Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students


'2007. Students of Colegio Calasanzio with their teacher in the Galician traditional music workshop' photo (c) 2007, Iria Flavia Spanish Courses - license:

I regularly emphasize the importance of building relationships with students — in my teaching practice, here in my blog, and in my books. It’s a reflection of my nineteen-year community organizing career — we say that organizing is just another name for relationship-building.

I thought it might be useful to share some related resources — both showing research and providing “how-to” suggestions. Feel free to suggest others.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students:

Robert Marzano has a short and useful article in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership. It’s titled Relating to Students: It’s What You Do That Counts.

The Power of Positive Relationships is by Tara Brown, and appeared in Middle Ground.

Resilience, Research, and Educational Reform is by Sue Truebridge at ASCD.

The Relationship Balance by Cindi Rigsbee at Educational Leadership.

Here are some of my own posts on the topic:

Communicating With Students

I’ve Never “Motivated” A Student

“Be Niiiiiicccccceeeee”

The Value Of Sharing Positive Events

The Key To Disaster Survival? Friends And Neighbors is an NPR report on a new study documenting the importance of relationships. Though it doesn’t talk specifically about relationships and educations, the connections are pretty obvious.

Relationships Matter by Sean Slade is not a new study, but is an excellent compilation of studies highlighting the importance of positive teacher/student, family/school, teacher/teacher, and student/student relationships.

And If You Need Even More Evidence That Relationship-Building Is Important In The Classroom….

Five Practices for Building Positive Relationships With Students is from Ed Week Teacher.

Science Reveals the Power of a Handshake is from Science Daily.

Teacher-Student Relationships and Student Achievement
is a very useful research paper.

This comic strip shows the importance of knowing our students’ “passwords,” and the only way for us to learn them is through building relationships.

Source: via Larry on Pinterest

What Relationships Mean in Educating Boys is an Ed Week report on two studies finding that the relationship between a teacher and a young male student is particularly important in creating positive learning experiences.

Best Teaching Is Based on Relationships is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

My latest Ed Week Teacher column brings together all my posts there from the past three years on the topic of “relationships.”

Get to Know Your Teachers, Kids is from the Atlantic and discusses the results of a new study.

10 Seconds: The Time It Takes a Student to Size You Up is by Peter DeWitt at Education Week.

Discipline to Build Student Relationships is from Connected Principals.

The Harvard Business Review published a short article titled The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations. Read the article, which includes the chart in the tweet below. How are we doing in our conversations with students?

Experiment Tests If Teacher-Student Relationship Helps Performance is from NPR.

Statistic Of The Day: The Importance Of Teacher-Student Relationships

New Study Says Teacher-Student Relationship In Fifth Grade Sets Stage For Future Behavior

New Study Shows Intervention Has Big Impact On “Achievement Gap” – Also Shows Shortcomings Of Ed Research

New Study Reaffirms What Teachers Know: Relationships Matter

Another Unsurprising Research Result: Students Less Likely To Drop-Out If Teachers Encourage Them To Continue

Study: Teachers Have Fewer Good Relationships With “immigrants and adolescents of color”

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Better advice then the “just be mean” advice I always got from other teachers. That fine line of stern but not rude, approachable but not a friend is very hard to master.

  2. Pingback: Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching « Cool Teaching Jobs

  3. Thank you for all your “best of” collections, but today, thank you especially for this one. So much research compiled for me to work with. Much appreciated!

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