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Relationships and learning are inseparably connected

This post was originally shared in an email on February 5, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

As previewed last week, our Rethinking Intervention project led to 40 powerful conversations around six major themes. None of the themes are surprising or new but they help bring us back to some essential educator wisdom, confirmed by research and brought to life through stories. They can inspire us to think about what it would look like to support recovery and redesign in ways that build on the best of what we know to be true.

Today I am delighted to bring you the first video, which centers on our first takeaway: Relationships and learning are inseparably connected. We have also developed a reflection and discussion guide that can support conversations in faculty meetings, PLCs, or cabinet discussions.

As we release each video I am going to use this email to share reflections on what I learned and point to key actions related to how we as educators use our time, money, and energy.

(Okay, watch the 12-minute video before you read further!)

As you heard in the video, these conversations made me reflect on how I am showing up to relationships with my team and my community. They made me remember how important it is, especially in these stressful times, to make space for those personal connections and make sure the people I work with and support have space to be seen, known, and valued.

They reminded me of the importance of every interaction. They reminded me how much we assume people should “just know” how to form meaningful relationships — and how complex it actually is. They made me think about the learning we all need to do to engage in meaningful relationships.

We can know that something is important but still not know how to make it happen. When I think about the next few years and the importance of the recovery and redesign work ahead, these conversations pointed to five ways we can use time, money, and energy to honor the interconnectedness of relationships and learning:

  1. Ensure students and staff have access to needed mental health support.
  2. Provide professional learning for teachers and leaders that equips them to form trusting relationships and become more conscious of the way biases affect relationships (with attention to students and families), integrating what has been traditionally siloed in SEL and academics.
  3. Reinforce the importance of culture by creating time for educators to build relationships and culture amongst themselves. Value it for the model it creates for how to support student relationships.
  4. Decrease counselor, family coordinator, and teacher caseloads where possible so more people are watching out for student and family needs and connection.

Here are a few resources relevant to this takeaway:

What else would you add? I hope you will bring your thoughts and contributions to these questions by tagging @instructUP and using the hashtag #rethinkingintervention.

Next week, I’ll share the video for Takeaway 2: What teachers expect of their students shapes what students expect of themselves.

Instruction Partners CEO, former AssistCommish for TDOE, library lover, Sunday afternoon chef and head of the Jan, Owen and Liam fan club.

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