Are you familiar with the quote relationships first, everything else next? Or what about Maslow over Bloom? Both of these quotes became popular after a shift in education in the early 2010s. Educators began having important conversations about how effective teachers had positive relationships with their students.
Research suggests that before a student can learn, they should have their basic needs met (food, water, air and heat, cleanliness) and feel safe physically and emotionally. Your administration and district should provide you with instruction for keeping your students physically safe, so today, we are going to highlight how to keep your students emotionally safe.
We do that first by building positive relationships with students. But how?
Here are five ways you can build positive relationships with your students.
1. Inquire and express interest
Get to know your students’ likes and dislikes by becoming genuinely interested in them. You can do this by asking them questions and sincerely listening. Look them in the eye and smile while they respond. Talk to them in terms of their interests. By doing so, you’ll help them to feel important.
Want to try a FREE survey that’ll tell you more about your students as readers? Click here to download this pdf and Google Slides.
2. Say their name
A child’s name is the sweetest, most important sound they’ve ever heard. Say it. Greet them by name each morning. Repeat it throughout the day. Have their name written throughout the classroom so everyone can see them. This can be on a student display, their desk, a word wall, cubby, etc. If you use a number system, include their name next to or near their number.
3. Use positive body language
Be at ease with your students. Smile, and smile often. Look them in the eyes when they’re talking. If they’re an ELL, this may be a little uncomfortable depending on their culture. Be sure you’re explicit with them in telling them that by looking them in their eye, you’re showing that you’re listening. Ask if it’s okay. When speaking privately to a student, bend down and speak to them on their level.
4. Give encouragement to your students
First and foremost, give your students the support they need. Treat your students fairly and foster an atmosphere of respect for others. Teach acceptance of differences through literature and by being a good role model for students. In addition to modeling, use your words to encourage your students. Consider your growth mindset and how you can improve it to speak to your students.
5. Praise, honor, build up
Acknowledge the positive behavior of your students. Focus on actions that are good versus the actions that need correcting. When a student needs to be corrected, honor the consequences and remind them that you believe they can do the right thing. Build them up by pointing out the positives and encourage them to make better choices.
What are your favorite ways to build positive relationships with your students? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t forget; you can try this reading survey and interest inventory for absolutely no cost. It’s such a great way to get to know your students and track how their attitudes towards reading change throughout the year. Click here to get your free reading survey and interest inventory!