Authentic Relationships Within The Classroom Essay

Authentic Relationships Within The Classroom Essay

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Through this Mrs. Smith was able to convey the authentic relationships within her class, as well as, how teachers communicate to make those meaningful connections which stem from presence. As Rodgers & Raider-Roth (2006) express,
“When bringing this notion of connectedness to the world of the classroom we begin to understand the qualities that contribute to a teacher’s capacity to connect to her students. In studying the ways that connectedness shapes classroom life, Belenky et al. (1986) contributed to this understanding. They identified ‘connected teaching’ as a primary way that teachers come into relationship with students. They argued that ‘connected teaching’ means ‘to enter into each student’s perspective’ (p. 227). In assuming a student’s perspective the teacher is able to see the world as the student sees it. It is a state of inter-subjectivity, i.e. a state of ‘attunement to, and responsiveness to the subjective inner experience of the other at both a cognitive and affective level’ (Jordan, 1991, p. 82). In assuming such a stance, teachers assist students in making connections to their own lives, in order to construct their own knowledge (p.12).

Scaffolding and modeling are critical elements that enhance teacher presence and played a large part in how Mrs. Smith cultivated a rich learning environment based on mutual respect and connections. As the example interaction showed, each student was able to, without censure, clearly and freely express their thoughts, which was well received by the group. Furthermore, Mrs. Smith appeared to be fully in the moment. In other words, she was mentally aware and emotionally engaged with her students. When a student was speaking she made eye contact, which modeled how to activel...


... middle of paper ...


...y represents a participatory model of learning. Knowledge is understood as relative, contextual, and socially constructed (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997). Teachers are not the “holders” of all truths nor viewed as the authorities of knowledge; instead, they share authority with others, including students. Through the sharing of authority, teachers position students as “constructed knowers” (Belenky et al.) who are participants in their own learning processes. In constructivist classrooms, students are encouraged to actively construct their own knowledge in collaboration with others and with support and guidance from the teacher (p.1708).

Mrs. Smith student-teacher interaction provided a perfect instance where such pedagogical approach is not only supportive of the learning environment but also targets intellectual engagement and cultural diversity in her classroom.

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