Contemplating the teacher-student relationship in the age of pandemic and remote learning
Teaching during the plague made me think about the importance of the relationship between a teacher and a student. Yes, that simple question. Even banal. How important is the connection between the student and his tutor? How can the era of homeschooling and remote learning destroy this valuable link? What is an education process? What is necessary to achieve positive learning outcomes? Why do we NEED school?
Education can be described as a process by which adults in a society take care of the younger generation to help them establish a positive and concrete relationship with reality. This is therefore the challenge to which the parents as well as the educators in any possible role must strive by contributing to the training of future adults and citizens; persons as a whole and integral human beings.
The objectives of the teaching today can be summed up in the training and guidance function of the school, not only in the field more directly cultural, but also in the development of the personality of the pupil and that of his active involvement in society.
Today, a lot is said about what a proper and optimal relationship between teacher and student should be, i.e. how to “regulate” those who intend to take up the teaching profession. Shaping the personality of others, as well as culture generally understood as a collection of knowledge, is one of the most important and constructive tasks that a person (teacher, educator, mentor) can perform. It is not enough to be a good teacher: you need to know how to establish positive educational and human relationships with your students. The teacher should be enthusiastic about what he teaches.
Teachers must use the different school subjects, resources and methodologies as an opportunity for the whole human and political growth of young people. The goal the teacher has is to encourage the student to develop and improve the critical skills and the ability to rational analysis of reality.
The education process is an action aimed at ensuring “the manifestation of the human right of every person”.
What about kids nowadays? The student must feel ‘energised’ by the teacher, positively motivated to learn. A large dose of psychology and effort in general requires establishing a good relationship with today’s young people, brought up and living in the “digital” era – requires a lot of patience and readiness to listen and speak, to use a language that is always understandable in various situations. it must be transparent and impartial, offering its students the learning of a certain model of life, as well as various competences like the courage to be different and the acceptance of diversity.
The teacher’s figure is a complex one, it contains a number of aspects that often place emphasis primarily on preparation, skills and education. Educational qualifications, refreshing courses, hours devoted to the development of innovative projects, the ability to master various teaching strategies, all this undoubtedly makes a teacher a good teacher. And this is one of the pillars of the ‘good master’.
Therefore the teacher is called to share with the apprentice a path of integral formation of the personality, so that the student can acquire the tools to live his own life autonomously and responsibly. Each individual must have an opportunity and occasion to access the foundational conditions of human identity – this, in my opinion, is the main task to which MUST be accomplished.
Elements of teacher-student relations must go far beyond the innovative methods of today’s education, aimed at cooperation and teamwork: certainly with the help of not necessarily conventional methods you can see the nuances of the student’s personality, which may not be revealed during a standard lesson. It is no accident that the relationship with the teacher is an element that has a significant impact on school performance, and above all has a large impact on the child’s school adaptation.
The school is a “system of relationships” capable of supporting the growth and development of the person as a whole.
The school is the main context in which the learner undertakes his arduous identity process. Therefore, it must be characterised by a good internal atmosphere based on mutual respect and dialogue, listening and collaboration that does not exclude conflicts, but which has the ability to recognise and elaborate them to put them at the service of the learner’s identity development. It’s not only the process of knowledge and culture transmission. It’s also or most importantly the introduction into society. It’s about being able to use all the student abilities and potentials at maximum.
A fundamental competence of the teacher is, therefore, that of knowing how to manage interpersonal complexity; negotiate conflicts and therefore foster a collaborative and inclusive climate of differences in the class, developing a context that satisfies the basic needs of pupils. The school is a gym of democracy, a place where students are trained as citizens, active in public life and capable of exercising free thought independently.
Communication dynamics capable of making each member of the class appreciated and well integrated, regardless of the school performance, physical appearance, race, disabilities – this could be the exceptionally important key of more effective development and integration in the classroom. In fact, there are children who, because of emotional or learning disabilities, have experienced school as a kind of nightmare, crushing self-esteem, perhaps caused by hours of useless repetition, poor results that will probably be a lifetime stigma. Perhaps with equally well prepared but emotionally available teachers, their learning would be less disastrous. This is a great challenge for the teacher: encouraging a calm atmosphere in the classroom, where arrogant, humiliating, competitive behaviour is prohibited, and everyone, regardless of their skills and predispositions, can feel welcome.
To sum up, in my opinion both sides – teacher as well as student – their attitudes and emotionality are in the first place in the hierarchy of priorities where the key role and mutual goal is education, preparation for adulthood and development of correct and socially accepted patterns. And there is no way that a learning platform can replace the relationship between a teacher and a student
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