Relationships are an essential part of education. Students who feel like they are liked and respected by their teachers are often more invested in their educational experience and perform better. A student-centered learning environment fosters opportunities for teachers to get to know their students well.
What is a student-centered classroom?
Traditional learning environments ask teachers to deliver content in a "one-size fits all" manner and students are expected to tailor their learning to the teaching method. A student-centered classroom flips the traditional model on its head: teachers are asked to modify their teaching strategy to the needs of individual students. Because of this, student-centered learning environments are often smaller (fifteen students or less) and delve into content in an experiential manner that allows students to explore unique angles and points of view.
How do teachers build relationships with students?
Since teachers are required to tailor their instruction methods to students' needs, they have to learn about what each student needs to be successful. In a student-centered learning environment, teachers engage with students one-on-one often, to learn about their strengths and areas of challenge. Teachers and students also work together to come up with learning goals for the semester. Including the student in the process builds trust. It also helps the student to have ownership in the student-teacher relationship, and in their educational experience. Students and teachers are more like partners in the learning environment, which is an excellent foundation for a positive relationship.
Why do positive student-teacher relationships foster student engagement?
All of us feel a little more capable when people believe in us. When students feel that their teachers know them well and have their best interests in mind, they are likely to be more engaged in their learning. Teachers are also able to tailor instruction so that all students are mastering content, even if they are learning in different ways or at different paces. The success of each student is the goal, and students and teachers are walking the same path to get there.
Relationships are essential for student success, and the student-centered learning environment found in a micro school provides opportunities for students and teachers to develop strong partnerships. When students and teachers are on the same page, the classroom can be a transformative place.