Design Question 8 addresses teacher-student relationships: What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students? The quality of relationships that teachers have with their students is a keystone of effective classroom management—perhaps even a necessary condition for effective teaching. Problems with classroom management frequently occur with a breakdown in teacher-student relationships, when teachers establish a "we-they" stance with students. The Art and Science of Teaching asserts that for teachers to promote and sustain healthy and positive relationships with all their students, two types of behaviors are necessary: (1) communicating appropriate levels of concern and cooperation within the classroom as a true community of learning and (2) communicating appropriate levels of guidance and control to support the learning process. This module addresses the first of these two categories of behaviors—communicating appropriate levels of concern and cooperation. The next module (Module 21) addresses the second aspect of effective teacher-student relationships—communicating appropriate levels of guidance and control.
At the heart of communicating concern and cooperation is a teacher's commitment to helping students believe that they are valued as individuals. This is accomplished by ensuring that students perceive the teacher as being interested in them as individuals and devoted to developing a culture of cooperation and mutual respect.
Reflecting on Your Current Beliefs and Practices