The first brief in the Fostering Strong Relationships series focuses on ways that teachers can develop and sustain strong relationships with their students, based on the theoretical underpinnings of the importance of this component, the perspectives of educators and students in the schools we visited, and evidence-based best practices.
Fostering positive teacher-student relationships helps create environments conducive to optimal learning experiences and social-emotional wellbeing. From visiting schools, we heard in students’ and teachers’ own words about how teachers taking the time to check-in with students, using positive approaches that demonstrate kindness and patience, and incorporating fun in the classroom can help students feel more connected and valued by their teachers. While building these kinds of relationships takes time, by incorporating small, intentional practices into the day, teachers can find ways to strengthen their relationships and have a positive and long-lasting impact on the whole child. In this brief, we offer strategies to implement in the classroom to build and sustain strong relationships with students, that can be integrated seamlessly into daily activities with little additional time required.