Why the Teacher-Student Relationship Matters

Why the Teacher-Student Relationship Matters

With the increasing impact of technology in the teaching and learning space, there is so much focus now on content and delivery method, that there appears to be a diminishing lack of focus on the important role the relationship between the teacher and the student plays in the achievement of improved learning outcomes. We are being asked to deliver more content, in less time and get better results. That all sounds a little crazy to me.

The teacher-student relationship has been widely recognised as a critical component of effective education. Research has demonstrated that positive relationships between teachers and students can have a significant impact on academic achievement, student behaviour and overall well-being.

One of the key ways in which the teacher-student relationship influences academic achievement is through the provision of academic and emotional support. Teachers who establish positive relationships with their students are more likely to provide individualised support, such as tutoring, feedback and guidance, which can help students succeed academically. This also leads to improved student motivation, engagement and persistence.

Research has also demonstrated that positive teacher-student relationships can have significant impacts on student behaviour. Students who have positive relationships with their teachers are more likely to engage in positive social behaviours, such as helping others, following rules and avoiding disruptive behaviour. Additionally, it can also improve student attitudes towards school and learning, leading to greater academic engagement and achievement.

Finally, the teacher-student relationship can make a big difference to student well-being as well. Research tells us that positive relationships with teachers can increase student self-esteem and self-confidence, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall mental health outcomes. Additionally, positive relationships with teachers can provide students with a sense of belonging and social support, which is critical for their development.

This is why using 4MAT as a template to design instruction is so valuable. Starting in quadrant one with a focus on an experience – either something student’s have personally experienced or an experience created in the room, starts to create a relationship where the student feels valued by the teacher. An opportunity to share their feelings and perceptions related to the content by connecting with it personally makes it so much more meaningful for the student rather than the traditional approach of starting with the next piece of content. There is value for the teacher here too – the understanding that comes from sharing experiences provides insight into the world of the student that it is hard to hear about in any other way in the teaching setting.

While challenges may arise to create this time in an online environment, teachers can take steps to build positive relationships with their students that promote a supportive and inclusive learning environment here as well. By recognising the importance of the teacher-student relationship, teachers can create a more engaging and effective educational experience for their students in the classroom and online.

Share some of your strategies for building a positive teacher-student relationship in the comments below.

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