Your pupils, like everyone else, enjoy feeling valued and cared for by the significant people in their lives. Teachers play a pivotal role in the life of young people and understanding how to make the most of this relationship is an integral part of helping your pupils to reach their full potential. When your students feel that you value them as individuals and their contributions, they are more likely to work hard in your class.
Children and teenagers deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect that we expect to be given as adults. We’re much more likely to go the extra mile for the boss who praises us when we do a good job; who gives us slack during personal emergencies and takes an interest in our lives, and your pupils are the same.
There are various small tips and tricks you can employ as a teacher to develop a strong, positive relationship with your pupils, maintain an ordered classroom and see attainment improvements.
Let your pupils know you have positive expectations of them
Some studies suggest that the expectations teachers have of their pupils will have a direct impact om their behavioural performance. It is e essential to let all your pupils (not just your high achievers) know that you have positive expectations of their behaviour and academic work, but how can you do this?
Give all your pupils the opportunity to participate in class
When calling on your pupils to participate in class, such as answering your questions, you may find there are a small number of pupils you rely on to answer, leaving fewer opportunities for others. By (unintentionally) leaving some pupils out, it can send them the message that you aren’t confident in their abilities.
You may find a correlation between your students’ academic achievement and the confidence you instil in them by expecting a higher result. . You’ll also find that by ensuring you ask all pupils questions on a regular basis, you will keep them on task, helping to reduce the number of behaviour problems in the classroom.
Give pupils more time to answer a question
Giving students more time to answer a question is another tool for communicating that you have positive expectations for a pupil. A study in 1980 by Kerman et al. found that the amount of time teachers give to a pupil for answering a question corresponds directly with the expectation of their ability, with more time being afforded to the pupils of whom teachers have positive expectations.
By not giving pupils sufficient time to answer a question, they’ll quickly learn the best way to get out of answering is to offer a confused facial expression or an answer of “I don’t know”.
By giving low performing pupils a longer period of time to answer a question, you may see them begin to minimise behavioural issues, pay more attention to your lessons and actively participate in class.
Tell your pupils they have the ability to succeed
One of the most obvious ways to communicate positively with your pupils is to directly tell them that you believe they can succeed. You’ll be imparting an extremely important message to them when you tell a pupil that you believe they can improve their behaviour or handle a difficult piece of work. Many pupils, upon hearing this, will work hard and behave well to reward your faith in them.
Every child needs to know that at least one significant adult in their life believes in them and their abilities. Whilst it would be ideal if every child had their parents to do this as well, you need to be aware that this isn’t always the case. This means you may have the rare opportunity of being the significant adult to inspire a child’s life.
Referring to a pupil’s past success is another way to let them know you have positive expectations of them. By communicating with a pupil that you believe they’ll behave well because they did so yesterday, you’ll be increasing their confidence. Once your pupil has achieved their behavioural or academic goal, praising them and telling them you knew they could achieve their goal will instil yet more confidence.
Develop positive pride in the class
As long as you use it correctly, developing a class’ pride is a powerful way to nurture a positive teacher-pupil relationship. Through following the techniques above, you’re already on the way to developing a very positive and constructive pride, encouraging pupils to work their hardest for good results. There are various ways you can help to develop this positive classroom pride, including:
- Displaying pupils’ work in the classroom and around the school: Displaying your pupils’ work shows them that you’re proud of their work. The work you display doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can massively increase the self-esteem of low-achieving pupils by ensuring their work is also displayed.
- Verbally praise your pupils on a regular basis: Let your pupils know when you’re pleased with their efforts, and always tell them you’re not surprised when they understand difficult concepts. Remember that praising improvement is just as important as praising excellence.
By using these different strategies together to communicate your positive expectations of every pupil in your class, you’ll see wonders appear and your teacher-pupil relationships will flourish. It can be difficult to see when you’re favouring some pupils over others; however, making yourself aware of this is the first step to ensuring all students receive the same encouragement. Not only will your pupils develop increasing levels of respect towards you, their confidence will increase, you’ll experience less disruptive behaviour and see academic achievement from the entire class.
Despite this, it’s important to remember that a positive teacher-pupil relationship is only the foundation of a successful classroom. To ensure you have an effective level of classroom discipline and engagement, you need to clearly define what you expect from your class in terms of their behaviour and participation. Additionally, you should constantly be monitoring their behaviour and participation and implement the appropriate consequences when it’s necessary.
Teaching is a highly rewarding career path. World Class Teachers, are one of London’s best supply teaching agencies and the preferred agency for many schools, helping teachers in the UK, Canada, New Zealand Australia and elsewhere make the most of their careers.
Whether you’re a nursery, primary school, secondary school or special needs teacher looking at working within Greater London, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your CV today, contact us online or call +44 (0)208 579 4501 to embark on the next stage of your career today.