Positive teacher-student relationships are very important for students. Most students have their favourite teachers and many have teachers they dislike. Getting students to like the teacher often means that half the job is done because they usually work “for” the teachers they like. When students think you care about them they will comply with your wishes and seek to please you. Unfortunately the opposite is also true.
Research and experience indicate strongly that positive teacher-student relationships motivate students to learn and improve students’ conduct in and out of the classroom. Thompson (1998) states “The most powerful weapon available to secondary teachers who want to foster a favorable learning climate is a positive relationship with our students.” Genuine communication with students in a calm, relaxed classroom atmosphere of mutual respect will enhance teaching and learning.
Since academic attainment and student behaviour are both dependent on the quality of teacher-student relationships in the school, teachers need to adopt strategies which will promote positive teacher-student relationships. There are a number of measures teachers can take in this regard.
Careful planning and preparation of lessons is vital. If teachers do not know their subject well or are unprepared for class, students will be restless and disruptive. They need to be occupied with meaningful and interesting work or they will lose respect for the teacher, lose interest in the subject and tend to be more unruly.
Teachers must have high expectations of their students. Again, research demonstrates that high teacher expectations improve students’ academic achievement and conduct. They respond positively to the teacher’s confidence in their ability and they do not want to disappoint him or her.
Teachers should never insult or humiliate students in the classroom or elsewhere. This kind of behaviour from the teacher alienates all students who witness it and adversely affects teacher-student relationships. Students who err must be dealt with in a calm, reasonable, fair and firm manner. It must be clear that although the offence is unacceptable, the student is still loved. Students must be treated equally since they will reject any semblance of injustice or favouritism.
Teachers must display compassion, empathy and care for their students and must not act out of anger towards them. Deserving students should be publicly recognized, praised and rewarded for their efforts. Teachers must show a personal interest In the lives of their charges, support them by watching them compete in sports and their other interests, and help them solve their personal and academic problems in a climate of mutual trust.
A sense of humour goes a long way to make lessons lighter and more interesting. Teachers can use humour to hold students’ attention and defuse any tension or boredom in the classroom. Students love humour and teachers who can be funny. The fun, however, must not become a distraction in the classroom.
Teachers who use the strategies mentioned above, keep the focus on learning and the development of a sound value system, and make themselves available to their students for extra help when necessary, should have no problems in developing positive teacher-student relationships.
- Effective Teaching Calls for Positive Relationships (morganklloyd.wordpress.com)