Core Beliefs of Relationship-Based Educators - By David Tranter, PhD

Being a relationship-based educator means a lot more than simply valuing relationships. It’s a different mindset. Some of the core beliefs of relationship-based educators include:

  1. Relationships are the active ingredient in learning and development.

  2. Relationships are foundational to mental health and overall well-being.

  3. Children learn relationship skills from the adults who care for them. This includes by watching how adults relate to one another. Relationship-based schools pay attention to relationships at every level.

  4. Although we each engage in a variety of relationships, we often don’t do so with full intentionality or as our best self. Relationships are inherently challenging and it’s important to talk about them explicitly.

  5. All relationships are not the same, nor do they involve a mere series of strategies. Each is unique and complex. Educators and schools can embody the relationship-based approach in different ways.

  6. Relationship-based education is a philosophy and broad pedagogy. It can be applied to all subject areas, any aspect of education, and forms the foundation for other programs and initiatives.

  7. Learning involves risk-taking which requires safe and trusting relationships.

  8. Culturally responsive education requires responsive relationships.

  9. Students who have experienced trauma or other forms of adverse childhood experiences are most effectively supported through the relationships they have with adults they see every day. School is both a protective and transformative environment for children and youth at risk.

  10. A strong teacher-student relationship focuses on learning and development, involves high expectations, and being a CARER (Consistent, Attuned, Responsive, Empathic, Repairing).

  11. Don’t fixate on the type of person you want a child to grow up to be, focus instead on strengthening the conditions that support them to thrive.

  12. When understanding student learning and behaviour, it’s important to think relationally (as opposed to behaviourally).

  13. Strong relationships are built through small, incremental moments.

  14. The strengthening of relationships should start in the classroom and expand outwardly to all levels over time.

  15. Student growth often requires educator growth.

  16. Student well-being starts with educator well-being.

What beliefs would you add to this list?

David TranterComment