Relationships are Everything: 5 Actionable Teaching Strategies

Jan 17, 2024

The PDHPE & CAFS Podcast Episode 83 introduces "Relationships are Everything," focusing on the power of trust as the foundation for transformative teaching in your PDHPE and Community and Family Studies classrooms. We'll discuss the impact of trust-building on student resilience and learning, share personal narratives from 20+ years experience in the classroom and provide practical steps for educators to foster a trustworthy and open classroom culture.

1. Names

Mastering student names swiftly is crucial for creating a personal classroom environment. Employ strategies such as using name tags or a strategic seating chart during the initial weeks. Alternatively, get inventive with interactive activities like rhyming games or personal trait associations, for instance, using clues to remember their names. Engage in these as memory-enhancing exercises, suitable for both PDHPE (Personal Development, Health and Physical Education) and Community and Family Studies educators, or turn it into a full-class activity. More ideas can be found here.

2. Interests

Familiarise yourself with your students' hobbies and pastimes. It's a strategic move for educators, especially for those in PDHPE and Community and Family Studies, to gather insights into their students' interests. This knowledge not only enriches classroom dialogue, but also provides the potential to tailor classroom activities that resonate with students' passions, thereby enhancing engagement and relevance of the lessons.

3. Family

Delve into understanding each student’s family and cultural background. For PDHPE and Community and Family Studies teachers, gaining knowledge about a student’s family dynamics offers valuable context for how they may interact with the curriculum. Exercise sensitivity, however, as some students may prefer to keep personal details private. It’s important to respect their boundaries while remaining open to what they choose to share.

4. Goals

Encourage students to communicate their goals spanning short, medium, and long-term with both their teacher and peers. This practice equips PDHPE and Community and Family Studies teachers with insight into their students' motivations, fostering a collaborative approach to achieving these objectives. Additionally, jointly establishing class expectations can be beneficial, providing an opportunity for students and teachers to openly express their anticipations of one another. This collaborative environment promotes mutual understanding, as opposed to a scenario where the classroom norms are unilaterally determined by the teacher.

The following ‘Ten Things to Know About Me’ could even be used:

  1. These things interest me
  2. When I have free time I like to
  3. When I’m at school I would rather work independently or in cooperative learning groups
  4. I learn best when
  5. I can’t learn when
  6. One learning experience I would like to suggest this year is
  7. My favourite subject at school is
  8. Words that best describe me are
  9. Here are three things that are special about my family
  10. One goal I have for this year is …


5. Environment

Design a classroom that is both practical and stimulating by choosing furniture that blends functionality with comfort and enhances the learning with engaging visual displays and educational posters. Incorporate tangible, interactive resources and create dedicated wellbeing spaces for students to relax and reflect. Foster a culture of positive recognition by adding a Gratitude Jar to the room, where students can deposit notes of thanks, building a collective sense of appreciation. For inspiration and examples of Gratitude Jars, feel free to visit our Instagram or Facebook pages, where we showcase a range of creative ideas of this uplifting classroom addition.