It was then time for the main event...
“Outstanding relationships between teachers and students correlate with their academic success”
The first half of the film was enjoyable watching, with some heartwarming discussion about the importance of relationships in schools. However, it was the second half which prompted the real thinking for me:
- The female PE teacher who was questioned on her Y9 class relationship was a fascinating insight into how we can sometimes totally misjudge our relationships in school. As some of the students were in her form, and many attended extra curricular clubs, she felt there were lots of positive relationships. However using the proximity framework, there was a correlating pattern, but the gap between the two perceptions was significant. When discussing the relationships with the students, they were very divided on their view of the teacher. In fact, she had misjudged the relationships overall, because of the relationships with some of the students in the group.
- I think this is a quite common mistake. Our view of particular teaching groups can often be swayed by one or two challenging students, or a small core group of excellent students. The effects of this, on a potentially significant number within the group, can be disaffected by the teacher and the lesson.
- The male science teacher modeled really positive relationships with his class; it was clear he was very popular with his students. When questioning his students, it was at first hard to get beyond 'he's funny'. However Rob later looked at the attainment data from his classes and there was direct correlation between the positive relationships and over achievement - simply put, better relationships lead to better outcomes.
- This is clearly something we could have guessed, but the data seemed to suggest that this link was measurable and significant. It would be hard for teachers to replicate the teaching style of the lesson, there was a lot of 'personality' in it. Yet, it is a clear reminder of how vital relationships are. Perhaps even more so for students with low aspirations or who are deemed less able.
- As Head of Year, I frequently find myself in the role of 'bridge builder' (see blog <here> ). I am now far better at helping staff restore relationships for themselves. If I intervene, the common result is my relationship with the student improving - even if I have simply backed up a colleague, told them off and put them in detention. Rob recalled a teacher featured in the film discuss how as HoY and having certain characters frequently in detention, strong relationships were developed. The time spent, and conversations had, even if largely about the behaviour incidents, helped form strong relationships. It's also why I now spend a lot of time, 'just checking in' with certain characters in my Y11 cohort. When they do break the rules, it can be easier to remedy.
- A few people commented on how it was very refrshing that there was no mention of Progress 8 or OFSTED. However some did ask, should Lucy Powell be sent a copy? Would, could, should this be a key part of a Labour education policy?
I look forward to reading the book as well as keeping up with the developments of the project. Thank you Rob and team for a great evening.