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Teachers DO Make a Difference

Teachers DO Make a Difference
The Teacher’s Guide to Connecting With Students

Foreword by Bonnie Benard

November 2004 | 152 pages | Corwin

Teachers make a difference not only in what their students learn about content, but in what they learn about life!

Closing the achievement gap and creating high-performing schools depends not on what we teach but how we teach. The most powerful and effective way teachers can help students overcome negative influences in their environment as well as succeed in becoming their best selves is by developing close and caring connections with them.

Developing quality relationships with students is key to their healthy development. Teachers DO Make a Difference gives teachers strategies, guidelines, and real-life examples of how to build and enrich close and trusting teacher-student relationships. This important new resource covers key topics including:

  • Setting high expectations for students
  • Conveying confidence in student capabilities
  • Creating classroom rituals and traditions
  • Networking with family and community
  • Developing strong interpersonal skills
  • Identifying relational resources
  • Communicating appropriate caring and respect in the classroom

Healthy connections with teachers are associated with a decrease in behavioral problems and an increase in social and academic skills. The relationships we develop with our students are at the heart of how we make a difference.

Bonnie Benard
About the Author
1. Our Changing Roles as Teachers
Changing Student Needs and the Teacher's Role

Having Healthy Connections With Young People Is Key to Their Healthy Development

Meeting Our Students' Needs: The Caring Teacher

Central Concerns for Caring Teachers

2. Making Healthy Connections With Students
What We Do To Make a Difference

How I Did the Study

Meet the Teachers

Different Ways We Can Make Healthy Connections With Students

Creating One-to-One Time with Students

Using Appropriate Self-Disclosure

Having High Expectations of Students While Conveying a Belief in Their Capabilities

Networking with Family and Friends

Building a Sense of Community Among Students

Providing Rituals and Traditions

Summary of the Ways To Create Healthy Connections with Students

3. Communicating to Our Students That We Care
Treating Students with Dignity and Respect

The Ways We Show Respect to Students

How Students Respond to Respectful Treatment

Summary of How We Communicate Caring

4. What It Takes to Revitalize Ourselves
How We Can Revitalize Ourselves

Feeling Competent Generates Emotional Rewards

Beliefs About the Role of Teacher and Teaching

Personal Qualities That Enhance Connecting With Students

Common Interpersonal Skills and Relational Resources that Enhance Connecting with Students

Support of Family, Friends, and Professionals

Summary of What It Takes to Revitalize Ourselves

5. Yeah, I Hear You, But...
The Good News

Responses to Concerns

Concluding Thoughts


"Deiro has taken a complex topic and made it more manageable, functional, and instructive. For an institution that can be distracted by policies and procedure, this is a crucial reminder of what education really is all about."

Childhood Education, Fall 2005
Journal of the Association for Childhood Education International
Key features
  • Blends teaching skills with classroom management, student motivation, psychology, emotional intelligence, and school / community relationships
  • Theory-into-practice approach includes practical strategies, questionnaires and self-assessments, checklists, figures, reproducibles, and an extensive bibliography
  • Each chapter begins with a real teacher voice and teacher voices recur throughout the text
  • Designed for staff development workshops


For instructors

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