Positive Relationships

The single factor common to successful change is that relationships improve. If relationships improve, schools get better.

–Michael Fullen


“In our school improvement, changing the relationships between adults and students was at least as important as all the changes we made in teaching, curriculum, and assessment.”

–Deborah Meier, Principal

Central Park East Secondary School

When schools focus on what really matters in life, the cognitive ends we now pursue so painfully and artificially will be achieved more naturally.”

–Nel Noddings

Caring, Ethics & Moral Education

Being technically sound in the use of expectations, teaching, supervision, and feedback is essential to school-wide discipline, but to be effective, they must be combined with strong relationships. Students prefer teachers who have high standards for behavior and learning yet demonstrate care, concern, and availability to help them achieve those standards. The quality of teacher-student relationships has great influence on the amount of productive or disruptive behavior of students. Studies have shown that students who felt liked by their teachers had more productive classroom behavior than did students whose teachers held them in lower regard. Improving interpersonal relationships has positive affects on students’ attendance, participation, achievement, compliance, and self-concept. Students whose interpersonal needs are met are more productively involved in the learning process, have greater feelings of safety, belongingness, respect for others, and self-esteem, all leading to improved behavior.  Do we have positive adult-student relationships?

Sample Indicators:

  1. Our staff model the same social behavior and positive attitudes expected of students.

  2. Our staff interact frequently and positively with students, their peers, and parents.

  3. In our school, staff and students smile and greet each other.

  4. Our staff regularly use relation-ship building behaviors (smile, name, touch, eye contact, etc.) to convey interest and caring when interacting with students.

  5. Our staff support each other and work collaboratively toward developing respectful and responsible student behavior.