Building Positive Teacher-Student Relationship through Constructive Communication

Building positive teacher-student relationship is a critical component of student success. Students that are connected to school seem to perform better in school than those who are not. In this article, some constructive ways of communication are suggested to help teachers strengthen the relationship and build a good rapport with them.

Importance of Positive Teacher-Student Relationship 

The relationship between teacher and student has immeasurable influence on the learning process of the students. Studies showed that students are more likely to feel positive about school in general when they are well connected with teachers. They are also more willing to pay effort, to risk making mistakes, and to seek help when they need it. This explains why researches  show positive teacher-student relationship has a positive impact on students' academic results. Some other benefits brought by positive teacher-student relationship are as follows: 

 Having positive relationships could help teachers and students: 

  • Promote a sense of school belonging;
  • Encourage students to participate co-operatively in class;
  • Reduce anxiety and depression;
  • Increase the happiness of life; and
  • Establish external resources and get support from others to improve resilience.

Creating a Friendly Learning Atmosphere

There are many different strategies for building a positive relationship with students but some simple gestures and words also work well. When we say “Hi” to our students face- to-face in class or in the corridor, the exchange of eye contact could help build the personal connection with them. A daily question like "How's your lunch?" could open a dialogue with students in a casual way, which helps to create good mood and mutual trust. Additionally, in a connected classroom, students may expect their teachers to be friendly and open-minded. By creating a friendly classroom that fosters a sense of belonging in class, some researchers found that students are more motivated to learn and willing to share their ideas (Myers & Claus, 2012).

 Active Constructive Communication 

After starting a dialogue, active constructive communication skills could be adopted to strengthen positive teacher-student relationship. Teachers could convey their genuine interest to students by giving constructive response which is often followed by asking for more details.

Let's say your student, Alan brings you a brilliant prototype he made and shares with you. The response of “Have you checked with the rubrics?” or “I wish you could make one for me” might not be the most effective way in creating a trust, self-esteem and positive relationship as much as if you said, “Gorgeous! Tell me how you did it? How long it took you? I hope you get a good grade with it!” Sharing good things like this is an example of active constructive communication, in which the response expresses involvement and enthusiasm about the student's life.  

Here are some ideas for you to start your active constructive communication:  

  •  ask open-ended questions;
  •  share positive experience;
  •  response enthusiastically; or
  •  try to raise your eyebrows, nod your head and smile.

                                                                                                           (Jones & Bodie, 2014, Seligman, 2012) 

Out-of-Class Communication (OCC) 

While teachers and students are complaining the insufficient contact hours in class, out-of-class communication (OCC) may fill the gap. OCC describes the communication between teachers and students which extends beyond the classroom's time and space. It makes teacher-student relationship more personal and contribute to student learning. It is particularly effective for continued academic exchange and mentoring. Activities such as Chinese Culture Activities and Exchange Tours provide good opportunities for face-to-face OCC. With the rise of communication apps and electronic devices, teachers may use Instant Messenger (IM) and alike for constructive communication.

Communicating constructively is not always easy. We all need to sharpen our communication skills, so that our relationships are enjoyable and fruitful. Nonetheless, trust that your effort in creating the rapport would be paid off by seeing the students with better self-confidence and motivation to learn, which influence their professional development towards their career pathway.

References:

Elhay, A. A., & Hershkovitz, A. (2019). Teachers' perceptions of out-of-class communication, teacher-student relationship, and classroom environment. Journal of Education and Information Technologies, 24(1), 385-406. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10639-018-9782-7 

Jones, S. M., & Bodie, G. D. (2014). Supportive communication. In C. R. Berger (Ed.), Interpersonal communication 6, 371– 394. Retrieved from : https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susanne_Jones3/publication/301223326_Supportive_Communication/links/570d922208aec783ddce2217/Supportive-Communication.pdf 

Myers, S. A., & Claus, C. J. (2012). The Relationship between Students' Motives to Communicate with Their Instructors and Classroom Environment. Communication Quarterly, 60(3), 386-402. 

Seligman, M. E. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Free Press.

Tocino-Smith, J. (2018). What is Active Constructive Responding? Positive Psychology Program. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/active-constructive-communication/ 



通過建設性溝通建立良好的師生關係

建立良好的師生關係是學生成功的關鍵之一。積極投入校園生活的學生,其表現相比投入程度較低的學生似乎更優秀。有見及此,本文將為大家介紹一些與學生建立積極溝通的方法,以助老師與學生加強關係,建立互信。

建立良好師生關係的重要性 

師生關係對學生的學習過程有著不可估量的影響。研究發現,當學生與老師關係密切,學生對學校的觀感會較正面。同時,他們也更願意付出努力,勇於嘗試,並在需要時更積極地尋求幫助。這正正解釋了為什麼良好的師生關係能夠對學生的學業成績帶來正面的影響。 以下是良好師生關係所帶來的其他好處:

 良好的師生關係可以幫助老師和學生:             

  • 促進對學校的歸屬感; 
  • 鼓勵學生合作地參與課堂活動;
  • 減少焦慮和抑鬱;
  • 增加生活的幸福感;及
  • 建立人際網絡,以獲得其他人的支持來增強抵抗逆境的能力。


建立友好的學習氣氛

有許多不同的方法都可以建立良好的師生關係,就像一些簡單的手勢和說話。當我們在課堂或走廊遇到學生,迎面跟他們說聲「你好!」時,眼神接觸有助我們與學生建立人與人之間的聯繫。像「你的午餐怎麼樣?」這類日常問候都能隨意地與學生打開話匣子,有助建立愉快的心情和互信的氣氛。此外,在一個氣氛積極的教室中,學生會期望他們的老師是友好和開明的。一些研究人員發現,通過建立積極友善的課堂氣氛來培養學生對課堂的歸屬感,學生感到學習更有動力,並更願意在課堂上分享他們的想法(Myers& Claus,2012)。


積極的建設性溝通

師生開始對話之後,就可以採取積極的建設性溝通技巧,從而加強良好的師生關係。老師可以透過建設性的回應,例如發問有關詳情來表達對學生的關心和興趣。

舉例說,你的學生艾倫帶了他製作的模型來給你看。假如你的回應是「你仔細地查閱過評核準則了嗎?」或「如果你能為我做多一件就好了。」,這類的回應可能不及以下的回應般能有效地建立信任、自信和良好關係:「是啊!真漂亮!告訴我是怎麼做到的?你做了多久呢?真希望你能取得好成績!」這類分享愉快經驗的對話是積極的建設性溝通的例子,好讓學生對學校生活更投入和嚮往。

以下是一些關於開展積極的建設性溝通的提議: 

  • 提出開放式問題; 
  • 分享愉快的經驗;
  • 積極回應;或
  • 嘗試戚起眉頭、點頭和微笑。

                                                                         (Jones & Bodie, 2014, Seligman, 2012)


教室以外的溝通

對於一些老師和學生來說,常規上課時間或許不足,教室以外的溝通(OCC)便可以解決這個問題。教室以外的溝通意味着老師和學生之間的溝通時間和空間不再限制在課堂之內。這些溝通使師生關係更加個人化及有助學生學習,尤其是對學生的持續學習和指導就更湊效。例如中國文化活動和交流團等活動都提供了良好的教室以外,面對面的溝通機會。還有,隨著通訊應用程式和電子設備的迅速興起,教師可以使用即時通訊(IM)等應用程式與學生在教室以外進行建設性的溝通。

與學生進行建設性的溝通有時是不容易的。因此我們需要提升溝通技巧來建立愉快、有效的師生關係。 儘管如此,我相信大家的努力很快就會見到成效─透過建設性的溝通讓學生更具自信和學習動機,從而發展出他們的職業專才道路。


參考文獻:

Elhay, A. A., & Hershkovitz, A. (2019). Teachers' perceptions of out-of-class communication, teacher-student relationship, and classroom environment. Journal of Education and Information Technologies, 24(1), 385-406. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10639-018-9782-7 

Jones, S. M., & Bodie, G. D. (2014). Supportive communication. In C. R. Berger (Ed.), Interpersonal communication 6, 371– 394. Retrieved from : https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susanne_Jones3/publication/301223326_Supportive_Communication/links/570d922208aec783ddce2217/Supportive-Communication.pdf 

Myers, S. A., & Claus, C. J. (2012). The Relationship between Students' Motives to Communicate with Their Instructors and Classroom Environment. Communication Quarterly, 60(3), 386-402. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/01463373.2012.688672. 

Seligman, M. E. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Free Press.

Tocino-Smith, J. (2018). What is Active Constructive Responding? Positive Psychology Program. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/active-constructive-communication/