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It’s The Relationship, Stupid!

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by Mark Waistell, Accent International

On the wall of my office is a faded quotation from the legendary drama teacher and academic Dorothy Heathcote which says: “….a race of teachers who are unafraid to make relationships with classes; who are unafraid to admit that they do not know; who never stop seeking to learn more about the dynamics of teaching…. and who work to suit the needs of their classes at any time in order to keep learning meaningful….”.

That remains as important to me now as when I first came across it during my Celta, way back in 1978. Since that time, I have moved on and so has teaching. Or has it? In my current job, as well as getting into the classroom as much as I can, I am also involved in both teacher training and teacher recruitment. Materials are certainly glossier, technology is more advanced, qualifications are more professional and students are more demanding. But I seem to come across more teachers who think it’s all about them and what they can, or can’t, do. It’s not, of course, it’s all about the students. It’s also not anything to do with teaching – it’s about learning. Most importantly, “It’s the relationship, stupid!”

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