Prioritising relationships in teaching is not a diversion from academic goals but a strategic approach to achieving them.
By intentionally investing time and effort in building connections with our students, we lay the groundwork for a more effective and fulfilling learning experience for both them and us, and can transform their life chances in the process.
Teaching is more than just delivering content and facilitating learning; it's about building connections with students that go beyond the boundaries of textbooks and classrooms.
When we are asked to summarise what trauma-informed practice is, we'd say prioritising empathic relationships.
In this blog, we will explore why prioritising relationships is crucial to creating great outcomes for our young people and how it amplifies the effectiveness of all our other pedagogies.
The Foundation of Effective Teaching:
In the journey of education, it's easy to get caught up in curriculum planning, preparing for Ofsted, worrying about exam results, assessments, and achieving academic milestones. However, it's essential to recognise that the foundation of effective teaching lies in the relationships we build with our students.
When young people feel seen, heard, and valued, they become much more receptive to the guidance we offer and we can have a greater impact.
 Emotional Support:
As educators, we play a significant role in the emotional wellbeing of our students. Prioritising relationships means being attuned to the emotional needs of our learners.
When students face challenges, knowing they have a supportive teacher can make a world of difference. This emotional support creates a safe space for students to navigate the ups and downs of their academic and personal lives.
 Creating a Positive Learning Environment:
Prioritising relationships contributes to the creation of a positive and inclusive learning environment. Students are more likely to actively engage in the learning process when they feel a sense of belonging and connection with their teacher.
This positive atmosphere promotes collaboration, curiosity, and a genuine interest in learning.
 Enhanced Communication:
Building strong relationships with students fosters open and honest communication. When students know that we genuinely care about them, they are more likely to express their thoughts, concerns, and questions.
This communication is a two-way street, allowing us to better understand our students' needs and starting points so we can tailor our teaching approach accordingly.
 Increased Motivation and Participation:
Students who feel a personal connection with us are often more motivated to participate actively in class.
The knowledge that we care about them as individuals serves as a powerful motivator, driving students to put forth their best effort and take ownership of their learning journey.
 Building Trust:
Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, including the teacher-student dynamic. When students trust us, they are more likely to accept guidance and constructive feedback.
This trust empowers us to challenge students intellectually and helps create a classroom culture where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for growth.
 Transforming Life Chances
Finally and most importantly, when we create fantastic relationships with our young people, we provide those that have suffered adverse childhood experiences with the protective factors that reduce the chances of them from experiencing an early death.
In the realm of education, the adage holds true: "People care about what you know once they know that you care about them." When we intentionally created and prioritised relationships in our own classrooms, wellbeing, engagement, behaviour, attendance, and progress outcomes improved significantly within a term.
As educators, let's embrace the transformative power of caring relationships and watch as our students flourish not just academically, but also as individuals on their unique paths of growth and discovery.
Do you want to know more?
Here at Future Action, we advocate for a trauma informed approach in our schools, so that teachers can transform relationships. The good news is that as teachers we can intentionally create fantastic relationships through our visuals and vocals. That not only benefits our young people but also benefits our own wellbeing.
Trauma Informed PE
If you would like to know more about ‘Trauma Informed PE’ and how you can implement this approach in your teaching, then we have created an online teacher training course based on our Recover Roadmap.
Your Enhancing Engagement Scorecard:
We have created an enhancing engagement scorecard to help you take the first step in implementing ‘Trauma Informed PE’. Click here to try our 2 minute scorecard.
Come Join Us at the YST National Conference 2024
Our founder, Neil Moggan, Kate Reynolds, Jon White and David Saul will be presenting the "Beyond the Buzz: The power of a 'trauma-Informed approach' in improving behaviour and attendance" session. We would love you to join us. More information on the conference can be found here.
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