Relational Learning and Great Schools

Head of School

  As has been written and researched by many, learning is critical to both prospering and sustaining. By extension then, the purpose of a school is to ensure the prosperity of the individual, and society’s economic survival. Arguably, this will fail to happen if classrooms are designed as simple information transfer stations.

  A great school, like KBS, must maximize the likelihood that students engage in the learning process. For that to happen, two key criteria must be met:

  1. Learning and the information therein must have meaning.
  2. The learning process must cause an emotional response.

  Students will see information as having meaning to them if it is clear that the information has meaning to the teacher. Teachers accomplish this by allowing themselves to have an emotional attachment to the information they wish to share or concept they wish to explore. If students see and feel their teacher’s emotional attachment then they have a far better chance of creating their own.

  When a student finds meaning at school because of a resulting emotional attachment brought on by their teacher’s passion, and when the teacher and student share ideas and learn from each other, they have an increased chance of learning. This is relational learning.

  The challenge with relational learning lies in doing what KBS does so very well; we find teachers that can connect. A teacher who cannot emotionally connect to the information and learning process of their own classroom, or is unwilling or unable to also be a learner, cannot engage in relational learning and therefore cannot fulfill the purpose of a school.

  It is the connection of the KBS teachers to both the students and the learning that makes us unique as the quality of the educator in any learning environment remains the primary defining characteristic of a great school.

Christopher White

Head of School

Kempenfelt Bay School

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