Relational Teaching

In our study of Literacy Teacher Educators (LTEs) from four countries, I was intrigued at how some of the LTEs adapted their role as 21st century educators by aligning themselves with key elements of from a pedgogy of multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996; Rowsell, Kosnik & Beck, 2008).  The most dynamic of these key elements for me was the LTE’s commitment to relational teaching.  Cope & Kalantzis (2009), original members of the New London Group stressed the “need for students to bring their own, culturally diverse life interests and knowledge to a learning situation”(p.185).  The LTEs in our study clearly supported this sociocultural notion of multiliteracies education in their classrooms as they made time to understand their student teachers’ lifeworlds through discussion and autobiographical assignments.  However, our LTEs took this concept one step further and consciously attempted to develop meaningful relationships with their students. Our LTEs suggested that developing “one-on-one relationships with the students” and “being closely attentive to what my student teachers are doing and saying is hugely important”.  These priorities indicated, for me, the significance of relational teaching to be a successful LTE in the 21st century.  Cathy

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