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10 Ways to Improve Student-Teacher Relationships to Optimize Learning

10 ways to improve student teacher relationships to optimize learning

If you build positive student-teacher relationships, your students will be more likely to pay attention to you, and there will be fewer disruptions.

As a teacher, the best way to gain the respect of your students and have a better behaved and controlled classroom is by putting forth an effort to get to know your students. Improving student-teacher relationships and building a positive classroom environment will optimize learning.

Let’s discuss methods to build positive, respectful relationships with your students which are an excellent method to create an effective classroom management plan.

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To build upon and improve your student-teacher relationships, it will take effort. Below are a few relatively simple ways to get to know your students better:

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1. ‘Getting to Know You’ Worksheets:

A major part of getting to know your students is learning their likes, dislikes, hobbies, passions, and interests and this strategy works wonders in achieving this. At the beginning of each school year, provide your students with a personal questionnaire to complete to explain their interests and hobbies.

By knowing your students’ interests, you will have something to dialogue with them about, and you can then show an interest in them as individuals. When you can engage in conversations with them on their level about things they enjoy, they will be more likely to listen to you.

2. Dialogue:

We seldom just chat with our worst students despite the fact that having a real, sometimes pointless conversation with another person is one of the best ways of building relationships and trust.

Dialogue is a unique relationship-builder because it evolves over time into a connection and when steps are made to form this relationship, pupils relate to us much more positively. Building respect in the classroom will help manage the classroom effectively. 

3. Active Listening:

Active listening is an effective way of showing you value a person’s opinion. We demonstrate we are listening by making eye contact, stopping other activities to concentrate fully on what is being communicated and respond to what is it accurate gestures, and verbal cues.

This is an effective way to get students to talk without offering any judgments or opinions on what they’re saying. Active listening creates rapport with your students, by showing your genuine interest in what they have to say.

4. After-school Clubs:

There is no better way to get to know your students than by simply spending time with them – on their time. This way they’ll see you do care and you’re willing to go the extra mile for them. You may find this almost instantly changes their opinions of you.

5. Share relevant personal stories or anecdotes.

By demonstrating a connection between your life and students, you will be able to effectively reach out to students and show you too are human. Think of humorous personal experiences that will entertain students and convey a strong life lesson.

Tie as many stories as you can to lesson plans and core curriculum, instead of them being completely independent or random anecdotes. This method may also help students remember information. Make certain that anything you share is age-appropriate, cannot be misconstrued, will not offend anyone, and will not put you in a bad light.

After sharing your personal story, asks students if they have ever done or encountered something similar. By implementing this technique, you may even reach out to the quietest of students and get them to open up a bit more to yourself, as well as their classmates.

6. Offer one-on-one support.

Each student in your classroom, regardless of academic or developmental level, should receive individualized assistance at some point.

The struggling students need it the most; gifted children need to be challenged, but the average learner also needs one-on-one guidance to reach his or her full potential. Make time to offer individualized support before or after class, or during lunch or recess.

Walking around the room while students are engaged in their schoolwork or group projects also provides an excellent opportunity to help students. In addition to administering quizzes and exams, this is an effective way to discover students’ strengths and weaknesses and assist them to overcome obstacles.

By making time for each and every student, not only will you be able to help them academically, you will be able to connect with them on a more personal level as well.

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7. Maintain an open-door policy.

Let students know you are always there to help them with an academic or personal issue that may arise. Tell them your door is always open, and you are willing to lend an ear. When students approach you about their various issues of concern, use active listening. Actually, listen to the individual’s problem, take the time to process it, and try to come up with a reasonable and practical solution.

Even students can tell when someone is not paying attention to them. Remember the individual was probably nervous about approaching you in the first place; you need to demonstrate you do care and are willing to help. Offer to help resolve peer conflicts if you notice two or more students are not getting along; thus creating a harmonious and goal-driven learning environment.

8. Demonstrate mutual trust and respect.

Remember you were once a student too. Think of the teachers that made you feel valued; utilize their approaches and model their positive behavior. Don’t forget the teachers you were not fond of or made you feel insignificant; learn from their poor behavior or inadequate teaching skills, and treat your students the opposite way. By showing students you care, trust and respect them, and you will receive the same sentiments in return.

Treat students as unique individuals, who are not beneath you, but who deserve your utmost support and encouragement to be able to flourish and succeed. When people feel trusted and respected, they feel good about themselves and develop a greater sense of self-confidence and willingness to progress. Use your gifts and past experiences to shape students into well-rounded and respectable human beings.

9. Provide praise and positive encouragement.

Nothing makes a person feel better about herself than hearing words of encouragement. Praise and positive reinforcement can come in many ways: an outright written or verbal “good job!”, an A+ on an assignment, work being displayed on the wall of achievement, a note of congratulations sent home to parents, a “student of the week” award, and many others. Positive encouragement does not mean skipping over areas that need improvement.

If a student is underachieving, constructively let him or her know that there are skills or topics that could use some work, but add he or she is performing very well in other specific areas. Honest feedback will help keep students at the top of their game while shooting to improve and progress. As well, this is a great tool to boost children’s self-confidence and self-esteem, keeping their levels of motivation high.

10. Greet students when they walk into the classroom. 

Greeting students is a simple gesture; however, it can mean the world to the recipient and brighten their day. Give each student a smile and say “good morning” to the group when the class has begun. Say “hi” to students in the hallway as well. Just because your class has ended doesn’t mean common courtesy has to.

When you see your students outside of school, take the time to stop and ask how their day or weekend is going. Make small talk with parents as well. At the end of spring, summer, or winter break, ask students to share their experiences with you and the rest of the class. Being social will make students feel good and shows them you care about them, both as a student and as a human being.