Our Wednesday blog posts are a smattering of ideas from a wider variety of sources than we cover on the other days of the week. Today we consider the teacher/student relationship. This is a matter of great importance within any educational context, as well as within most interpersonal relationships. Dr. Allitt discusses these relationships involving different power levels.
The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator. Performed by Patrick N. Allitt. U.S.A.: The Teaching Company, 2010. DVD. Lecture 6, "The Teacher-Student Relationship”
Teacher and student are unequal. Each can expect some particular things from the other. There are some barriers which should therefore exist and some which may break down. Allitt prefers strong barriers while some teachers like fewer barriers. He considers those relationships here from the student perspective. Students are very good at perceiving the ground rules of interaction set out by teachers.
Students do want enthusiastic, informed teachers who are well organized. A teacher who can find the humor in the subject matter can also engage students in the material well. Students also tend to respond to teachers who show care for them, learning names and details which are important to them. Having access to teachers is also important to students. Both the best and worst students will seek help from a professor, while those in the middle may be less likely to do so.
Allitt observes that some students avoid coming due to pressure against trying to earn special favors. Making an atmosphere where students find easy access to teachers may be a challenge. Many students report that the adult friendship they can form with a teacher is helpful to them. Allitt does encourage strict boundaries, especially regarding students who tell personal information and ask for favors. Cultivating appropriate relationships which show care and respect on both sides is a challenge.
The teacher is ultimately some sort of role model for the student. He may be positive or negative, but will always be a role model.
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