I’ve really been enjoying the different materials we’ve been reading and viewing in this Future of Education class. I am in line with the thinking of many educational perspectives we’ve encountered thus far. Particularly, I concur with Don Tapscott’s view that the model pedagogy needs to be fixed (Tapscott, 2011). There should be less lecture, more team-projects, more small group discussions, and more use of technology. (Tapscott, 2011). I also like what the NMC Horizon Report has to say about rethinking the roles of teachers. As opposed to orators and dictators, teachers need to be more like mentors and facilitators (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada & Freeman, 2015).
Again, I comply with their mindsets. Nevertheless, is fixing the pedagogy model, implementing technology, and advising instructors to facilitate more enough to yield higher rates of student success?
I think not. I believe that the student-teacher relationship plays an invaluable role in the success of a student as well. Teachers must show some care if they want for their students to be successful. Too often I hear of teachers that are nonchalant or callous about their relationship with their students. It really makes me embarrassed and hurt as an instructor when I hear of teachers being discouraging, unhelpful, and uncaring about their students. I am ashamed to say that I, too, once carried the “If they don’t learn, then oh well” and “If they don’t get it, it’s their fault not mine” type of mentality. I have since evolved to see that my relationship with my students is just as valuable as my pedagogical practices.
A recent study was conducted in which a researcher examined the importance and impact of the student-teacher relationship in a community of fifth graders in two schools of similar size, different socioeconomic backgrounds, mobility, and overall achievement. At the poorer school, the results yielded there was a significant correlation between growth in reading and student’s perceptions of whether their teachers listened to them (Knoell, 2012). At the more affluent school, there was a significant correlation between the growth in reading and whether the students felt respected and treated fairly by their instructors (Knoell, 2012). Additionally, there was a strong correlation between the growth in math achievement and whether the students believed their teachers perceived their teachers listened, helped, and conveyed they were doing a good job in class (Knoell, 2012). It is clear from this study the care and supportiveness of the instructors resulted in higher student achievement.
Some tips of how to create a more nurturing environment are for teachers to engage in frequent social conversations with students, be available to students who are having a hard time, display some regard for students’ perspectives and ideas, and use behavior management strategies that clearly communicate expectations and caring (Hamre & Pianta, n.d.).
It may be hard for some teachers to accept the ideology that being nurturing can lead to student achievement. Some may feel that being too nice will make them doormats and less of an authority figure. I don’t find this to be true. One can still be kind but firm and supportive. Its the difference between being authoritative and being an authoritarian. Students don’t want a teacher that bosses them around all of the time, is callous, stubborn, and unwilling to listen to them. Students consider the personal aspects of teaching to be important (Weimer, 2013). They want teachers who welcome their questions, acknowledge their input, and are available to them (Weimer, 2013). For students, caring is more important to them that it is to their teachers (Weimer, 2013).
Once upon a time, I was that teacher that believed that if the student did not succeed, it was not my fault because I took myself to be an effective instructor. Eventually, I came to a crossroads of whether I wanted to take the path of being just a good teacher or a great teacher.
I want to be great.
I realized some time ago that in order to achieve my goal of being a formidable instructor, I had to understand that caring for a student was just as important as effective teaching practices.
Hamre, B. K., & Pianta R.C. (n.d.). Student-Teacher Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.pearweb.org/conferences/sixth/pdfs/NAS-CBIII-05-1001-005-hamre%20&%20Pianta%20proof.pdf
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Knoell, C.M. (2012, May). The role of student-teacher relationship in the lives of fifth graders: A mixed method analysis. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1137&context=cehsdiss
Tapscott, D. (2011). Don Tapscott: Education 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U63Q2Q8frXc
Weimer, M. (2013). Students place a premium on faculty who show they care. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/students-place-a-premium-on-faculty-who-show-they-care