Connecting with Students

Educator builds interpersonal relationships by engaging in daily one-on-one interactions with students.
Made by Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Learning at USD
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator communicates personal interest and concern during daily one-on-one interactions with students.

Method Components

Suggested strategies for communicating personal interest in and concern for students

  • Talk informally with students about their interests before, during, and after class.
  • Greet students by name on and off campus.
  • Be aware of and comment on important events in students' lives, such as participation in sports, drama, or other extracurricular activities.
  • Compliment and celebrate students on important achievements in and outside of school.
  • Recognize and act upon students’ emotional states.
  • Meet students at the door as they come into class; greet each one by name.
  • Create opportunities to understand students’ background, family, and living situation.
  • Communicate with families to compliment student behavior and work.
  • Create opportunities to learn about student interests.

- Conduct a student interest survey.

- Host student meetings or community meetings.

Educators are encouraged to refer to and adhere to applicable school or district policies with regard to appropriate educator interaction with students.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Marzano, Robert J., and Jana S. Marzano. "The Key to Classroom Management." Building Classroom Relationships 61.1 (2003): 6–13.

    Teacher-student relationships provide an essential foundation for effective classroom management—and classroom management is a key to high student achievement. Teacher-student relationships should not be left to chance or dictated by the personalities of those involved. Instead, by using strategies supported by research, teachers can influence the dynamics of their classrooms and build strong teacher-student relationships that will support student learning.
  • Cotnoir, Colleen, Susan Paton, Lisa Peters, Cynthia Pretorius, and Leslie Smale. The Lasting Impact of Influential Teachers. ERIC No. ED545623.

    Data suggested that teacher, influence can be categorized into five main themes: (1) building relationships; (2) a teacher's passion for their work; (3) mentoring students through modeling; (4) having high expectations of students; and (5) the ways teachers go "above and beyond" in their work. Research findings suggest the importance of growing and nurturing teacher-student relationships.

  • Mensah, Emmanuel, and George Atta. "Middle Level Students' Goal Orientations and Motivation." Journal of Education and Training Studies 3.2 (2015): 20–33.

    The study used a phenomenological lens to explore middle level classroom goal perceptions and classroom experiences that were pivotal in motivating students to achieve their learning goals. A thematic analysis of participants' perspectives showed that classroom lessons that are more engaging, teachers' positive disposition and personality, personal connection with learning experience, application of varied instructions, and supportive teacher relationships are key classroom experiences in driving middle level students to achieve their learning goals.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and an Exemplary score for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(300-word limit for each question)

  • Describe the student population that you engaged in daily one-on-one interactions with. Include the following descriptors: grade level, demographics, number of students in each class, content area, and schedule (block, periods, etc.).

- Passing: Description of student population is clear and specific.

  • Describe all the systems and strategies you used to ensure you engaged in one-on-one interactions with every student.

Part 2. Work examples/artifacts

Submit artifacts that were created while building relationships with students by engaging in daily one-on-one interactions (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other products), including such items as:

  • An annotated video
  • Annotated photos highlighting daily interactions with students
  • Written or recorded reflections from students
  • A communication log including notes from meetings with students

Part 3. Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • How have student connections improved classroom management, student achievement, and/or classroom culture? Moving forward, how might your practice change as a result of what you have learned?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Connecting with Students
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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