A bit like karaoke in outer space, teaching simply doesn’t work in a vacuum. There is an entire community involved in education, with links between teachers and students, other teachers, parents, administrators, care workers and policy makers. All of these interconnections create and sustain a positive environment that fosters academic and emotional development. The teacher’s role is, of course, pivotal in building these relationships and ensuring they advance learning and provide care.
Ever since Plato laid out his thoughts on the difference between education as pedagogy, or the art of teaching, and the desire for learning, there’s been a commitment to nurturing strong teacher-student relationships. In our modern age it’s generally accepted teachers and students create knowledge jointly through a balanced conversation. In this relationship teachers are facilitators who guide and enrich learning activities but students are equal contributors in the process.
Nurturing this link and creating a classroom community can be helped by holding regular student-led meetings, where there is a chance to freely voice opinions and grow their sense of trust and belonging. When students feel enabling connections with their teachers, in a safe environment, they’re more likely to believe in their own ability to step outside their comfort zone and dare to have bold academic aspirations.
The world of education is a close-knit community and positive vibes flow from regularly sharing ideas and personal experiences. Even the most informal conversation in the staff room can deepen our understanding of the best methods of learning. In particular, relationships between more experienced teachers and newbies are invaluable for avoiding pitfalls and inspiring confidence, as well as giving the ‘old hands’ fresh ways of looking at things.
Parents and teachers who find ways to work together strengthen the power of learning, which is why the best teachers always encourage and support parental involvement. Parents who participate in teacher-parent programmes are far more likely to provide increased support at home and, with home schooling and blended learning having become an integral part of education, this has never been more important.
Linking up with local organisations, such as museums, art galleries and businesses, expands the cultural resources available to students and enhances their educational experience.
It also enables teachers to incorporate fun new programmes into the curriculum that offer inspirational information to complement the primary course work.
Teaching is perhaps one of the most holistic of all jobs – often it means working with social workers, health care providers and family counsellors to provide an all-round package of care. Recent investment in the provision of social care in the school setting in the UK reflects a recognition that vulnerable children and young people should have access to support from an established network of professionals, all working together and using joined-up thinking. The dialogue between teachers and professionals in all walks of life benefits children and their families. It also brings an immense level of satisfaction knowing you’re part of a wide community offering effective support and protection.
Where better to link up with professional peers than on Teacheroo, the Online Teacher Community? Our app not only provides a constant stream of fresh ideas from educators, it gives you a platform to ask questions, share experiences and make your voice heard. It’s all about enjoying a safe and super-friendly place for collaboration, strengthening collegiality and celebrating teachers everywhere. Teacheroo members also get unlimited access to thousands of teacher resources, as well as access groups focused on a range of important subjects, including DiverseEd and EdTech, and offering targeted advice and support from fellow educators.