As I read CreatingClassrooms Where Teachers Love to Teach and Students Love to Learn weeks before finally managing to sit down and write about it, I found it interesting to see which pages I had marked. I had only marked three. There does seem to be a common theme however.
“The power of relationships to help manage behavior and improve learning in the classroom is sometimes overlooked in the attempt to boost testable academic achievement. But every good teacher acknowledges that kids learn better in an atmosphere of safety and respect, and that most children will try harder for a teacher they love.” (p. 16)
“Solid relationships are far more powerful than the sum total of all other techniques.” (p. 26)
“How sad for the unsuccessful teacher who says, ‘My job is to teach the curriculum, not build relationships with kids.’” (p. 129)
As I am currently reading John Hattie’s book I do find myself wondering about the research behind Sornson’s statements. I believe them, I just wonder about the research. There is no bibliography of any sort, no list of resources, no further suggested reading. That leaves me hanging a bit.
Hattie’s research certainly supports the importance of relationships, although not quite to the degree Sornson is claiming.
I have long believed in the power of relationships but I don’t know that I would always have marked those three quotes. The current trend in education, and specifically in my district, is to move away from building relationships and towards a standard curriculum and delivery. That trend made those quotes more powerful to me than they would typically have been.