1.5 Create an effective learning relationship

mod1-respectThe literature very clearly asserts that the relationship between students and preceptors is an essential component in an effective placement experience. Students who feel comfortable with and trusting of their supervisors tend to be much more engaged in their learning, more able to take chances, talk about and learn from mistakes, and generally feel more confident in their abilities. One component that was voiced over and over again by students was the need to feel respected by their preceptor, and the difference that this made in their learning process [1]. While respect sounds like an obvious concept, it can sometimes be difficult to quantify or describe behaviors that clearly connote it.

Here are some ideas for establishing and maintaining respect:

  • Show interest and curiosity in your student
  • Take what they say seriously (which first requires careful listening)
  • Refrain from judging them in any way
  • Be unconditionally supportive, keeping in mind that support can come in the form of constructive feedback
  • Correct behaviours, not the person
  • Whenever possible, use warmth and humor
  • Embrace difference

Darling-Hammond, L., Orcutt, S., et al. (n.d.). Feelings Count: Emotions and Learning. Stanford University School of Education, 5. 89-104. Available online: http://www.learner.org/courses/learningclassroom/support/05_emotions_learning.pdf