Interpersonal Relationships at School
Interpersonal relationships are a critical part of human socialization at all levels of life (Moolenaar, Daly and Sleegers, 2012. Being a social animal, man has to create friendship that encourages consummate and productive relationship. Intriguingly, this relationship starts from the basic social institutions that include the family and the school. The school environment calls for fruitful interpersonal relationships, which have been argued to improve the performance of students. In addition, good interpersonal relationships at school are vital in reinforcing collaboration and cooperation efforts between the teacher and the students, among students, and among students, teachers and other supportive staffs in schools. Consequently, understanding forces necessary for development of a good interpersonal relationship at school is a vital call. In addition, it is also imperative to determine probable challenges that should be addressed with the aim of reinforcing fruitful interpersonal relationships at schools. Therefore, the aim of this paper will be to analyzed factors surrounding development and sustenance of worthwhile interpersonal relationships at school.
Nature of Interpersonal Relationships at School
Schools forms one of the most diverse environments for interaction and socialization. The idea of a school being comprised of different categories of student drawn from different levels of social platforms increases the complexity of interaction. Students face challenges in identifying their right relationship partners among a sea of unique colleagues. It is arguably true that the social background has an impact on childs upbringing. These differences in social and family backgrounds result to children with different values, principles, taste, understanding of life, and life priorities. However, all these differences have been masked in a school environment, which also present different culture with different values and principle. Therefore, unlike family or marriage relationship where the number of parties involved brings little complexities, relationships at school are a bit complicated.
Among the most common interpersonal relationship in school include the a) student-student relationship, b) student-teacher relationship, c) student/teacher-supportive staff relationships, and d) peer groups relationships. All these relationship are vital in enhancing a harmonious environment that can improve academic performance, which remains the main goal of schooling. Student-student relationships are important in developing a group that can rhyme and assist each other in achieving their goals. In addition, interpersonal relationships between groups generate a platform of competition and moral support necessary for advancement in life. According to Moolenaar, Daly and Sleegers, 2012, students look for different aspects in reinforcing or initiating a relationship amongst themselves. Homophily, which is a term describing the likeness among students, is one of the approaches that determine student-student relationships. Interpersonal relationships are believed to be stronger when birds of a feather flocks together. In such cases, there are minimal differences between the parties in the relationship. Consequently, there will be reduced conflicts of interests among the members. Therefore, it is easy to identify students from rich families together or those in music class being closer than those from different classes. There are forces that draw and cement interpersonal relationship close.
Interpersonal relationship between teacher and student is always a beneficial, but professionalism should be observed. Teachers should encourage respectful and objective relationship at school with the main goal being to enhance school performance. Moolenaar, Daly and Sleegers, 2012, argue that teachers have an obligation to instill values of respect, honesty and trust among students. These values are vital pivots of future relationships. In addition, teachers should not create an environment of fear at school, which can be detrimental both psychologically and academically. In this respect, teachers should encourage a free interaction among all student members with the aim of bridging interpersonal differences among students. The issue of discrimination or segregation in school should not be given a chance. This will ensure that all students in a school have developed strong interpersonal skills that can break any barriers to future relationships. School being a learning environment, students should be offered a chance to generate consummate interpersonal approaches for future purposes.
Apart from teachers and student communities, a school has other significant personalities that have an impact on school interpersonal relationship. The supportive staffs that include cooks, gatekeepers, caretakers, coaches, drivers, and cashiers among others have a significance impart on interpersonal relationships in school. Students tend to ignore or disrespect supportive staffs with you cannot punishment or you do not matter feeling. However, it is how student relate to these individuals that determine their level of maturity in respecting others. Respect should not be accorded to those who can punish in case one becomes disrespectful. Instead, respect should be a universal value regardless of others status quo in the society.
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Challenges In Developing Interpersonal Relationship at School
One of the main challenges of effective interpersonal relationship in school is low self-esteem especially among students. Student from lower grades, novices, new students, poor performers and those identified to have certain disabilities are the most affected by poor self-esteem. Low self-esteem results to cases of bullying in school where some student who identify themselves as peer leaders acts to humiliate others. These humiliations episodes add to the effect of achieving an effective interpersonal relationship in school. Ideally, the teachers should come in defense for affected students and encourage assertiveness among students. Occasionally, teachers also face episodes of low self-esteem especially when dealing with know it all students or student willing to outshine their teachers for pride purposes. Consequently, such teachers will reflect poor interpersonal relationship at school, which may impact negatively on students performance and teachers ability to deliver.
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According to Rubin, Bowker, and Fredstrom, 2008, effective communication skills are imperative in developing a good relationship. In a century characterized by multinational and multiethnic students in most of the learning institutions, language barrier is one of the factor hindering effective communication skill. International students face difficulties adapting to a new environment where they have to familiarize and master the new language. The local students on the other hand face a challenge of simplifying their language for the benefit of the international students. Therefore, language becomes a point of concern in establishing interpersonal relationships at school. This challenge also is faced by international teachers, who despite their masterly of the course content, they may be faced with pronunciation challenges.
Gifford-Smith and Brownell, 2003, identified ability to network among as another factor determining interpersonal relationship developments in schools. Differences in social class are an issue that plays a critical role in socializing at school. In addition, student from same neighborhood associate more than those from distance origins. Therefore, depending with factors that limit the degree of networking, different people will demonstrate different levels of interpersonal relationships at school.
Rubin, Bowker, and Fredstrom, 2008, also argue that the race and ethnicity have an influence on friendship development. Student will tend to associate with people that have been associated with superiority or those that their family members praise. On another aspect, interpersonal relationship between races and people of different ethnicity may arise as a result of curiosity. Student may want to understand more about a race, hence they engage in developing a relationship with the aim of winning their sources trust. Hay, Payne and Chadwick, 2004, also agree with the notion that cultural differences especially race and ethnicity is a major challenge in developing interpersonal relationship at school. This challenge is mainly sourced from stereotypical ideations and prejudices.
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Approaches of Strengthening Interpersonal Relationships at School
Interpersonal relationship at school can be strengthened through teaching language and effective communication and interpersonal skills. Language learning is imperative in determining the best terms to use so that a person may not convey a wrong message. Effective communication and interpersonal skills are are the answer to breaking personal barriers to interpersonal relationships. With effective communications skill, parties at school community can manage to encourage other to participate in social activities.
Organizing activities that are meant to bring school community together. Such activities may include games and sports, entertainment forums, coffee and lunch breaks, community services and outreach among others. Such forums have been identified by Hay, Payne and Chadwick, 2004, to reduce the effects of individual characteristics that affect the establishment of an interpersonal relationship. Hay, Payne and Chadwick, 2004, argue that personal factors such as aggressiveness, loneliness, and emotionality have a negative impact on development of interpersonal relationship. Therefore, bringing people together helps dissolve these differences. In addition, through frequent socialization and participating in group activities, individuals are able to understand their colleagues better than before socialization.
School should have policies that promote the culture of respect among members of the school community. Individual members should tolerate and appreciate the diversity among their colleagues. In addition, school policies should be strong enough to zero out cases of bullying, discrimination and injurious punishments. These are some of the primary factors that impact negatively on development of good interpersonal relationship.
In conclusion, school communities should enhance interpersonal relationship. Among the dimensions of interpersonal relationships that are evidenced in school include relationship among students, between a student and a teacher, among teachers, and among teachers, students and supportive staffs. Teacher and school policies should be focused on promoting development of interpersonal relationships at schools. The school culture should abhor bullying and discriminative behaviors, which are among common forces hindering effective interpersonal relationships at school.