Monday, February 21, 2011

You Need Strong Relationships

I don’t think there is anything more basic, more vital to the classroom than good, supportive relationships between teachers and students.  The best pedagogy, flawlessly aligned curricula, and vast content knowledge will not count for much if the teacher doesn’t explicitly care for the students.  Furthermore, this is most important to our lowest performing students.  Any teacher or potential teacher can master lesson construction, use a solid curriculum and master content.  How do we teach teachers, new and experienced, to form the sort of relationships necessary in the classroom?  We must remember that the classroom is fundamentally about human relations and communication, and we must teach teachers how to form these relationships.  While I have been saying this for years because my students taught it to me, I’ve not been able to put my finger on exactly what it looks like so as to be able to teach others.  Finally somebody has.  Mary Kim Schreck’s You’ve Got to Reach Them to Teach Them: Hard Facts About the Soft Skills of Student Engagement hits the nail on the head about the many facets of teacher-student communication.  Go get a copy now.  I think you will be glad you did.
Full disclosure: I was a blind peer reviewer prior to publication, but I made nothing and make nothing from its sale.  

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