it has been a great learning experience. I shall always cherish this time spent with The Progressive Teacher. It is with a heavy heart that I am laying down this mantle.
With best wishes