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Building trust, setting expectation

Filed under: Ako | Effective teachers

Tags: Te Mana Kōrero



John Russell – Principal Kapiti College

Well the core of it is about trust, and it’s about respect. And until you establish that, where there is a sense of, “I want to learn from you, and I want to learn from the other people, and we are going somewhere together”. It’s no different to a team ethos on the sports field or anything else. You know, “We are here for a purpose, and we trust each other enough to get on with that purpose”.

Barbara Knight – Teacher Kapiti College

They know if you care or not. I mean, they won't bother talking to you if they know that you're not interested. I mean, they've got plenty of mates they could be talking to. But they enjoy talking to teachers they get along well with.

Paora Trim – Teacher Kapiti College

They need to know there is someone that is going to be there for them. And without that they can quite often feel lost.


The starting point for a positive relationship between teacher and student can be some simple courtesies.

Tony Renshow – Teacher Rotorua Lakes High School

I've tried now to get to my class, be there waiting for them, have a quick kōrero with them as they walk in. If I make some reference to something that has happened the day before, just treat them as an individual really as they come in, try and be cheerful and not too grumpy, even if I might not be feeling like it. Just establishing a rapport before they've even got their books out kind of thing.

Rachel Aratema – Teacher Rotorua Lakes High School

If a Māori student sees a teacher who is non Māori make an effort to pronounce their name, that actually, for me, ... used to make me feel good, and I think that shows the student that the teacher cares.

Paora Trim

I believe that it’s important to have a non intimidating environment in the classroom. I never want a child to feel afraid of asking a question or making a mistake. And I think in order to do that, you've got to create that type of environment.

Tony Renshaw

I also think it’s important that they are supportive of each other. If a particular child wants to give an answer, that they are not ridiculed for that answer. Support and tolerance of each other to me, from me, to each other, amongst the kids.

Paora Trim

Deep down they may... sometimes when they get told off for something that they have done – they may not like it, but I think, deep down they realise that it was necessary.


Building the students’ belief in their own potential is critical. Just what is the message that students are getting?

Paora Trim

Goals are vitally important, and encouraging them all the time. You know, there’s that old saying, “Tell a kid enough times that he's an idiot, eventually he will start to believe it”. If you do tell a kid enough times: “You can do it”, well of course, eventually they are going to believe it.

Gaye Byers – Literacy facilitator Northland

For me, I make the analogy with high achievement in children to a rugby match. Where we have a rugby team, we have a rugby goal. And if our rugby team is not fit enough, we don't move the goal towards the team, we in actual fact train and coach that team. And it’s the same with children's achievement. If children are not quite getting there, we don't move our achievement towards them – we train and coach them to become better and better and better.

Tony Renshaw

I can't do anything about what happened at home, or on the way to school. I can't do anything about some of the systems in the school that maybe don't suit these kids. But as the person standing in front of them for an hour, charged with teaching them a little bit of maths, I can certainly make some changes.

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