Reflecting on your relationships with your students | Education Support Partnership

Reflecting on your relationships with your students

Which of the following best describe your relationships with students?

Relationship types

1. Dominant/Assertive

  • Strong sense of purpose in pursuing clear goals for learning and for class management
  • Leadership. Tends to guide and control
  • Prepared to discipline unapologetically.

2. Too dominant/assertive

  • Too controlling
  • Lack of concern for pupils
  • Teacher- pupil relationship damaged

3. Cooperative/collaborative

  • Great concern for the needs and opinions of pupils
  • Helpful, friendly
  • Avoids strife and seeks consensus
  • Working together

4. Too cooperative/collaborative

  • Too understanding and accepting of apologies
  • Waits for pupils to be ready and lets pupils dictate
  • Too keen to be accepted by pupils.
  • Passes responsibility completely to pupils. Abdicates responsibility and leadership

5. Oppositional/hostile

  • Treats students as the enemy
  • Expresses anger and irritation
  • Need to "win" if there is disagreement between teacher and pupil
  • Sees the classroom as a battleground

6. Submissive

  • Lack of clarity of purpose
  • Keeps a low profile
  • Tendency to submit to the will of the class
  • Entirely unassertive, rather glum and apologetic
  • Expects difficulties

Research has found that the most effective teachers find a balance between dominance and cooperation.* 

* Robert Marzano's (2003) findings from his study of over 100 reports on classroom management, including 134 experiments designed to find the most successful classroom strategies as well as finding that pupils prefer the dominant-cooperative style mix twice as much as the purely cooperative style or indeed any other style . For a full account see Classroom Management that Works Robert Marzano et al (2003).You will also find Teaching Today (2004), and Evidence Based Teaching (2006), both by Geoff Petty, great resources which are very much in line with Marzano's findings and form a basis for this section.