Teacher-Student Partnerships

When you think about it, the relationship between a student and a teacher is meant to be a partnership. One member, the teacher, has more controlling shares, certainly, but the student has a vested interest in the outcome of the relationship, too. Both partners are focused on the delivery and retention of information. But, as with any business partnership, there are some ground rules for keeping these relationships positive.

Communication is key. Students need to be able to approach the instructor with ease, ask questions, and get clarification, but instructors need to be available, open, and forthcoming with answers. Students should take the time to meet with their instructors, but they should observe office hours so that the instructors are shown respect and courtesy. Instructors should make an effort to know their students by name, but students should remember that this comes through regular interaction, not avoidance.

Attention is another critical aspect to positive partnerships. This starts with the student showing proper attention to attendance, note-taking, and completion of assignments. The fastest way for a student to alienate themselves from an instructor is to fall asleep in class or show irresponsibility related to classroom assignments. Paying attention in class and being an active participant is important to how the student is perceived by the instructor. At the same time, instructors need to pay attention to facial expressions, changes in work, or other signs of how the students are comprehending and the material. It is the instructor's job to teach, and he or she needs to pay attention to the effectiveness of the delivery methods.

Engagement with the material is the other driving force in a good partnership. In business, this means that partners are equally concerned with getting the product out into the marketplace. In education, this means that the teacher and the student are both interested in sharing knowledge on the subject. It goes without saying that not every topic is going to be exciting to every person, but an appealing delivery and a passionate instructor will always win over the most reluctant student. Even if the student doesn't share the love of the subject, they will recognize the value in the information and be more likely to engage with the material themselves if the instructor is engaging. A bored teacher leads to a bored student, but an engaging instructor leads to a motivated student. Likewise, students need to be willing and open to learning new things. As long as they are willing to engage with the material, they can find ways to share in the knowledge of it.

Open communication with one another, attention to the relationship, and engagement with the subjects at hand will make any student-teacher partnership a thriving one.


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