Building positive relationships

Updated: Feb 4, 2021



Teacher-student relationships (TSR) is a term that is often bandied about in our everyday teaching. TSR is a term that teachers use to describe their superficial interactions with students or placed as a stamp of success on regulated teacher-student interactions.

However, the transformative possibilities of building positive relationships cannot be understated. And it extends beyond a student doing the 'right thing' because of their relationship with their teacher. At its core, a strong TSR is a student trusting a teacher enough to be guided through cognitively, emotionally and socially challenging situations. Essentially every single day in the classroom is a trust-fall by the students. Belief that teachers have their well-being in mind. Belief that teachers will be there to support them when they struggle. Trusting us to be their buffer in times of need. Only with this trust can we hope to challenge and engage our students in meaningful and deep learning experiences.

But how do we go about building positive relationships? Below are some pointers I have always found useful in guiding my words and my actions as a teacher:

 

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:

Is my practice.....

  • respectful (distinguishing the behaviour from the person)

  • fair (engaging with explanations and clear expectations)

  • restorative (repairing harm and building relationships)

Does my practice.....

  • develop empathy (reflection, insight and learning)

  • enhance responsibility

  • promote positive behavioural change

 

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP MODEL

We must keep the belief that:

  1. People are OK

  2. Everyone can think

  3. Everyone can change

 

EVERY PERSON HAS A LIFE SCRIPT

This is key to understanding the whole person.

  • Early programming through childhood experiences

  • Emotional baggage

 

DEVELOP RELATIONSHIP PODS

Manager - Advocate - Boundary Rider

  • Formal. 3 different people

  • Building the relationship within boundaries

  • Manager: In-charge of mediation

  • Advocate: Supporting the kids (builds a feeling of safety). Building a positive relationship and connection

  • Boundary rider: Bad cop

(Adapted from andrewfuller.com.au/)

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