Needs Focused Teaching

Stepping Stones to Positive Relationships (Part 2)

Hi everybody,

Once again, thanks for all your comments. Clearly this is a very popular subject so let’s get started…

First things first:

If you go to our main site, you can download the desktop reminder. (It’s called ‘Stepping Stones to Positive Relationships’) You can get it here:

We’ll work through the various Stepping Stones throughout the next few posts on the blog. The idea is to use the sheet to record (as concisely as possible) the main points you want to remember. If you’re anything like me (and most of the population), you probably find it easy to forget information that you read or hear. Even if you take lots of notes, everything you take in just seems to ‘go’ within a few days.

I’ve used sheets like this during lessons and also on some of my courses. The fact that it is a ‘map’ of the information being covered seems to aid recall. You’ll notice there’s not much room for writing long notes – it really is just for key points.

So there you have it.  A rather long-winded way of saying ‘Here’s a sheet to use for taking notes.” 🙂

The first Stepping Stone poses the question ‘why bother?’ This is an important question. As a teacher your time is precious and you may well feel that it is the students themselves who should be making more of an effort. Why should you be the one who has to do all this extra work? What’s the point?

The reason I’m asking this question is because if you can’t answer it, there’s no point in bothering reading any of the strategies that will follow. Jim Rohn once said “If you have enough reasons ‘why’, you can do some incredible things.” The more reasons we have for doing something, the more likely we are to take action.

I’ll tell you a very quick story which might stimulate your ‘why bother?’ gland…

A friend of mine is a teacher at a large comprehensive. He was passing by a colleague’s room and it was clear she was struggling with a group of year ten students. They were out of control, screaming, yelling, cheering and running round the room.

My friend  went in to help at the request of his colleague and he began speaking to some of the students quietly. Within two minutes the class was settled. Fast forward to the end of the school day and my friend was quizzed by his colleague on his way out of school. “How on earth do you do that with those kids?” she asked. “They won’t do anything I say and yet they settle straight away for you. What’s the secret?”

“There is no secret.” He answered. “It’s quite simple. I KNOW these kids. I spend break time with them, my door is open and they come in to chat. I spend lunch time with them, often I eat with them. I watch them play football at the weekend and for a while I ran an after-school club. I speak to their parents often to update them on their progress. When I was their form teacher we frequently went on trips together.”

One of the most obvious advantages of establishing positive relationships with your most challenging students is that your life as a teacher becomes easier and more enjoyable. You actually gain time because problems are easier to sort out. But there are other advantages – in terms of your career prospects, your health, your family relationships and of course, the students’ wellbeing, happiness and success.

Before I start on the Best Relationship Builders (Stepping Stone 2) please take a minute to think of some compelling ansers to the question ‘why bother?’ and put a few words on your tracking sheet to remind you. Yes, I know all this looks like it’s going to take a lot of time and effort (we’ll deal with all that later) but for now, just focus on the huge benefits to be had from having your students like, trust and respect you

Dawn Brosius says 27th January 2013

1/27/2013  Can I still access the form “Stepping Stones to Positive Relationships?

A Relief Teacher's Journey - The Importance of Active Listening says 17th September 2011

[…] more information and advice on developing teacher-student relationships, I highly recommend the “Stepping Stones to Positive Relationships” series on the Behaviour Needs […]

maryam says 15th May 2010

thanks a lot for your informative posts and i write to tell you i really need it

marion golany says 12th May 2010

Thank you!
It is uplifting to see that there still are people who believe (like me) that a student is first of all a person…

samina says 12th May 2010

Hi, you know Rob I have the same problem with my teachers that whenever I demonstrate a lesson in any roudy class which has a label on them as “roudy’ children, the class behaves wonerfully in my presence and the teachers say that its you that they behaved nicely.
My point is, that if I can controle them ,why can’t they?

    Rob Plevin says 12th May 2010

    Hi Samina,

    I’m going to throw this back to you… “Why do you think some of your teachers are unable to control the students?”

    We know that there are lots of potential factors but relationships are definitely going to play a huge role. As we work through the Stepping Stones there will be strategies that you can pass on to your staff. Ultimately, I have to say that ‘attitudes’ are a key component – we’ll becovering this issue when we get to the ‘warning’ triangle. 🙂

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