Educational Relationships 

A Nurturing Potential report


"It may not be adequately appreciated that programmes designed to improve conditions and standards in schools - even when there is substantial agreement about goals and means - may be jeopardized by dysfunctional relationships between teachers, parents and administrators."         

(Quoted on the Internet - source unknown)

In culturally diverse communities, differences may be expected to exist in the communication styles of students, teachers, parents, administrators and non-instructional staff. Perhaps the most important reason for educators to understand cross cultural communication is to improve their relations with the diverse groups of students and parents they will encounter. If left ignored, communication differences will inevitably lead to various types of miscommunication which may lead, in turn, to conflicts which erode school climate and cause certain groups of students to feel unwelcome.

The fact that these circumstances occur is a tragedy, of course. The greater tragedy, however, is that educators do not always know how to eliminate or minimize this type of discord.          (Source:

Effective learning has, in recent times, been explored within the context of the relationship between learner and teacher.  "If you can talk to your teachers . . . you may be in a more powerful position than those who cannot."[1]

This conclusion has been reinforced by other research that regards such relationships as aiding the self-confidence of students and enabling increased academic performance, but the research is unhappily rather thin on the ground.  

In the context of personal tutoring, an "educational relationship can be formal or informal, implicit or explicit.  In the main, the student-personal tutor educational relationship needs to be both formal and explicit."[2]

It needs to be understood, however, that the relationship between students and teachers or personal tutors, is only one of the many social and cultural interactions that form the basis of effective learning.

"A supportive educational relationship has a clear focus on personal goals, motivational factors and strategies and skills for learning . . . Educational relationships need to provide a warm and encouraging framework for understanding what it means to be critical and to identify and explore criteria for success."[2]



1.  G. Claxton, Teaching to Learn, London 1990

2.  Kate Bullock, BERA 2004 draft paper.