Now you may be wondering what brings me to this statement with regards teaching. Well the answer is a number of different posts I have recently read on Twitter. One particular post talked about students being encouraged to be champions.
But in order to encourage students to become such champions we must embrace them as individuals and seek to understand and encourage such individuality.
Another posting talked about how education was being reduced from an art to a science through increasing focus on achievement data and standardised testing. (Apologies for not including the link/reference however I appear to have misplaced it for now: Will hope to resolve and include the reference asap). This posting suggested to me a move towards processes and systems at the expensive of relationships and away from the fuzzy arts of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
Day in day out we walk into classes to work with our students, to learn with our students and importantly to interact with our students. I remember back to some female staff who worked with me who had particularly good results in terms of student achievement. When asked how they achieved this they explained that they “mothered” the students. Now what they meant by this as far as I was concerned is that they spent a significant amount of time focused on relationships; on understanding their students and allowing their students to understand them.
So when we look at improving outcomes we look at more differentiation, assessment for learning, target setting with D grade students and the like. We focus on processes. Maybe we should first examine the relationships as without proper relationships any process we implement are likely to fail.
@mrbadura summed it up perfectly on twitter as below:
And just as an additional thought the relationships don’t stop with the teacher and student. What are the relationships like between staff or between teacher and school leaders? What is the organisational climate of the school like? Also, what about the relationships between the staff and parents or other stakeholders?