Nurturing a healthy student-teacher relationship: Why and how to develop them?
A child who has the opportunity of education through conventional pedagogy gets to spend the most time with teachers and in an enclosed environment of the school, for more than a decade or so. With working parents at home, some kids start this socializing and learning activity at a very young age by attending preschools or nurseries.
Undoubtedly, the company of educators is more prominent in a child’s life after parents. In the popular narrative, they are considered second parents. The ones who will impart values and ethics in children’s minds, share some life lessons with them, and become an important contributor in shaping their overall personality.
No wonder why we reminisce a lot about the lessons we learned in our school days, the teachers who supported us, and also the ones who did not. We visit the memories of these foundational years in times of jubilation and sorrow, in times of hard and soft realizations of life, and believe that period to be one of the major causes of who we become and how we perceive the world to be.
Importance of having a strong bond with students :
An enthusiastic and friendly learning space where kids are allowed to experiment and understand concepts would always help in enhancing their growth. Whereas the ones which lack all of that would affect their emotional and mental health badly, apart from academic performance. Educators play an important role in developing such spaces and ensuring that their authority and experiences are put to good use.
A fulfilling student-teacher relationship will :
- Encourage students to be active learners
- Increase their self-esteem
- Develop risk-taking abilities
- Motivate students to participate in multiple activities
- Promote a good academic performance
- Ease the process of overcoming adversities
In many cases, even if the child scores well, the lingering pressure of educators and peers to perform better and the lack of emotional security or intelligence in that space can limit his or her understanding and maturity to cope with adversities otherwise and offer a narrow perspective towards the idea of success or failure.
How to build a strong bond with students?
Listen to understand, not respond –
More often than not, elders across any kind of relationship dynamics have the authority and the last call in decisions. Their perspective is considered to be right by default due to more years of experience. Like most South Asian countries, Indian culture tends to follow the same thought process and it is visible in the school system as well. The consequences look like being ignorant or not open to viewpoints that children can offer.
This inculcates the same behavior in children as well and they too react with presumed notions without giving a thought to any other opinion. It is important for educators to have good listening skills, and reflect upon a student’s expressions thoughtfully. This means being considerate, and empathetic toward their thoughts and feelings. Paying attention to what they have to say, how they behave otherwise so that you could understand them better as a person.
Apart from children who can find it easy to adapt to the school environment, these listening skills work especially well when a kid is having difficulty in studies, struggling to adjust with peers, or acquiring social skills.
Be inclusive –
Let every child feel part of the classroom and engage in activities in their way without feeling pressurized to perform a certain way. The difference in abilities and individuals’ uniqueness should be cherished. It is way too ideal to be able to offer this understanding in one go as adapting to a student’s behavior is also a task.
Establish a positive discourse with students with challenging behavior and especially about them among other peers. Ensure that they don’t feel isolated or mistreated by anyone in the classroom. Inclusivity will only increase class engagement wherein no child feels left alone or unseen but rather motivated and confident about themselves. This will ease their learning process.
Create a friendly-classroom environment –
Disciplining children is part of the facilitation process but so is being forgiving, mindful, and kind toward students who are learning how to be better in so many aspects. Students learn accountability without carrying the pile of faults if they know how to be objective about their actions too.
When a teacher uses blaming language, and demoralizes them using vocabulary that suggests that the student can never do things rightly ever, it impacts the child’s understanding severely. It is therefore essential for educators to be compassionate towards pupils so that they cultivate the same in their life. After all, they carry forward the words and communication that they have come across during their upbringing.
Give constructive feedback –
Balancing the act of being honest and making sure the message is communicated without causing much harm is tricky but practicing it won’t ever go waste. Students improve better with advice that considers their weaknesses and potential to perform well next time.
Be open to learning –
Welcoming suggestions, and perspectives and also experimenting with facilitating techniques are important. It benefits the student’s learning process as it is more innovation-based and prevents monotony. Instead of being an authoritarian, if you position yourself as a facilitator who will allow students to also decide how to go about the subject, they will feel involved with the subject. At times, even when they are not interested in it initially.
The facilitation process becomes more fun when individual students feel validated and get to participate to design the modules along with teachers. It is a way of making the classroom more active and lively.
Teaching is an intensive process that requires a lot of enthusiasm and patience, not just expertise around a subject. Especially in times when technological advancement and access to digital platforms are making kids more informed about many things at a young age. Teaching has to be updated with this automation and invent new techniques that will engage the students well.
The classrooms are spaces where students will shape their worldview in the company of educators. In presence of ever-evolving teachers, who overcome these challenges and are passionate about the process of pedagogy, the students will make their mark and flourish academically, mentally, and emotionally as well. Can you think of any teacher who reflects these qualities for you?