Needs Focused Teaching

Stepping Stones to Positive Relationships (Part 4)

Ok, here are a few more:

5. Continuing with our ‘written word’ theme…

… go a step further than saying ‘Happy Birthday’ – make them feel special –  send a card (posting it home gets bonus points)

…go a step further than marking them absent on the register – send a card.

…when they do something right/good, saying thank you shows you’ve noticed and it shows you’re grateful. Giving them a card in an envelope says much more.

6. Show trust in them.

People often ask me on courses “how can I get respect from these kids?” or “how can I get them to trust me?” We tend to ‘get back’ whatever we ‘give out’, so if we want trust we can start by giving it. Here are three ways to give trust (and get it back) 🙂

…give them a responsibility.

Often the children who cause us the most problems are those with leadership potential. Or they may just be crying out for attention. Either way, giving them a responsibility shows we trust them and it

builds bonds. Give them equipment to look after, delegate admin tasks to them, put them in charge of noise levels in the classroom etc.

(Oh, in case you’re wondering, the cartoon is a picture of some ‘Shusshers’. These loyal and helpful souls are hand-picked on our live courses because they are highly skilled at ‘shusshing’ the rest of the participants when they make too much noise. I think the ‘Shusshers’ quite like it, everyone else thinks it’s quite amusing and the trainer gets to save his/her voice for another day. Everyone’s a winner with responsibilities. 🙂

…lend them something of value.

How many times does your most challenging student forget to bring a pen to the lesson? Instead of handing them a chewed old Bic pen from the ‘pen graveyard’ why not use this as an opportunity to build the teacher/student relationship. Lending them a tatty, chewed, broken cheap pen says ‘I don’t think very much of you’ but taking them to one side and saying “this pen was a gift from my son. I’m going to trust you with it because I want you to learn how to look after things and I want you to write well today” gives an entirely different message.

(I should point out that I’m fully aware students should bring pens to lessons and that lending a pen to them may encourage them to forget one next time – it’s just a suggestion. 🙂

…share your life.

I’m sure some students really believe that teachers  live in the store cupboard with the text books and don’t have  lives outside school. All the more reason to let them into your life and let them see who you really are. Opening yourself up to students like this can be daunting but it is during the times when we reveal more about ourselves – our emotions, thoughts & beliefs – that relationships truly start to develop. Think about it – you can’t build trusting relationships if all you talk about is curriculum and school life.

Group sessions which encourage discussion about personal hobbies/interests, sharing of photographs and stories about life outside school are a non-threatening way to bring a class together and let the students get to know you better. (More about this later – it’s crucial). Just be careful which pictures you choose to share. 🙂

Joe says 23rd June 2010

This all ties in with the philosophy of SEAL does it not. How many schools really practice SEAL unconsciously?

denise weekes says 5th June 2010

I am very sorry to learn about Rob’s misfortune.
I wish him a speedy recovery.

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