Level Up with Moments of Genuine Connection

Educational equity in our mathematics classrooms. That is the goal we’re working towards here at Math Medic Foundation. As a reminder, we’re using the National Equity Project’s1 definition of educational equity: when each child receives what they need to develop to their full academic and social potential. 

We’ve written previously2 about the importance of establishing an equitable classroom culture. There is no doubt that equity improves when our students feel a sense of belonging in our classrooms and a sense of relatedness with each other. In addition to an equitable classroom culture, it is critical that we also cultivate positive relationships with each and every one of our students. 

So, let’s look at a strategy that can help us level up our teacher-student relationships: Moments of Genuine Connection.

Take What You’re Already Doing and Add to it

There is no doubt in my mind that you already know how important it is to establish positive relationships with students. That part isn’t new. But how do we do this most effectively while also being efficient with our time? That is where the Moments of Genuine Connection strategy comes in. I first heard about it from teacher, blogger3, and author4 Dave Stuart Jr. Here is Dave explaining how this strategy works:

Not seeing the video? Click here to view in YouTube.

Breaking it Down

Here are the important aspects of Moments of Genuine Connection:

  • Personal and Academic - we want our students to feel known, valued and respected in both their personal and academic lives, focusing on each realm one at a time. 
  • Moments, not Interviews - These are intended to be moments (30-60 seconds) so that we can connect with each of our students as frequently as possible.
  • Keeping Track - This is critical. Relying on our memory alone is a great way to allow students to slip through the cracks. A simple spreadsheet or clipboard will help us keep track of the students we have and haven't connected with recently.

Again, the concept here isn’t anything new. However, we can bring a renewed emphasis and intentionality to cultivating positive relationships with our students by utilizing the Moments of Genuine Connection strategy. 

Even More Powerful in the Math Classroom?

There is something else that I really like about this strategy. We’ve written previously5 about the power of communicating high expectations to our students who may not have a strong sense of belonging in our classrooms. When we conduct Moments of Genuine Connection with students around their academic lives, we’re able to improve our students’ sense that they belong in our mathematics classrooms by signaling both our care for their academic work and our high expectations for them as students.

The Moments of Genuine Connection strategy is yet another tool in our collective tool belts that we can utilize to improve the educational equity in our classrooms. We hope that you’ll give this worthwhile strategy a try.

Pete Grostic, Ph.D

Executive Director

Please join Math Medic Foundation in our mission to improve math outcomes for all. You can contact us to get involved or donate here.

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1 National Equity Project

2 3 Reasons Why Thinking Classrooms are Equitable Classrooms3 Ways to Combat Implicit Bias and Make Classrooms More Equitable3 Steps to Help Students Engage in Meaningful Dialogue

3 Dave Stuart Jr.'s Blog

4 These 6 Things, The Will to Learn

5 Increase Feelings of Belonging with These Powerful Strategies