Evidence That It Works
Research suggests that reflecting on feelings of connection can increase our motivation to help others. In one study, a group of people reflected on a time when they felt a strong bond with someone else while another group wrote about a time when they felt especially competent or autonomous. When comparing groups, the participants who reflected on their experience of closeness reported greater feelings of connectedness and concern for others.
So, when teachers reflect on times when they have felt a strong connection with others, they are potentially fueling their drive to practice kindness and compassion.
Why Does It Matter?
Feeling connected to others is considered to be a fundamental psychological need, so it’s important for teachers to experience a sense of connectedness at school—just as much as students. In fact, studies indicate that teachers’ view of their school climate can be linked to their job satisfaction and self-efficacy in the classroom. When teachers feel connected to their colleagues and good about their work, they are more likely to reach out to their students.
In other words, creating a sense of connectedness among staff may have a school-wide ripple effect. Research tells us that a school’s organizational structure and practices can influence adult connections with students (and their sense of school belonging). When students feel connected to their teachers, they report a greater sense of emotional well-being, which can ultimately affect their engagement with others as well as their academic achievement.