Research suggests that students who have very positive interactions with their teachers are highly successful academically. That is, positive teacher-student interactions have been shown to improve student learning outcomes and grades. This is because when students genuinely enjoy interacting with their teachers, they become more confident about the subject and are more motivated in their academics.
Therefore it is very important for teachers to make every effort to build positive relationships with students. While this does not come naturally to every teacher it can indeed be built and cultivated with guidance from the top management in the school. After all, it is the leadership who sets the tone for the environment and atmosphere in the school. So, how can your staff work towards cultivating better relationships with their students? Here are the top 5 tips.
1) Create a Positive Atmosphere in the Classroom
Happy students = happy learners. And how do we make students happy? By engaging them with a variety of activities. Teachers who keep the classroom lively, cheerful and active with various fun activities engage their students at higher rates. This helps create a positive atmosphere which in turn, helps the teacher to connect better with their students. Encourage your academic coordinators to come up with a list of 5-minute activities that teachers can use as ‘brain breaks’ at the beginning of classes or during transitions. Encourage your staff to share activities that students particularly enjoy with one another.
2) Listen actively
Listening with attention, interest and intent to students and genuinely understanding them is one of the most crucial and easiest ways to evaluate not only their interests but also areas of challenges and concerns. This helps the teacher to come up with better ways to make the learning process more engaging for their students.
One way to do this is to encourage your teachers to set aside some time every week as an “Open Door” time during which those students who would like to share challenges or concerns may do so in private. Remember to set some guidelines around these sessions. Many schools have a counselor on staff - a dedicated person to counsel students. But if you don't have a counselor, that’s perfectly alright. You yourself can take up this role or encourage a coordinator or any teacher who has the natural ability to connect well with students, to become the official “listener”.
3) Personalize Teaching
Not every student learns in the same way. If you monitor your students closely, you will notice the uniqueness of each one of your students’. Personalizing learning is an efficient way to enhance the scope of learning for a student. It helps build a better connection with your students as they will have the confidence that they can learn efficiently.
4) Talk More Than Just Academics
Teachers should bring in much more than just academics into the classroom. Sharing and discussing a variety of topics that range from personal and inspirational to success will help to enhance the bond between teachers and students. There are many simple ways to inculcate this. One way is to encourage a daily “news hour” during the zero period. Class teachers can designate 5 minutes to discuss a world event of special interest. Another way is for subject teachers to dedicate the first or last 5 minutes of the session as a “share” session. Students can take turns to share something of importance to them. Teachers can set guidelines around these including time limits, what topics are allowed/not allowed, as well as how others are permitted to react. Such extra-curricular discussions help students learn important life skills such as respect and understanding of diversity, empathy, responsibility, and taking alternative perspectives, to name just a few,
5) Motivate! Motivate! Motivate!
Students who are motivated are typically the ones who actively define and seek success. Having a constant source of motivation from their teachers, with whom they spend the most time during the school years, will go a very long way. Teachers should motivate their students not just in academics but also in sports and other extracurricular activities to boost their confidence and also support a healthy lifestyle for students. Encourage your staff to make a note of students’ special interests, skills and strengths and to find opportunities for students to further develop these. A strong emphasis on health, sport, and a variety of arts in the school culture is important to set a strong foundation for motivation.
To start and bring about positive change, one has to take the first step. If you’re unsure how to take the first step, we are here to take it with you. Our StarTeacher program has supported many school management teams in establishing a culture of positive teacher-student relationships. They now report that students’ learning outcomes have dramatically improved. We would love to help you do the same in your institution. WhatsApp us today to find out how StarTeacher can bring about guaranteed positive change in your school.