Math PK-2

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Math PK-2 > Strategies > Building Trusting Relationships

Building Trusting Relationships


Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported. These supportive student-teacher relationships are the foundation for fostering classroom learning as well as student engagement and Motivation. This strategy is especially powerful for students who have experienced Adverse Experiences and supports the practice of culturally responsive teaching.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how these teachers prioritize building relationships with their students. Through actions like greeting each student and showing vulnerability and care, students feel safe, supported, and valued. These strong relationships elicit positive emotions, which can lead to more learning.

  • Teachers can cultivate these warm, caring relationships by demonstrating that they are invested in students' learning, responding to students' strengths and needs, and co-constructing knowledge and lessons. Ensuring that the classroom is a welcoming and inclusive learning environment can also lead to more opportunities for stronger relationships. Conducting regular check-ins or conferences, giving affirmations and constructive feedback that convey high expectations and confidence in students' capabilities, and incorporating students' cultural experiences to make learning more relevant to them are all ways to create a learning community that fosters mutual respect and belonging. Lastly, developing norms or procedures as a class and maintaining consistent practices promotes student responsibility in upholding these expectations and also provides continuity.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how Thrively created a strengths-based assessment to illuminate students' strengths and passions. With these student profiles, teachers can give students the autonomy to drive their own passion projects that relate to their interests while also aligning to curricular goals. Entrusting students with this responsibility can demonstrate the confidence teachers have in them, strengthening their relationships.

  • Products can strengthen this relationship-building by providing tools that allow teachers to get to know their students more deeply. Having a portfolio or profile that shares each student's interests, motivations, and strengths could help teachers tailor their instruction. Additionally, facilitating increased communication between teachers and students could also improve their trust in each other.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy