There is one thing that too often gets left behind in all the post it notes stuck on the door of educational reform: Teacher – student relationships.    Not enough do we hear the message that what education really is about is what invisibly transpires miraculously when a teacher and student connect, really connect.

All of us have had a teacher who really made a difference with us.  Rita Pierson in this piercing (pun intended) talk really explains this well. Her talk is sterling, a must watch. I’m glad someone else is pounding the pulpit on this important facet/core of teaching – here’s what I’ve written previously. Teaching is an art, the art of relationships. (this article so finely describes this)

I took away a few more messages from her talk beyond that of relationships.

1.  The most important factor affecting student achievement is what a teacher deeply, truly believes a student is capable of.  Here’s the research about this. 

2.  The relationship a teacher has with students is about trust. And trust takes time. Too often it never happens because teachers are pushed to wade through knowledge without regard to it ever really being learned, understood, synthesized, digested by the students. Here’s my view on this. 

3. Lastly, the thought that maybe technology will free up teachers from being disciplinarians and will allow them time to truly become conductors of the human spirit. With technology driving self directed student learning, teachers will have time to think of how to connect with students and form the important relationships with students, the relationships and mentoring that is truly needed.  Technology won’t take over a teachers job, it will allow teachers to do more of the job they were born to do. 

Here’s Rita’s amazing talk. Sit back and enjoy! Hat tip to Larry Ferlazzo for putting me onto this great talk!


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