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Connect before you Direct

Question from Quora: Do you think students these days require a human connection with the authority figures in their lives more than previous generations?


Why? In previous generations families sat down together at meals and talked to each other. This is a time to connect with each other, not just eat. We all need a connection with others in our lives that care about us. If everyone is so busy and distracted that they don’t really listen deeply or give eye contact then a person can feel

alone and isolated even if they are surrounded by people.

I remember when I was team teaching at a project-based learning school, had 60 students in a large classroom, and asked my students to share a learning point at the dinner table that night when they got home. The immediate response was a collective laughter. When I asked them what was so funny students explained to me that they did not sit down and eat together, ever.

I asked if any students had dinner together with their families and out of 60 students not one raised their hand. My husband and I had made a conscious decision to sit down with our 3 children every night so this was a surprise to me. No t.v., no cell phones on, no Ipad, computer, etc… We had just each other. Our standard question was, “What was your high today and your low?” Sometimes there was no high or low, just a neutral. Either way, we discussed it. We all answered the question. We had active conversation every night. Yes, we had soccer practices, baseball, 4-H, etc.. but we still kept up this practice even if dinner was late or was a quick grab at a fast-food restaurant.

As a teacher, I made it the most important part of my teaching practice to connect with my students. This could be as simple as pulling up a stool in front of my science demonstration table, sitting, getting eye contact with the entire class and saying, “Hi.” My students got used to this good habit and we all appreciated it.

Final Thought: From a behavioral training expert: “Connect before you direct.”

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