The best interventions are free.

How do the relationships we have with students affect their achievement?

In John Hattie’s book, Visible Learning, he synthesized a lot of research to look at the relationship between various variables and student achievement. Believe it or not, teacher-student relationships have an incredibly high effect on achievement (.72). In fact, it has a higher effect on student’s achievement than parent income or socio-economic level.

Improving relationships with students doesn’t cost anything and can improve attendance, student achievement, and positive behaviors.

So when you feel you have ran out of resources and are at your wit’s end, try a smile, a handshake, greeting your students at the door and welcoming them into your caring, safe and engaging environment.


5 thoughts on “The best interventions are free.

  1. I think that we (educators) often forget what a huge impact we make on children, Sometimes that impact is positive, and other times it is not. We need to remember that not every child has a positive and encouraging homelife. Sometimes we are the best part of their day. A smile or encouraging word will make a difference to any child, but most profoundly to the child that lacks support and understanding at home. I’m not sure if you have ever met one of our consultants for RCD or Solution Tree, but Tom has done some fabulous work with our district. I bring him up, because he was that child. He speaks to the difference that his teachers made in his life in his TED-x talk. ( If you have time, take a look. He validates your point about the importance of encouragement.


  2. Kristen Spruill wrote an article called “A Teacher’s Influence Is Often Lasting” ( ) for Education World after attending the funeral of a former teacher. Her reminiscence highlights not the academic lessons learned in school, but more importantly the time when they “strayed from the curriculum” to give lessons on life, character, wit, compassion and having a passion for living. Also in a survey done by the ING Foundation found that 98% of Americans said they believe a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life. ( ) According to the survey this is done through building confidence and self esteem, encouraging them to pursue their dreams, serving as a mentor or role model or just “helping them through a rough time.” So, we never know, sometimes by developing that caring and safe environment we may make all the difference in the world.


  3. This is one of the most powerful post I have read this week, and it gets to my core and reason for me being in education for the past 20 plus years. I have always communicated the belief that adult/student relationships have the potential to change, for good and bad, the life of a student.

    As educators we spend a large amount of time with students, in most cases, more than most spend with their own parents. That being said, students look for and up to educators to guide and mentor them.

    I always try my best to connect with students and ask them how their day is going. This simple gesture can be an important part of the student’s day.

    As a director, i work diligently to ensure that my team and staffs recognize the importance of relationships with students and their families.

    At the end it is important to remember that academics is only one component of the what can make a student successful.


  4. Totally agree with your post! As as a district and as site administrators, we need to figure out how we can best support our teachers and what we can take off the teacher’s plates. We have lost that sense of community in our classrooms during the NCLB era with highly structured lesson plans that required instruction on day 1 of school. My students didnt get books the first week of school as we got to know each other and established the policies, rules, and procedures that would govern our room for the year. We also included TRIBES learning community with norms of mutual respect and appreciations. I loved hearing from parents as kids continued the appreciations at home. Our teachers have forgotten how important the teacher – student relationship is with the sole focus being on test scores at all levels. Our teachers have become curriculum deliverers and we are not teaching/nurturing the whole child. While ed reform and tech integration are very important and needed changes to modern day classrooms, we cant lose some of the “old ways” and need to reinvigorate the feeling of community in our classrooms. Awesome post and I love the blog title.

    Liked by 1 person

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