BUILDING TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS IN THE OUTDOORS
9 September 2022
To a large extent, the nature of a teacher’s relationship with their students informs the impact they’ll have on them. Away from desks, devices, and the confines of the classroom, students often display different characteristics to those they show at school. And while school camp is the perfect place for students to explore their many facets, it also provides teachers with an opportunity to understand their students better and deepen their relationship with them.
School camp shifts students and teachers into new environments, allowing for the development of positive teacher-student relationships, which are essential to effective classroom learning.
THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVE TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS
The teacher-student relationship is one of the most powerful factors influencing the learning environment. Impacting students’ development, engagement and academic motivation, teacher-student relationships form the foundation upon which learning takes place, influencing students’ educational outcomes and social development.
Students who share a positive relationship with their teacher are more likely to absorb more academic knowledge because they feel confident in exploring and taking risks in their learning.
A thriving classroom is created when students’ self-worth increases and they understand mistakes or shortfalls indicate they are learning.
Young people will often carry this confidence with them throughout their schooling and into their social life.
The Outdoor Education Group’s experiences invite learners to engage with new ideas in diverse natural environments, allowing them to showcase various strengths and present different sides of their personalities. The quiet and withdrawn student during class discussions may shine as a group leader during orienteering. The student who is boisterous in P.E might exhibit vulnerability when homesick.
A shift in environment allows teachers to see students in a new light and vice versa. Who knew the Year Level Coordinator was so good at tying knots or the Home Room Teacher is a passionate paddler? By getting to know each other outside the classroom, students and teachers deepen their understanding of each other and create lasting memories together.
In an unfamiliar environment with different routines and activities, school camp not only fosters but amplifies a sense of community. A level playing field creates a strong foundation for enhancing social cohesion, conflict resolution, and respect and allows participants to negotiate the relationships around them differently.
THE IMPACTS OF ONLINE-LEARNING
When many schools closed their doors in March of 2020 in Australia’s Eastern states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher-student relationships suffered; during this time, teacher-student interactions shifted dramatically with the change to online learning. Teachers could no longer emotionally engage with students in the way they were accustomed to - without one-on-one interaction, high-fives for a job well done or praise in front of classmates.
From January to April 2020, 2,567 people aged 5-25 reached out to Kids Helpline regarding COVID-19. The top three concerns raised by these young people were:
Mental health concerns
For the current generation of students, who had to deal with unprecedented changes in how they live and learn, re-establishing trusting relationships will be critical in addressing the impacts of COVID-19.
BRING POSITIVE TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS BACK TO THE CLASSROOM
Constructive teacher-student relationships provide a foundation for student engagement, belonging, and, ultimately, learning.
Our school camps provide the perfect setting for building strong relationships to bring back into the classroom. Through our programs, schools can enhance student motivation and engagement while creating meaningful teacher-student relationships.