A bond for life

A healthy teacher-student relationship is essential for effective learning

August 21, 2021 01:12 pm | Updated 01:12 pm IST

A positive teacher-student bond offers multiple benefits.

A positive teacher-student bond offers multiple benefits.

The bond between a teacher and student is infused with equal doses of discipline and affection and goes beyond the classroom and textbooks. How do you pay back for knowledge and life lessons? The truth is: you don’t. You pay your respect and vow to pass on the knowledge.

Bonding is not rocket science. It is simply the joy of having an open communication channel in an emotionally safe environment. The most essential requirements for children to feel safe, secure and cared for is to foster a sense of belonging. When the teacher’s behaviour consistently displays parity among students, it instils mutual respect, and ushers in positivity. Students feel encouraged and motivated to participate and perform. What are the benefits of a strong teacher-student bond?

Better academic success: Classrooms become a congenial environment when students recognise their teacher as an accomplice and not a force of opposition. They listen more and are open to learning.

Reduced behavioural problems: Anxiety levels can be high for students trying to fit in. Left unchecked, it translates into aggressive and disruptive behaviour. When a teacher offers a supportive system, empathetic guidance and care, behavioural shifts happen and the student becomes cooperative, with increased participation in classroom. Studies have shown a surge in creativity and expression when the classroom environment is perceived to be harmonious.

Aiding growth: When teachers focus on building bonds with students, they also get a better understanding of each student’s personality and growth needs. These go beyond academic into social and emotional growth. A teacher can manoeuvre classroom activities to become a support system for children to thrive and attain life skills.

In a 2012 experiment, a team led by psychologist Lieselotte Ahnert, gave kindergarten children a series of cognitive tests to find out if their relationship with the teacher affected the way they thought. Just before a new problem was presented, each child was shown the teacher’s face. The exposure was so brief that the child wasn’t aware of what he/she saw. But it still had an effect. Those with strong teacher-student bonds ended up solving more problems faster than those whose links were weaker.

As adults, when we look back at our student lives, one teacher always stands out for the support and encouragement he/she gave. All children need this teacher.

The writer is Managing Director, The Green Acres Academy.

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