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Relational Pedagogy  

Mary Jo Hinsdale and Ann-Louise Ljungblad

One could easily argue that the pedagogy of relation is not new: a genealogy of the approach would send us back to the ancient Greek philosophers. However, in recent years relational pedagogy has been taken up in novel and ever-deepening ways. It is a response to ongoing efforts at school reform that center on teacher and administrator accountability, based on a constraining view of education as the effective teaching of content. In this view, methods, curricula, and high-stakes testing overshadow the human relationship between teacher and student that relational pedagogy theorists place at the center of educational exchanges. When relationships are secondary to content, the result can be disinterested or alienated students and teachers who feel powerless to step outside the mandated curriculum of their school district. Contemporary relational theorists offer an alternative vision of pedagogy in a concerning era of teacher accountability. Internationally, teachers experience challenging educational environments that reflect troubled social histories across differences of socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity, gender, and ability status. Climate change, civil and economic instability, and war add global pressures that bring immigrant and refugee students into classrooms around the world. In the United States, histories of slavery, genocide, and indigenous removal continue to resound through all levels of education. Putting the teacher-student relationship at the heart of education offers a way to serve all students, allowing them to flourish in spite of the many challenges we face in the 21st century. Relational pedagogy is inspired by a range of philosophical writings: this article focuses on theorists whose work is informed by the concept of caring, as developed by Nel Noddings, with the critical perspective of Paulo Freire, or the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. Although these approaches to ethical educational relations do not necessarily mesh together easily, the tensions among them can bear fruit that informs our pedagogy. After outlining the theoretical contours of relational pedagogy, we will turn to more recent empirical work in the field. New studies help us understand how to turn theory into classroom practices that will benefit all students.

Article

Emotion and Teacher Education  

Alberto Bellocchi

Emotion research in teaching and education more generally is a well-developed field of inquiry, offering suggestions for initial teacher education course development and practical suggestions for improving the working lives of teachers and schoolchildren. In contrast, emotion research in teacher education is an emergent and expanding area of inquiry. Preservice teachers, or university teacher education students, have unique emotional demands given that their teacher identities may still be in formative stages and their school-based practicum may not present the full complement of emotional experiences that full-time teachers encounter daily and for extended periods of time. Some specific objectives of past research in teacher education include explorations of preservice teachers’ emotions; preparing preservice teachers for the emotional demands of the job; developing understandings about the interplay between teacher–student relationships or social bonds, emotions, and learning; and addressing the strong emotions associated with practicum for preservice teachers, school-based teacher educators, and university-based teacher educators. A diverse range of theories are available for investigating emotion in preservice teacher education. This range presents different ways of conceptualizing what emotions are considered to be, stemming from disciplines including sociology, philosophy, psychology, critical studies, cultural studies, anthropology, and neuroscience. In addition to canvassing theories and traditions, dominant approaches to the study of preservice teacher emotions are addressed including early investigations, which relied on single self-report research methods to the more complex and dynamic multimethod and multitheoretical studies that have emerged in recent years. Suggestions are made for fruitful future lines of inquiry of preservice teachers’ emotional experiences and needs. Teacher attrition and burnout, particularly in the early years, continue to be vexing international problems. Research into preservice teacher emotions and emotion management are two important areas of inquiry that could address the related problems of burnout and attrition. Emotion management is also linked to social bonds, and better understandings of these connections are needed in the context of preservice teachers’ experiences and learning during practicums and within university courses. A focus on enacted classroom and staffroom interactions offers great scope for novel research contributions. Better understandings of structural conditions affecting emotions and preservice teachers’ learning are needed that include the bridging of macrosocial structural factors influencing work conditions with microsocial interactions in classrooms, staffrooms, and during parent-teacher interactions. New research adopting contemporary theories of emotion and methods is needed to explore preservice teacher identities. Combining this focus with the aforementioned lines of investigation into burnout, attrition, social bonds, and connections between macrostructural and microinteractional aspects of teaching and learning presents a third line of novel research. Guiding questions to prompt these and other lines of investigation are offered.

Article

Locus of Control Framework and Teacher Well-being  

Inga Venema-Steen and Anne Southall

The locus of control framework, a well-established model of human management in the business sector, suggests that individuals display internal characteristics (Internals) and external characteristics (Externals). Internals are known for being more focused and proactive in the workplace, whereas Externals are more guided by outside influences and therefore are more accepting of external outcomes. Researchers support the notion that teachers are able to support their personal well-being by drawing on their internal and external resources and examining their teaching role in relation to three key areas: the school leadership, the students, and the teachers themselves. The school leadership impacts teacher well-being through the creation of the school climate, which is more suited for staff with either internal or external attributes. The school leadership is able to support teacher well-being levels by positive relationships, empathetic communication, and strong bonds of trust to foster teacher resilience and job satisfaction in Internals and Externals. Educators who exhibit high self-efficacy or possess a higher level of internal locus of control tend to display proactive behaviors, resulting in lower stress levels and enhanced job satisfaction. Furthermore, the influential role of students in shaping teacher well-being, primarily through the dynamics of teacher–student relationships, is profound. Internals are known for establishing positive connections with students. These relationships are known for contributing significantly to a sense of fulfillment and overall well-being among teachers. Conversely, negative teacher–student relationships can lead to heightened stress levels, burnout, and increased absenteeism among educators. To extend resilience and strengthen positive relationship toward students, Externals could participate in practical courses where detailed guidance is provided, resulting in enhanced job satisfaction. Teachers need to draw onto their internal environment to identify factors that impact their well-being. Personal circumstances encompass both their work and home life, as well as their physical and mental well-being. The emphasis and adoption of positive coping strategies, such as effective time management, stress management, and maintaining a healthy work–life balance, are effective means of mitigating workplace stressors in both Internals and Externals. Negative coping strategies, including avoidance and reliance on substances, are discouraged, with a strong emphasis on seeking support from mentors and professionals.

Article

Teacher-Principal Trust  

Ismail Hussein Amzat

Trust is the keystone to creating enduring relationships and interconnectedness among people. Trust also plays a pivotal role in human social and organizational interactions. Trust is needed for any organization to create good networks. It is an impetus for cressating relationships with employees, as well as for building healthy societies. To be trusted in an organization, a leader such as a school principal must possess integrity, truthfulness, and transparency. Therefore, when defining trust, the role of trust in schools and what a school principal must do to be trusted by teachers should be explored. It is worth knowing what a trusting principal does or means to a school and the impact on a school, teaching, and learning.

Article

Trauma-Informed Practice for Pre-service Teachers  

Carmel Hobbs, Dane Paulsen, and Jeff Thomas

Complex trauma experienced in childhood has detrimental impacts on the brain, learning and socio-moral development, the effects of which can last long into adulthood. A growing body of research emphasizes how all school teachers, regardless of the educational context, should expect to have students in their classroom who are affected by complex trauma. Teachers therefore require an understanding of how trauma affects their students, and a skillset that allows them to support and respond effectively to these students. However, multiple studies have found that teachers feel that they have not received sufficient training, and subsequently feel inadequately equipped to meet the needs of trauma-affected students in their classrooms. Although many Initial Teacher Education programs incorporate some curriculum on child maltreatment, this is typically focused on identifying and reporting child abuse, as opposed to how sustained and severe maltreatment can lead to complex trauma, which affects learning, and social development in students. Increasing understanding of how trauma affects the brain, and the implications this has for young people in school has continued to grow since the 1990s. This has contributed to a growing trend of multidisciplinary teams combining education and wellbeing models in schools to cater to the most vulnerable students in their respective communities. Students who have experienced trauma may appear to be deliberately misbehaving in the classroom, disengaged or disinterested in learning, and can struggle to develop skills that strengthen positive relationships with school staff and other students. Unsurprisingly, exposure to trauma impacts a young person’s academic performance, attendance, and likelihood of completion. It is clear that schools are important settings where the effects of trauma have a substantial impact on the lives of students, particularly when the effects of trauma are misunderstood. Nevertheless, schools have the potential to be one of the most powerful places for buffering the negative impacts of complex childhood trauma through their capacity to provide opportunities for all students to experience positive, trusting relationships, be cared for, and experience predictability, consistency and safety. A trauma-informed approach in school settings involves understanding how trauma affects students and provides a framework for responding to students rather than blaming them for their behavior. Trauma-informed practice is not an intervention, and it does not have an end point. It is a process, and a holistic way of working that involves understanding and attending to the specific needs of individuals with trauma-affected childhoods. Central to all trauma-informed approaches is the importance of strong, trusting, consistent and predictable relationships between an adult and a trauma-affected child. It is within this space that opportunities to repair dysregulated stress responses, and disruptive attachment styles can take place.