“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it. “ ~Margaret Fuller Every paradox of life is the product of its heredity and environment. where each is necessary to the result as the other. Neither of them can be eliminated or isolated. Education is an environmental force which influences a child's life dominantly.
Education by all norms is an endeavor, to mould and shape the behaviour of the pupil, with an aspiration to produce desirable changes in the child for the all around development.The crucial design of education is to transform the conduct of the child according to the needs and expectancy of the society.
Teaching is a people profession that appeals a large proportion of time being devoted to personal interaction. Positive teacher-student relationships are believed to be necessary for effective teaching and learning to take place. Effective teachers are those who, in addition to being skilled at teaching, are attuned to the human dimension of classroom life and can foster positive relationships with their students. But what is meant by positive teacher-student relationships? Why are teacher-student relationships important and how are they to be measured?
Positive teacher-student relationships are characterised by mutual acceptance, understanding, warmth, closeness, trust, respect, care and cooperation. The success of any interpersonal relationship is dependent to a large extent upon input from both parties. In the classroom setting, it is the teacher who has the opportunity, and indeed, the responsibility, to initiate positive interpersonal relationships. The teacher who is pro-active in demonstrating acceptance, understanding, warmth, closeness, trust, respect, care and cooperation towards his or her students not only works at initiating positive teacher-student relationships, but also increases the likelihood of building strong relationships that will endure over time.
Teacher-student relationships are important for many reasons. It greatly influence a student’s ability to adjust to school, to do well at school, and to relate to peers. It has an impact on classroom management and affect learning progress. From a developmental perspective, the establishment of a positive teacher-student relationship aids a student’s cognitive,social and emotional growth and enhances their mental well-being. Stable relationship has an positive impact on a student’s developing sense of self and promote resiliency in them. Furthermore,the benefits of positive teacher-student relationships extend to teachers, contributing to an improved sense of job satisfaction.
Past research on teacher-student relationships has focused heavily on instructional aspects of the relationship, and largely ignored the social and emotional aspects. As such, research into social and emotional aspects is relatively new. This study, helps to address this gap in the research by identifying key social and emotional aspects of the teacher-student relationship from the literature and exploring these in more detail. The three key social and emotional aspects of the teacher-student relationship that have been identified for inclusion in the present study are connectedness, availability and communication.
There are many aspects that influence the quality and nature of personal relationships and, specifically in this study, relationships between teachers and students in the primary school. A complete understanding of how these aspects influence teachers’ relationships with students is likely to be very complex. To fully understand the interconnections between all possible aspects would be very involved, and is beyond the scope of this study. However, it is possible to simplify these connections by creating a theoretical model and building into it a selected number of aspects that are considered most important. This simplified model provides an understanding of the interconnections between the selected aspects, gives direction to the research in the collection of data, and provides guidelines for the analysis and interpretation of the data. A simplified model was created using three aspects that were found to be necessary for the development of strong, healthy relationships between teachers and students. The aspects identified as significant include emotional safety and trust, positive emotional involvement, a sense of closeness , teacher availability and, open communication . For the purpose of this study, these aspects from the literature have been grouped into three broad areas, namely Connectedness, Availability and Communication. Each of these three areas is seen to be a key aspect likely to impact on a teacher’s ability to develop relationships with the students in their classroom. The Theoretical Model is a multi-levelled model. Incorporated in the first level are the three key aspects most expected to impact on teachers’ relationships with students: Connectedness, Availability and Communication. The second level of the model features the expected mechanisms by which the key aspects were expected to be demonstrated by teachers as they relate with the students in their classes.Teachers who demonstrated the expected mechanisms were seen to be working towards achieving the key aspects in their relationships with students.
Connectedness refers to the connection that exists between a teacher and a student and, as indicated in the literature, is an important aspect in the development of teachers’ relationships with students in the classroom Connectedness encompasses how ‘in-tune’ a teacher may be with a student, and concerns the emotional tone of the relationship. A secure connection between a teacher and student contributes to an individual student’s academic success, a student’s ability to regulate his or her own behaviour, and a student’s ongoing ability to develop social relationships with others. How well teachers connect with their students is considered to be a significant aspect to investigate when considering teachers’ relationships with students in the primary school because positive connections enhance a student’s sense of belonging and self value.
Availability is an important aspect influencing teachers’ relationships with students as indicated in the literature . In this study, availability means how available teachers are to their students. Put another way, it means how easily students are able to access their teacher. Availability includes a teacher being available to fulfil a need for a student, be it an academic need (for example, to help with school work), or a social or emotional need (for example, to talk about being rejected by a friend). By being available and spending time with students, teachers and students are able to get to know each other better. In addition, ongoing contact with a caring adult,such as the classroom teacher, helps develop in children a protective mechanism thereby reducing psychosocial risk factors.
Good communication is important to the ongoing development of relationships between teachers and students. It is stated that “without communication, there can be no community. Human beings cannot form a community or share in a common life without communicating with one another” When done effectively, communication allows for the meeting of ‘hearts and minds’. In the context of the classroom, ongoing communication is noted as being a major process in the development of relationships.
Effective communication is based on a shared focus of attention that leads to shared meanings. By communicating effectively, people are able to relate to each other in meaningful ways. Communication that takes on “a quality of caring, openness, and authenticity ... naturally engenders respect and love” describes an effective teacher as being one who is able to communicate with their students “in positive, sensitive, and assertive ways”. In the context of the classroom, communication of this kind is expected to strengthen a relationship of trust and respect between teacher and student
Therefore, how does a teacher hold a relationship that leads to effectively teach the children? The answer becomes clear when teachers interact with, and learn more about their students. Our first educational experience, which takes place in the primary years of our life, sets the principles for our future education. Every school year an elementary teacher deals with new faces and new attitudes. Some children find themselves lacking an interest in learning and others feel playing and fooling around at school with friends is the happiest moment of their life. The solution to inappropriate behavior will not automatically get rid of the poor attitude of these children, but is to establish a positive relationship. Teachers can establish a positive relationship with their students by communicating with them and properly providing feedback to them. Respect between teacher and student with both feeling enthusiastic when learning and teaching. Having established a positive relationship with students will encourage students to seek education and be enthusiastic and to be in school. Remembering our favorite teacher will be recognized because they had at least in one way or another the qualities I discussed in this essay, although we are not aware of it during the time we are in school, but teachers are well recognized at a later time of our lives.
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”.