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R5C2 Relationships: are teacher-pupil relationships nurtured as the foundation of good behaviour, mutual wellbeing and high standards?

‘Good relationships’ between the teacher and the class are at the heart of pedagogic...

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Andrew Pollard
5 May 2010

‘Good relationships’ between the teacher and the class are at the heart of pedagogic effectiveness – and every teacher knows this. But what does it really mean?

Both pupils and teachers can feel vulnerable in classrooms, but a good relationship is founded on mutual respect and acceptance of ways of getting on together – described technically as a ‘working consensus’ (Pollard, 1985). This embraces taken-for-granted rules about acceptable behaviour and understandings about how infringements will be dealt with. 

The teacher leads in establishing such rules, but must be mindful of pupil interests and act fairly and consistently. The understandings which result are the basis of the moral order of the classroom and the foundation of good behaviour. Expectations for standards of work then follow. As successes are achieved, a sense of fulfilment and well-being is shared, and a positive classroom climate is created. This climate has to be nurtured and sustained over time, for its ebb and flow can be sensed.  

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