Relationship is Fundamental
The importance of relationship carries on through constructivist, traditional, religious, military, and non-traditional models. It is so fundamental, in fact, that it could be said that the ability to form positive and nurturing relationships with students is the sine qua non of a student-centered approach. The primary importance of relationship is also a well established factor in research on the development of resilience in children.
Seeking to identify the factors that allow some children to thrive despite traumatic histories, the one factor that can, as been repeatedly demonstrated., reliably increase the chances of a healthy adjustment is the presence of at least one connected and caring adult. This recognition has even found its way into some of our public policy documents. Consider, for example, the following statement from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“Possibly the most critical element to success within a school environment is a student developing a close and nurturing relationship with at least one caring adult. Students need to feel that there is someone whom they know, to whom they can turn, and who will act as an advocate for them.”