Everyone wants to feel valued — this is an inherent characteristic of human beings. Charlie Chaplin had once famously remarked, ‘More than machinery we need humanity, more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness’. This need for value shows in all realms of life. Classrooms are no different!
Students spend a considerable amount of time within the four walls with a person who is responsible for meeting their developmental, emotional and academic needs. These persons are referred to as Teachers/ Professors/ Lecturers/ Educators who play a significant role in the trajectory of the students throughout the formal schooling and college experience. Students want to feel valued and cared by these significant people in their world. Similarly, the teachers also expect to be respected and valued.
A recent study has proved the connection between positive student-teacher relationship and students’ achievement. But you need to agree to the fact that the students and teachers are equally responsible for building a trusting and enriching relationship with each other. Many activities can be done to foster a positive relationship that draws the students into the process of learning and urges them to learn more.
What does a good student-teacher relationship look like?
Imagine a classroom where students share constructive thoughts with the teachers, feel free to ask them anything, share a strong personal bond and receive more productive guidance rather than only criticism. Teachers are able to engage students in learning and cultivate their desires to learn.
It may sound a proposed learning model devised by a researcher. But it can be employed in any real life scenario as well.
The responsibilities that students need to fulfill
As we have mentioned earlier, the students and teachers are equally culpable for creating classroom environments more conducive.
- Discuss partaking of community services as genuine teachers always take interest in their pupils’ success
- Inform teacher about your struggle in classroom without a hesitation because teachers are officially responsible for helping students in classroom environment
- Share personal concerns with the teacher if you need suggestion from an experienced person; but only when you think the teacher will listen to you and help you without making you feel socially inept.
Many a time, students need that encouragement to follow the rules. If the teachers are likely to make the necessary adjustment, the students will be more enthusiastic to exert more effort to learn.
The adverse effects of negative student-teacher relationship
The aftermath of negative student-teacher relationship is more chronic than you could think of. For students who have negative relationships with teachers or show evidence of frustration, anger and irritation, adversely the teachers might display their negativity through snide and sarcastic comment. This is not an ideal environment to receive or share knowledge.
The negativity of student-teacher relationship adds to the burden when the teachers show irritability and anger toward the students. In this type of classrooms, the teachers engage themselves in bullying and abusing that directly affect the students’ performance in their academics.
How to foster positive relationships within the classroom
Now it is no secret that how significant it is to have a positive student-teacher relationship in the classroom. But it is not a material that can be placed in a classroom overnight. One should employ several techniques to nurture the relationship. The students and teachers need to be equally proactive.
Get to know your teachers:
It is not really your responsibility to know your teachers at different levels — academically, socially and personally. But it is the first significant step that students can take. When students take the initiative to talk to their teachers about life outside school, it is an indication that students actually care about his or her teacher as a person.
The more the teacher gets to know about the pupil individually, it gets easier to create relationships with them. Instead of marking their papers with failing scores, the teacher should take the initiative to talk to the students and learn where exactly they need help. With gathered inputs, they can devise a plan that would work for the students.
Minds Your Words:
Students often use unkind words to show their grudge to their teachers, or even use sarcasm when joking and make everyone uncomfortable in the classroom. It should be avoided, but that’s does not mean you cannot make jokes during classes. You have to be careful that it is being used only in the sense of playfulness.
Reach Your Students:
Sometimes, teachers report about having trouble with a particular student. Sometimes situations escalate to voice-raising or harsh reaction or comment. But the situation can be avoided easily. Students always understand when you say ‘I was wrong’. There is nothing wrong about apologizing. You let them know that things are OK and anyone, even you, can make mistakes and make positive comments like, ‘Let’s have a positive tomorrow.’
Don’t Assume it to be Inconsequential:
Students might think positive relationships are only important to elementary school students. Studies have proven that middle and high school students benefit from this relationship as well. So partake the activities that your teacher thinks can promote societal bonds in the classroom.
Don’t Wait for Negative Behavior to Occur:
It is not necessary that the measurements be only taken when student demonstrate some repellent behavioral actions. Instead, the teachers should be proactive on modeling various strategies for promoting a social learning experience. Students should be engaged in more discussions, reading critically, debating and asking-answering questions.
Finally, Don’t Give up Easily
Do not give up too quickly on the effort of building a positive relationship with the teacher who seems apathetic to the classroom affairs or harsh teacher who seems to pass critical comment every time they get the chance. It will benefit you more than the easy-to-get-along-with peers.
These tips are few ways the students and teachers can build bonds in the classroom. Fulfilling expectations, enforcing classroom rules and consistently making an effort to building a relationship which is not only restricted to the boundaries of classroom but also exist outside the classroom. Although students and teachers may feel a time crunch to get things done with all the study material they are expected to cover, it is essential to develop this connection, even if you think it as an ‘extra burden’.
How to value the teacher’s contribution
Like we have already mentioned, it is in humans’ social nature to expect value from someone who is significant. Likewise, the teachers also expect to be respected by the students whom he or she has shared knowledge and expertise with. So when you value the contribution of the teachers in the classroom, they value the students’ efforts within the classroom. You need not devise a plan or strategy to show your regard; there are few gestures that can make a huge difference.
A warm ‘thank you’ conjured from the heart can be more effective when it comes to building a relationship in the classroom. Expressing your gratitude towards others and letting them know how much you value his or her efforts in academics is a great way to boost their self-esteem.
Smile when you get chance:
When you have a smile on your lips, the person opposite you feels welcomed, appreciated and acknowledged. So whenever the teacher enters the classroom doors, try to welcome him or her with a smile. It somehow makes life better.
Taking time to listen to others is a great gesture to show that you care about the person and his opinions. Focusing your full attention to someone make the person feel valued. Even you don’t have the solution to the problem the teacher shares with you, what matters is you spend time with them.
Be honest with your words:
Sometimes students are seen to make lame excuses for not accomplishing their due tasks. Teachers are more experience and have dealt with a number of students earlier, so they can easily make out when someone is deceiving. If you have not finished your homework or project or due assignment, have a discussion with your teacher personally and ask for a deadline extension. If it is not possible, then enquire what can be done in the situation. The teacher will value your honesty.
Positive relationships truly have the ability and dominance to unleash the potential in the students. While many students may not think they have enough time to take the initiative of developing relationships on academic grounds, we feel there is always time for it. This engagement has the power of enhancing test scores and grade point averages and check dropouts in educational institutions.
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