Want to Build Relationships With Your Students? Here’s How.

I led a relational needs training for teachers and staff at La Habra High School recently. The school admin team asked everyone on campus to “create meaningful relationships with all students.”

It was music to my ears. You know my mantra: empower student voice, empower student voice, empower student voice…

But we can’t empower student voice if they don’t feel supported in their relationships with others.

So in the training I shared the key building blocks that I use in my therapy practice to help my clients build stronger relationships, which were taught to me by Dr. David Ferguson, a pioneer in the field and the founder of the relational needs model which I use.

The heart of this model revolves around a simple idea: we all have needs.

You and I (and your staff and your students) are social animals. We live in relationship. We thrive on connection. We want to build meaningful relationships, and the cornerstone of all those wants is the ability to express our own needs and to meet the needs of others.

What are these core needs?

  • Acceptance
  • Affection
  • Appreciation
  • Approval
  • Attention
  • Comfort
  • Encouragement
  • Respect
  • Security
  • Support

We all need these things, and can’t get them on our own.

As you enter the school year, I assume your goals will be similar to the staff at La Habra. You want to create meaningful relationships with your students. So, as you enter the drama and conflict that working on a busy campus can bring, make sure to ask yourself,

“What is this student needing right now?” and “How can I help meet that need for this student?”

A little support goes a long way. Some appreciation can help push the student forward. And offering true comfort can build a bridge in your relationship and across your campus.

If you want to learn more about these needs please CLICK HERE to visit Dr. Ferguson’s website or consider bringing a marriage and family therapist in to discuss this type of approach with your staff. If I can help in any way, please let me know. You can CLICK HERE to download a summary of the relational needs workshop that we offer.

JC Pohl, LMFT-A
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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