I don’t believe that it is a surprise to anyone in education that there is value in developing a relationship with each and every student you work with. In my opinion, this value cannot be overstated and one that can be demonstrated in many ways. The insight into the individual learning inclinations of our students being one.
In any relationship, as it evolves each individual begins to gain an awareness about the other person. An awareness that is rooted in understandings derived from the interpersonal experiences that occur. I find that educators are very skilled at developing this awareness due to the nature of our work. We have to quickly gain an understanding of the students we are working with in order to support our instruction.
The issue that can and does arise is that some of our understandings can be based on assumptions or minimal interactions with a student versus a developed relationship. The result: conflicting perspectives about the nature of the relationship. The educator feels they have a connection with the student based on assumed understandings and the student feels neither understood nor part of the relationship.
If a student does not feel that they have a relationship with us, it may be difficult for them to trust. Relationships build trust, a requirement for good instruction. We often ask students to step out of their comfort zone with their learning by trying new strategies and being at risk to make mistakes. All necessary components of learning. If students are not willing to do this, learning is impacted and the student/teacher relationship should be ruled out as a precipitating factor.
To truly gain understanding of anyone we need to enter into a reciprocal relationship. This should be no different with students. We should be asking about and truly listening to their opinions, perspectives, and concerns. They are the reason we step in to school every day, they are who we are instructing, their voice matters. If they do not have a trusting relationship with educators that is consistently developed, maintained, and repaired, their voice will not be heard and our instruction will suffer.
How Are Your Relationships, with EVERY student?