Yes, that is how our story starts. No joke.
Over the past 25 years, having worked with thousands of people in our roles, we have shared countless stories between us. During and after these countless debriefs, we have recognised one enduring thought: When working with people, relationship is of utmost importance. Whether it is working with a client or teaching a child, one could perhaps technically be doing a terrific job but the relationship (or the lack of it) makes things (im)possible.
Recognising the importance of the interpersonal dimension is nothing new. We all remember the respect, gratitude, inspiration or similar warm feelings when we think of our favourite teacher. Or student. And we all probably have examples on the other side of the spectrum too. Ugh …
After many years of debriefs and conversations, we thought: If relationships are so important, why don’t we join forces to explore, illuminate further this crucial part of teaching and learning and perhaps offer our expertise in building relationships to people in need?
We asked: who would be interested in our work? Pre-service teachers and recent graduates? Teachers struggling with particular student, group? Teachers who just want to get things off their chest to someone who understands teachers’ work but without the pressure of saying the ‘right’ (or wrong) thing? Teachers who want to get better at building relationships to enhance student learning and their own wellbeing? School administrators who would appreciate having around someone with the skill and capacity to work with staff on building relationships? Researchers working, teaching in this area? And more ...
Armed with a wealth of research in what seems to be a growing field and our own rich experiences as a psychologist and a teacher, we formed our own consultancy. We are starting small, for many good reasons. Quality is one of them.
For all our experience, and perhaps because of it, we are also hungry to learn further and connect. Our workshop on relational teaching got accepted to the prestigious 2018 AARE (Australian Association for Research in Education) conference in Sydney in December. At the conference, we planned to introduce the PCRK model of teaching. This conceptual model adds the relational knowledge to Shulman's seminal pedagogical-content knowledge (PCK) model as the essence of teacher's work. Unfortunately, we had to decline attendance but we sincerely hope to connect with people working in the areas of relationships and work of teachers to critique and develop the concept further.
So … the psychologist and the teacher are kicking off on a shared journey. We hope to speak, connect with you as colleagues, fellow researchers, clients perhaps, but most of all people who realise, study and promote the importance of relationship in the process of education and beyond.