Building positive relationships with students: What brain science says

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Students’ brains are hard at work every moment of the day, learning skills and connecting new information with old. Those same brains are also constantly processing information when it comes to their relationship with you, their teacher.

Positive student relationships are fundamental to success. When students feel supported, they’re more likely to engage in learning and have better academic outcomes. Plus, when students have positive interactions with teachers, they have fewer behavioral problems. These relationships are more important — and more challenging — than ever in uncertain times, like during the coronavirus pandemic.

Neuroscience can help us understand what’s happening in students’ brains when they feel safe and understood. Here are four reasons why positive teacher-student relationships are important — and how you can build those relationships.

Lesson tags: 
Good for Parents
Advanced Placement (AP)
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Available in Spanish
Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-commercial ShareAlike CC (BY-NC-SA)
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