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Better classroom relationships

ISBN: 978-1-927231-96-8

The usual approaches to classroom relationships are either teacher-centred or student-centred. This book breaks new ground in its exploration of relationship-centred classrooms.

In relationship-centred classrooms, the teacher and the student are equally important. That shifts the focus to the quality of their interaction and whether it is supporting or hindering teaching and learning.

The authors draw on a strong theoretical base as they tease out the principles and practices of relationship-centred classrooms.  The relationship practices they describe are underpinned by:

  • The importance of being recognised and validated as a person
  • The importance of challenging ideas that exclude, oppress and disadvantage some people

Respectful classroom interactions and constructive responses to conflict can be achieved if teachers apply specific conversational moves and a theoretical framework that offers new perspectives on relationship problems.

The authors argue that in order to respond to the diversity of today’s classrooms and constantly shifting relationship dynamics, teachers need to be able to deal with uncertainty and have a clear understanding of power relationships.  The authors show how change can be achieved when teachers challenge discourses: those hidden assumptions that influence the outcome of interactions.

This book shows how new possibilities and alternatives to conflict can be opened up when teachers can draw on a theoretical framework and some specific relationship principles. The authors present those principles in a readable account and illustrate them in practice. 

Maria Kecskemeti, PhD, is senior lecturer at the University of Waikato. She formerly worked as a classroom teacher, RTLB (Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour), counsellor and counsellor educator.  She has developed relationship practices informed by poststructuralist ideas and narrative counselling. She has taught those practices to many beginning and experienced teachers, social workers, counsellors and teacher educators in New Zealand and Europe.

John Winslade, PhD, is a professor of counselling at California State University, San Bernardino and an associate of the Taos Institute. He was formerly an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato. He has co-authored 10 books on narrative practice, social constructionist and poststructuralist ideas and has taught over 150 workshops on these topics in more than 25 countries.