Tuesday, 6 March 2018

making connections 2

My first making connections post was about making the connections between strands of the maths &  stats curriculum. This post is about making connections between people.

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

Thinking about this whakatauki and our our first two Team days of 2018 I decided that this year that I would be more explicit about the place of whakawhanaungatanga in my practice.

Whanaungatanga: (noun) relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.

As we worked together in our teams of three, learning to 4 strand plait we reflected on the fact that relationships come in many forms. In our work we have the learning relationships that are built between teacher & student, the socio-emotional relationships that students build between each other. There are also the relationships we build with colleagues, families and whānau. 

Building strong relationships is often taken for granted as a skill all teachers possess; yet this might be an area in which teachers need support and professional guidance. (Aspden, McLaughlin & McLachlan, 2015)

We talked about  “Knowing your learner" being like an iceberg. Learners only show you what they want you to see. It is important to go below the surface to find out what is really going on. 

The Iceberg

Knowing your learner has many layers:

The behaviours they display – Our perception from observations

What makes them tick – the things that engage and inspire them

Their relationships – How they interact with other people

How they feel – Their perception of the world around them in different situations

We also acknowledged that in our work as facilitators we must ensure we are being honest, trusting and respectful as this forms the basis of successful strong relationships. (Bryk & Schneider, 2002)

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We all acknowledge that relationships are at the heart of our work. Our learners do better when they know they are respected and cared for. We work better with our colleagues when we feel valued and our ideas and beliefs are respected.

The big question is how do we ensure that we form, nurture and maintain these relationships?

Bryk, A., & Schneider, B. (2002). Trust in schools: A core resource for improvement. Russell Sage Foundation.

McLaughlin, Aspden, and McLachlan. (2015). How do teachers build strong relationships? A study of teaching practices to support child learning and social–emotional competence, Early Childhood Folio Vol 19 NO 1: 2015

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