Featured Insights Nov 2

5 ways to build trust in the classroom

Step into a classroom where there’s trust between students and their teacher, and you’ll notice a more engaged environment. That’s because a feeling of trust empowers students. When they know that their teacher is there for them and is invested in their learning goals and overall success, students feel a sense of safety to participate and raise their hands even if they aren’t sure about the answer. 

Building trust is a key way to help students connect with the material in the classroom as the school year progresses. And, when students know that someone is listening to them, they feel like they matter and can deal better with day-to-day challenges. With last week’s National Mentoring Day on October 27, it’s a good time to remember that when there are meaningful connections in the classroom, students have improved academic, social, and economic prospects (Mentoring.org).

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled 5 ways to help build trust in your classroom:


  • Start by building a classroom community. Creating trust means that first and foremost, students have to feel safe when they walk into your classroom. You can focus on making your classroom a space that is welcoming and encouraging. As Search Institute recommends, a good place to begin is with an intentional group-building activity designed for trust building. The Get to Know You and Establish Group Norms activity takes just 30 minutes, and provides a way for everyone to find out what they have in common and what makes them unique. 
  • Engage with students on their level. Students are going to feel more comfortable and connected with teachers who understand their interests. For example, this Edutopia author notes that “one thing I like to do while I prepare learning activities is to recall what it was like to be my students’ age (high schoolers) and try to anticipate some potential responses. I then incorporate those into the design of the learning activities.” Keep in mind that your students are unique individuals, and each class may respond to different areas of connection.
  • Ask for student inputs. Research shows that when students have a say in their learning experiences, they are likely to develop stronger life skills and have an increased sense of autonomy, belonging, and competence (Mager and Nowak, 2012; Conner, Posner, and Nsowaa, 2022). You can start by simply asking your students questions about how they think and feel, and how they are experiencing the classroom material—and you can use a free tool like Along! Showing your students that you’re listening goes a long way to building trust.
  • Respond to student inputs. Once you’ve opened the doors of communication with students, it’s critical to acknowledge and respond to them. When students share about themselves and what matters to them, they need to know that they are heard. Within Along, educators can directly let their students know that they heard them by sending a reply or sending a fun sticker. You can also acknowledge student inputs directly in class. 
  • Adjust classroom experiences. And finally, after educators hear and acknowledge their students, they should follow up with direct actions that take those student inputs into account. If, for example, an educator asks their students, “What do you wish you had more of a say about in class?,” they may hear answers such as “the topics we learn about,” the types of activities we do,” or “the pace we work at.” A next step for educators would be to take those student insights and make real adjustments to their classroom instruction.


The team at Along is here to show you that there’s a free tool for building those stronger connections in your classroom—today! We’d love to show you a free demo or answer any questions you may have at support@along.org. 

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