Social Media & Relationships

Hey all! This is a video that I recently came across that delivered very valuable messages to educators…

Rita Pierson, a very experienced educator, explains the importance of teachers creating real relationships with their students. Some of the comments she made really struck me, such as “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship,” “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” and “everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult.” This reminded me that no matter how much time we take into understanding the curriculum, lesson planning, the policies and procedures that guide us in our teacher, and all the technicalities behind teaching, we must always prioritize building relationships with our students. Without building relationships, there will be minimal learning occurring within our classrooms. This also reminded me of a motivational speaker, Keith Hawkins, who used to always visit my high school and deliver empowering messages. He once said, “we often do not remember what happened, but we always remember how it made us felt.”  This has stuck with me over the years as it relates to just about everything, especially teaching. When I think back to all the teachers I have had, the best ones that come to mind are the ones who truly made me feel like what I brought into the class was valuable and meaningful. Rita and Keith remind us that above all else, we need to genuinely care about teaching our students in order for them to genuinely care about learning.

In this video, Rita Pierson also said, “you see, ‘-18’ sucks all the life outta ya, ‘+2’ says I ain’t all bad” when sharing a story about one of her students who only answered 2 out of 20 questions correctly on a quiz. I immediately thought that this is absolutely true. The way we speak, including the words we choose to use and the tone of our voices are incredibly influential on students. Something so simple as having a student look at what he/she did right, as opposed to only seeing what he/she did wrong, can have a profound effect on the student. Rita also discussed the effect of “seeking first to understand instead of waiting to be understood,” which I thought to be something so simple yet so valuable as an educator. I believe that if you walk into a classroom with the mindset that you can learn from students just as much as they can learn from you, you will not only create a bidirectional relationship with your students, but also create a successful and healthy learning environment.

Speaking of building relationships, I think social media is a create resource to facilitate positive relationships among the school community. In class, we have consistently been discussing the use of technology in today’s classrooms. The use of social media is particularly interesting to me, as I have never experienced learning in an elementary classroom where social media was used as a learning material. While researching for new, innovative ways that teachers are utilizing social media in their classroom, I came across a bunch of really cool websites. Here are just a few:

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.22.40 PM50 Ways to Use Twitter In the Classroom

I’ve learned through this website that Twitter can be a great way to relay information to your students, whether it be announcing updates to assignments, deadlines, expectations, further instructions, etc. It is also a great network for teachers, students, and even parents to have discussions. Parents can easily access important information about what is going on in their child(ren)’s classrooms. Teachers can also use Twitter to post other resources, such as videos, websites, etc that are useful and beneficial for their students to look through.

The Facebook Guide For TeachersScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.24.10 PM

This website explains excellent ways for teachers to use Facebook in their classroom. The class can create their own Facebook page where they can form an online community and share their ideas, questions, comments, and concerns with one another. Students can also use Facebook to create pages where they can conduct surveys, gather data, and make group chats. Additionally, students can make study groups where they can help one another out before tests, assignments, presentations, etc.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.17.26 PMInstagram Classroom Student Activity Ideas

Instagram was one of the social media networks that I never really imagined to be useful inside a classroom. However, this website provided very creative ways to create activities that are instagram-based. Some of the activities suggested by the website are to take a picture of students recreating a famous piece of artwork, ask students to act as photojournalists at a school function, and ask students to express their thoughts and ideas through images. These are simple activities that I could imagine being very useful in today’s classroom, as children nowadays have the ability to creatively use technology in new and unique ways.

These were just a few of the many online resources out there that can help teachers incorporate social media into their classroom. I believe that social media can really help foster a community within each classroom, as it provides students with many different outlets to express, share, and communicate their creativity and ideas.

Happy learning!



3 thoughts on “Social Media & Relationships

  1. Hi Nikki,

    I really enjoyed reading your insightful blog post! I have actually seen that TED Talks video you posted before, and I have to agree with you about what a valuable message it sends to educators. As you stated, “no significant learning can be done without a significant relationship” was one of my favourite quotes that really stuck with me after watching this video. I think in order to establish a welcoming and friendly atmosphere within your classroom, you need to be prepared to make connections with your students and know who you are teaching on an individual level. To back this up, Drake, Reid and Kolohon (2014) even discuss the importance of knowing both the curriculum and students in the textbook.

    I also really enjoyed the links you included in your blog that discussed different ways of incorporating social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter into the classroom. I think being able to incorporate technology and social media in the classroom is significant as it is something students tend to enjoy, can relate to and find relevant to their everyday lives.

    Thanks for sharing!



  2. Very interesting video, Nikki!

    Relationships are definitely a very important part of education. From my personal experience, I never really learned from teachers I didn’t like. The lack of relationship left me disengaged. I didn’t care to learn, if the teacher didn’t care to teach.

    One quote, Rita mentioned was from a fellow teacher – “They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach.” This is very concerning to me. Through what we’ve learned, the most effective tool to teach students it’s to get on their level! They are willing to open up to someone and be successful – only if they respect, trust and have a personal relationship with that teacher.

    Similarly to you, the best teachers I experienced, were the ones I respected. Why did I respect them? Because they respected me and my education.

    – Matt


  3. I found the woman in the video so entertaining! I can totally understand why her students feel a connection to her if she is half as entertaining as she was here!

    I agree with you, I found that there were a lot of points she made that impacted me on a large scale and I think that’s because of my personal experience of being a student as well. I LOVED what she said about the “+2” comment; encouraging students to feel good about what they did do, rather than focus on what they were not able to achieve. If every teacher did this, I think that we would have a less competitive classroom. Obviously this is not a black and white situation where having a more co-operative or group focused classroom is necessarily better than having a competitive one (in terms of ‘real world’ situations) but I think that angling away from everyone worrying about their grades and working towards focusing on their learning is a start in the right direction. After all, we’re encouraged in our own class to learn rather than work towards a grade.

    I like the links you posted for technology in the classroom. I, too, have been noticing a lot of recent posts through twitter and pinterest about how to creatively incorporate these social media devices into student learning. The instagram one interests me the most I think because it could really capture the students point of views on issues and matters! I remember seeing a post (I think it was on pinterest) where the students were required to gain perspective of their characters in the current books they were reading. To do this, the teacher instructed the students to go ‘into the world’ with their phones and take selfies and pictures that would represent their characters so as to develop a line of thinking other than their own. I immediately thought of the critical literacy where students are encouraged to think beyond what the author writes in the text about the characters and their situations.

    Great post!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s