The quality of human relationships at the University and its impact on learning
Conference contribution, 2009
In this paper I summarize the contributions of a number of speakers at this conference who have addressed the question of human relationships at the University. I also argue for the importance of the conference itself. In addition I refer to some of my own research that backs up the importance of improving the quality of human relationships at the university. Although many factors impinge on the students well being and intellectual progress humane and skillful teaching is probably the most important. In my research I analyzed the responses from one hundred tertiary teachers who were asked to write about an exemplary teacher they have known. The responses covered all levels of teaching and confirmed much of the research that has been carried at this conference. The writers stressed, for example, the need for a deep knowledge of one's subject and the ability to clearly communicate that knowledge, but also to a surprising degree cited much more personal and human qualities among those they appreciated in their ‘exemplary teachers’. These qualities inspired and motivated the learner long after the content of the lessons themselves had been forgotten.
education and human relationships