Today I was in a classroom observing a master teacher. Math workshop was brewing and the teacher asked for volunteers to share some of their strategies for solving a multiplication problem on the board. A student got up walked to the board and proudly solved the problem, showing all of her work in the process. A few minutes later the teacher asks her to come up and explain her work, the student began to do so, but she also began to stumble over her words. It was clear the student knew how to solve the problem, but was getting a bit nervous as she explained her steps. It was in this moment the teacher made all the difference. The teacher calmly and confidently said to the student: “you got this, just take a deep breath.” Immediately following this the student’s demeanor changed, she took a deep breath and then confidently shared her work to the class.
There is no computer in the world that could have replicated this teacher move. Why? It takes the relationship of a trusted teacher who knows how to coach a student in any circumstance. Teachers can leverage technology and pedagogy in amazing ways, but it goes nowhere without a strong, safe, and trusting student-teacher bond. Relationships matter!