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Calling teachers of Year 11

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by passiongracebass, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    I wonder if you can help with some research.
    I'm currently working towards my masters dissertation which is looking at teacher connectedness and its impact on the wellbeing of Year 11 students during GCSE year.
    If you have a few minutes and are happy to answer the following questions, I would be really grateful.

    1. What do you understand by the term 'teacher connectedness'?

    2. Is there a need for good teacher connectedness during Year 11? Why/Why not?

    3. How would you describe the state of student connectedness with teachers during Year 11?

    4. Do Appraisal Targets and Value-Added impact on the quality of teacher connectedness during GCSE year? How?

    5. Do you have any further thoughts about 'teacher connectedness'?

    Everything you say will be treated confidentially within my dissertation and I will not use any names/usernames.
    Thank you for your time and interest and feel free to ask me any questions.
  2. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    errrr.....what is "teacher connectedness"????? :)
  3. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I'm with strawbs...never heard of 'teacher connectedness'. Is it like wifi?
    strawbs, yellowflower and sabrinakat like this.
  4. annajordan

    annajordan New commenter

    If you mean 'teacher connections with students' then yes, I think it does have an impact. There is a danger (depending on the school you work in) that dialogue with students becomes focused on their eventual outcomes and not so much on either the incremental progression or the person undertaking it.
  5. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    So teacher connectedness, apart from being the most cumbersome phrase ever, refers to the perception pupils have of their relationship with their teacher. There is strong evidence showing that when a pupil feels connected to their school and particularly their teacher, it can improve their overall wellbeing and attainment. I think this is true, but what I'm trying to find out is how much, in reality, is this achieved and how easy/difficult is it for teachers, already experiencing tremendous pressure and stress themselves to nurture positive connectedness with pupils. Basically, how well does the theory work in practice and what are the barriers to it working well.

    Hope this helps and I look forward to reading your thoughts, if you are happy to share them.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Maybe treat teachers better, so they stay at schools longer, so pupils actually get a chance to connect with them, rather than a stream of supply teachers as non-robots become ill?
    strawbs and dunnocks like this.
  7. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    Hi secretsiren, thank you for your interest. Please refer to my reply to strawbs for a definition.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    never heard of "teacher connectedness" but if you are asking whether having a good relationship with students is beneficial to them, well, obviously......

    but in any case, the teachers perception isn't necessarily be the same as the students', so I don't know how accurate any answers will be
  9. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    Hi annajordan, thank you for this. On speaking to some friends about this, they felt the same. They hadn't considered their focus before, but when reflecting on it, could recognise times in themselves when the way they spoke to pupils was more to nag or even shout at them to work harder. I wonder if you would mind sharing your thoughts about why this happens. What causes us, do you think, to have the kind of dialogue you are referring to?
  10. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    Hi dunnocks, thanks for your comment. Quite happy to not have accurate answers. Really happy just to hear your thoughts, from your point of view.
  11. passiongracebass

    passiongracebass New commenter

    Hi hhhh, you're absolutely right. The wellbeing and connectivity of pupils starts with the wellbeing of staff. The research I'm doing is driven by sustainability. I'm not sure that the UK education system is sustainable and I'm trying to examine this in my dissertation through teacher connectedness, recognising that 12,000 words is no where near enough to cover this topic. But I want to start somewhere.
  12. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Yes, a good connection is vital. I think there are two reasons for this: firstly, students have to trust that what you're saying is true and that if they listen to you, they will do well and secondly, you remove the barrier of 'authority figure-subjected to authority' that means that so many students find difficult these days. Throughout my career, I have had the best results from classes where I had the best relationships with the students. It meant I could plan lessons where I could try and do something a bit different or tricky and we could trust each other to get on with it. With classes where relationships are very difficult or fractious, you simply can't do those sorts of lessons.
    Teaching is all about removing barriers to learning - a barrier could be a lack of knowledge or skill in which case you remove the barrier by teaching it; working one-to-one with a student who needs additional support; or by helping students form supportive relationships with their teachers.
    strawbs and SundaeTrifle like this.
  13. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    2. Is there a need for good teacher connectedness during Year 11? Why/Why not?
    yes, but also with any class in any year group. or EVERY class in EVERY year group, rather

    3. How would you describe the state of student connectedness with teachers during Year 11?
    always varies dependent on class, and how long you have known them - if you have taught them for a few years you might have good "connectedness", or you might all be fed up with the sight of each other

    4. Do Appraisal Targets and Value-Added impact on the quality of teacher connectedness during GCSE year? How?
    yes, but also with any class. they cause teachers to be knackered, but not to resent pupils. I tend to ignore data wherever possible and just concentrate on teaching human beings!
  14. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    The best teacher I had was not particularly likeable and was a bit remote. But we recognised him as the excellent teacher he was. He had very high expectations but was very fair. You knew where you stood even if you didn't like it. I don't think I felt any connection with him other than that he was a god teacher. I didn't much like pally teachers. In year 7 it seems appealing but if you want to do well you learn to recognise that being friends (connected?) with your teachers doesn't matter. What matters is if they're any good.
  15. annajordan

    annajordan New commenter

    I think there are several reasons why the focus of any dialogue is invariably on outcomes (not that this is necessarily nagging or shouting; just that the point of the discussion is about attainment and how to increase it).
    Firstly, senior school teachers see their students for such a short time in a week - perhaps 2 hours at KS4. There isn't much time to spare for the general conversation that builds relationships in a broader sense.
    Secondly, the ridiculous nature of statutory testing at KS4 and 5 means there is far too much content to get through in the limited time available for teaching, and (at KS4) an ill-judged array of questions which abstract skills artificially from the way real historians would tackle an enquiry; this means that teachers have to help students navigate the hoop jumping exercise that is the markscheme, which takes up much of the available dialogue time.
    Thirdly, most secondary school teachers have enormous classes and the time available for each student is barely the time necessary to say 'you need to refer to the sources in your answers'.
    Fourthly, many teachers are cautious of maintaining a professional distance.
    Fifthly, the current educational climate of target grades and league tables creates enormous pressure on teachers who then communicate this priority to their students, wittingly or unwittingly.

    Having said all of that, I believe that teachers work really hard at building positive relationships with classes in a broad sense. We have long recognised that student motivation can be greatly enhanced if they like and trust you (as John Hattie's research has shown)

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