Building positive relationships

What makes a relationship positive and why are positive relationships important?

Table of Contents

Building positive relationships


The key to any relationship is communication. Poor communication is often the cause of many relationship problems. Many teachers are adept at communicating effectively with pupils and students, but can be less successful when talking with other adults. Before you can begin to work on your communication skills, you first need to understand what helps you and what prevents you from communicating effectively.

You have already identified your own triggers and reactions and are looking to recognise and control your own defence mechanisms.

Think about the people you enjoy communicating with: your friends, family and colleagues. Try and identify skills, attitudes and values that they employemploy to make communication so easy. Write them down under the following heading:

Aids to communication

Next think about the people you struggle to communicate with. Again, reflect on the skills, attitudes and values they employ, which make communication so difficult. Write them down next to your previous column, under the heading:

Barriers to communication

Communicators Aids to communication Barriers to communication

Look at your table in full. This will give you a clearer understanding of what you need to be able to communicate well. You can then focus on techniques to break down the barriers to communication.

Breaking down barriers

  • avoid assumptions
  • agree ‘rules’ of communication before speaking i.e. charterhouse rules, no interruptions, length of responses
  • focus on facts, rather than emotions (where possible)
  • give space and time to others speaking
  • use ‘I’ statements – take ownership of what you say
  • respect yourself and others’ right to speak
  • listen (see listening)
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