Be Positive: The Effects of Teacher-Student Relationships

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I just finished reading this chapter from the book, 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning: Teaching for Success, and want to make a few notes and reflect upon some of the key ideas.

  • The chapter’s main message: Learning requires positive relationships — whether between learners and teachers, or between learners and their peers.

These are the 3 major factors to developing positive relationships:

  1. teacher expectations
  2. teacher-student relationships
  3. reducing anxiety

“Keep in mind that everyone is capable of learning, even in  situations that seem hopeless.”

  • Students perform better in classrooms where teachers create “a sense of fairness, predictability, and thus safety to be engaged in learning, with all the related notions of making errors, seeking help, and working positively with others.”
  • Teachers can reduce student anxiety  by “creating conditions where it is OK to make mistakes in front of others, to actively explore other ideas and critique them, and to learn from others.”

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A smile is contagious.

“Just as a smile sends out positive signals about relationship building, a failure to smile sends out negative signals. Teachers who walk into the classroom grumpy should not be surprised that their students never laugh and are more inclined to be grumpy also…”

Rules and procedures and keeping your word also create stability and reduce anxiety in students.

Overall, the following is an important takeaway about the power of teacher-student relationships. (Teacher-student relationship: effect size of 0.72)

“When students do not know what to do next, when they make mistakes, or when they are confused, the power of the trust developed by the teacher and among peers can then really pay off.”

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