Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Importance of Liking the Students We Teach and Learn With or "Kids don't learn from people they don't like." - Rita Pierson

How important is it that we like the students we interact with and teach and learn with each day?  For me, it's an essential part of what leads me in everything I do on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis.
Teaching is not just about 'facilitating learning'.  It's so much more than that.

It's about connecting with our students and showing them that we care about them as human beings.  We care about, and are interested in, their hopes, dreams and aspirations, the sports they play, the hobbies they are interested in.

I watched this presentation, (another fantastic TED Talk), by Rita Pierson, a teacher of 40 years' experience and would love to read what you think. She raises an interesting question in relation to whether our students' achievements can be at their optimum level if we don't 'like' them and believe in them.  Is this part of the 'x-factor' in teaching - that element of difference between a good teacher who has the pedagogy and content knowledge and a great teacher who also possesses these elements along with being able to connect with their students on a collaborative and friendly level, and who also shows a genuine interest in who these amazing human beings are whom we have the privilege to teach and learn alongside every day.

Some of us live this profession - it's so much more than 'just a job' - we live this life.

Rita also speaks about some of the 'reforms' in education but her main focus is the value of human connection and relationships in learning.  It's a powerful message.

'Kids don't learn from people they don't like'.  True.  Rita is an inspiration and what she says is so true, powerful and valuable.  The power of self-belief cannot be underestimated - for both students and teachers.

We need to make a difference, not just academically, but in the human context.  I believe in my students unconditionally, I like and respect my students - yes, even the ones who dyed my hair red on a school camp many years ago.  (I was secretly proud of their creativity and innovation in completing the task they set themselves!!)

Teaching is connection.  Success for our learners comes through connections.  Taking time to get to know our students is key.


  1. This was one of the most inspiring things I have ever watched. I believe what Rita believes. I'm a 2++ teacher!!!

  2. This is exactly how I feel too Justine . I really enjoy your posts and keep them coming. Fiona Togia