Relationship Building 101: What Do You Know About Your Students?


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Research shows the effect size of teacher-student relationships is .52, which is well in the zone of desired effects (Hattie, 2017). The relationships we build with students matter. We start building relationships on day one and continue throughout the year.

One of the first things we do is take out a small notebook and write each student’s name along with the numbers 1–5. We then list five outside-of-the-school-day things we know about that student. It is fairly easy to say they like math, come to school on time, and play kickball at recess, because we are with them during that time of day. The question is, what do we know about them outside of their time with us?

  • Do they have any pets?
  • Who lives with them at home?
  • What are their interests?
  • What do they do on the weekends?
  • What are some of their favorites (food, movies, music, teams)?

This simple activity can highlight a need to dive deeper into relationship building. If we notice we know several things about Kaleb and only a few about Mackenzie, we work to be more intentional in our conversations with Mackenzie, learning more about her so that our relationship grows. Over the course of the year, this relationship-building strategy can make a huge difference in student achievement, and have a lasting effect on our students.

Hattie, J. (2017). The Research of John Hattie. Retrieved from

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