Social-emotional learning shows real staying power in our schools and classrooms, and social-emotional skills can be taught. One core social-emotional skill is social perspective taking, the capacity to make sense of others’ thoughts and feelings. These are the straightforward messages of Dr. Hunter Gehlbach’s article, “Learning to Walk in Another’s Shoes,” recently published in Phi Delta Kappan and profiled in the Marshall Memo. In the article, Professor Gehlbach (University of California, Santa Barbara and Director of Research at Panorama Education) outlines three actionable priorities for teaching students the social-emotional skill of social perspective taking.
The social connections between teachers and students are critical for success inside and outside of the classroom. Over the last year and a half, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of student survey responses to questions about students’ relationships with their teachers. In this post, we present our first set of findings on teacher-student relationships. This analysis points to patterns in how students’ perceptions of their relationships with their teachers change across grade level, and how some exceptionally strong teachers manage to create and maintain strong bonds with their students.
For many schools and districts, teacher observations can be a source of frustration and tension. Best Foot Forward, a research project at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, is trying to change that. By using video and other tools and strategies, Best Foot Forward seeks to create collaborative school cultures about giving and receiving feedback on instructional practice without placing additional burdens on administrative or teacher time. Best Foot Forward used Panorama’s survey platform and reports to complement their work on teacher observations, and to provide a more well-rounded look at effective teaching.
Many of us have been lucky enough to develop close connections with one or more important teachers in our lives. Panorama’s director of research, Hunter Gehlbach, studies how important it is for both students and teachers to feel that they have something in common with each other in order to form strong bonds. Hunter spoke to NPR’s Shankar Vedantam on the podcast Hidden Brain about his research on why teacher-student relationships matter and the colleague who led him to these important findings.
A student perception survey represents a powerful source of feedback for educators and administrators. As student surveys play a greater role in classrooms, schools, and districts, it’s integral to understand the ways that survey instruments can (but don’t always) reflect nuanced differences in student perceptions.