About Steve Carr

Good Relationships equal Great Progress

The greatest complement I ever heard from many of my students was that my classrooms were the ‘safest place to be’.

…when students (and teachers) feel safe that they will risk everything in the service of their own development.

Once understood, the psychology that drives humans to connect and relate to one another, can transform teaching and learning.

And it’s not complicated. In simple terms, there are three guiding principles

  1. Learning provokes anxiety but is also the fuel every pupil needs in order to  learn. The teacher’s fundamental role is to regulate and harness anxiety so everyone can feel safe enough to take risks.
  2. Social conditions and environments created between teacher and learner can limit learning. Pupils look for kindness, safety and learning they can enjoy – even when that enjoyment is about completing difficult and challenging tasks. When the teacher keeps these elements in balance, learning accelerates.
  3. Sometimes learning anxiety can become overwhelming. When this happens, students (and teachers) revert to infantile defence mechanisms that block clear and open communication.  When these defences are recognised and responded to rather than reacted to, pupils open up to deeper learning experiences.

These principles  are grounded in 6 great years of MA research into the link between child development and life-long learning and many years creating great relationships with literally thousands of students.   I now run accredited professional development workshops for teachers, teams and school leaders to help put the power of positive human relationships at the heart of their practice.

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