Singapore Institute of Technology

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Re-humanizing higher education classroom teaching: Connecting the humans behind the identity of teachers and students

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posted on 2024-03-16, 07:15 authored by Kian Lip Erick TanKian Lip Erick Tan, R RosmawatiR Rosmawati

Students’ engagement has always been an area of great interest to educators and researchers alike. In their systematic review on a multitude of student engagement indicators, Quin (2017) reported that Teacher-Student Relationship (TSR) is an important factor associated with student engagement and that better TSR translates into enhanced engagement in the classroom. In this presentation we will showcase how we leverage on an aspect of TSR that is important but yet frequently overlooked: the humans behind the social identities of the teacher and student.

Social norms and expectations are often attached to the professional identities of teachers and students, creating an invisible boundary that divides the space and distances the humans behind these roles. Studies have shown that students are more likely to be receptive to learning if the teacher is viewed upon as a person whom they can trust (e.g., Sklar & McMahon, 2019). Consequently, teachers who want to reach their students may ultimately have to reconsider how they can connect with their students beyond the conventional teacher-student identities.

In this presentation, we share how we re-establish the human connection between the teacher and the student by employing specific engagement strategies – namely, physical steps and emotional moves. Physical steps include exiting the podium and entering the learners’ space – we discuss how horizontal, vertical, and circular steps achieve different effects. Emotional moves include relating anecdotes of personal failures and limitations, the purposeful act of seeking assistance from students, and making meaningful use of in-session break time for informal small talks.


Journal/Conference/Book title

58th RELC International Conference 2024

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