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Volume 12 | Issue 2 | September 22, 2016
Relationships don't just fuel student learning, writes Rick Wormeli, they also invigorate teaching. "We are more willing to invest in students when we feel connected to them," he notes, and that mutuality helps carry teachers during the hard work ahead of them. This issue offers tips for strengthening classroom bonds through structured discussions, writing tasks, parent engagement, and restorative interventions.
One teacher starts the school year with a writing assignment that asks students to describe their "hands-down" favorite teacher. Through journaling and discussion, the class shares the qualities of successful teachers and students, and then references those throughout the year to bust schooling constructs and build trust.
Families may hesitate to reach out to the school, especially if instructional or learning objectives are hard to grasp. One principal removes barriers to school participation by inviting parents and guardians to observational classroom visits, or learning walks. These walks are like a scavenger hunt where family members are equipped with a menu of teaching practices to look for in the classroom.
A disengaged student finds a path to participation and a connection to school through small opportunities to serve.
Paul Hernandez and Karla Loebick
Real Talk discussions create a window to personal connections with students, built around universal themes that are central to a unit of study. Use this eight-step process to strategically open up your classroom dialogue with shared experiences.
Janet Fox Petersen
Restorative discipline practices help educators separate the deed from the doer, and place the focus on constructively healing and repairing damaged relationships, not handing out punishments.
If students benefit most from teachers who care about the subject and their students, why not also consider the benefits when students care about the subject and their teacher? One teacher offers ideas for giving students a reflective frame to see themselves as members of a learning community.
Axioms about care in the classroom can seem corny. After years of a hard-nosed approach to content first and relationships second, however, one teacher realizes it's time to reverse the order.
Copyright © 2016 by ASCD
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