Getting kids to learn is about relationships

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor
May 8th, 2013

“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” says Rita Pierson, a veteran educator and recent TED Talks Education speaker. According to Pierson, connecting with students on a real, human level is the key to improving student performance.

Pierson, who’s been a professional educator for 40 years, has worked at every level of the public school spectrum from elementary through high school. Having been in education for such a long time, she says she’s witnessed many changes, all aimed at school improvement and boosting student performance.

“Needless to say, not all the suggestions have been sensible,” she says in a recent CNN article.

(Next page: Pierson’s TED video on what teaching means)

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2 Responses to “Getting kids to learn is about relationships”

May 8, 2013

I understand that liking someone increases the possibility of learning from them, but I don’t agree that children “don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Children learn all kinds of things under diverse circumstances. In some cases they learn how “not to be” from people they don’t like; in a sense a “reverse mentor.”

They can also learn from people they love with their hearts, but don’t like with their heads such as an abusive parent.

kenneth relihan
May 8, 2013

Did this person never have a demanding or irascible teacher who rubbed the wrong way but gained students’ respect because of enthusiasm, dedication, and/or knowledge? I had several teachers I “did not like” who I learned a lot from. And some I liked whom I didn’t learn from. Respect is key. Pierson’s pedagogy is flawed.