Though National Mentoring Month is now in our rearview mirror, here at Along we know that relationship building is a year-round activity. That’s why we hosted our latest webinar, “Prioritizing Connections,” to look deeper into how relationship building practices align with learning science and how using Along can build and enhance relationship development.
The event kicked off with an engaging reflection on attendees’ own experiences with mentors, and what makes mentors so impactful in our own lives. Along’s School and District Partnerships Manager, Jared Chandler, shared the common themes that emerged about the power of mentors: they believe in and encourage their mentees; they can push us out of our comfort zones; and they are honest with us.
Along’s Learning and Development Manager, Susan Menkel, noted that when we think about mentoring for educators, the focus should be on “how to show students that we care about them and help them grow. Mentors can help us see possibilities that maybe we didn’t see for ourselves.”
Research has proven the critical impact of effective mentor relationships on students, and confirms what we know to be true in our own lives. When students have positive relationships with their teachers, they are more likely to develop positive social and emotional competencies, feel more motivated and engaged in school, and may perform better academically. As stated by the National Scientific Council of the Developing Child, “Having at least one supportive and caring adult relationship is one of the strongest predictors of resilience to adverse life experiences in a child’s life.”
The Search Institute has identified a framework of the five elements that make relationships powerful in the lives of young people, and form the basis of Along’s content library. The framework’s elements—Express Care, Share Power, Challenge Growth, Expand Possibilities, and Provide Support—also include specific actions for educators to strengthen their connections with their students. These actions center around educators showing their students that they matter to them, treating them with respect, pushing them to keep getting better, broadening their students’ worlds, and helping them meet their goals.
However, building time for relationships can be challenging amidst already busy day-to-day classroom schedules. Along was designed specifically as a free, fun, and fast tool for K-12 educators to develop these important relationships with their students.
To learn more about building teacher-student relationships and to see a demo of Along, please watch the full “Prioritizing Connections” webinar here.