BCW teamAgency, Inquiry, learning, Understanding Learners

ABC of Inquiry Building Relationships


ABC OF INQUIRY – BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS “Each of us is a living system within a greater living system, connected to each other in more ways than we can fathom.” This quote by authors Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson reminds that we are connected to so many things and these connections or relationships will influence how we form relationships with people, places, ideas and with identity claims among myriad possibilities. These relationships will underpinsupport and challenge us in the ways we live and  choices we make.

There are endless demands on available teaching time and it can be a juggling act just trying to fit in teaching, problem solving, sports days, arts days, etc.  Making the time to build relationships in a time poor day can seem one extra thing too many. However, given these relationships will underpin everything you and your learners do and experience together, it is time well and wisely spent
You can spend the first few days/lessons of the term building trust relationships and it will save you time throughout the academic year.  Each time you open a new inquiry topic or start a new term together, spending some time together to build trust relationships is like banking your savings to earn interest. Trust relationships that are strong in the classroom, also minimise the amount of micromanagement needed to support learning. Trust relationships are critical if students are to be encouraged, supported and allowed to have agency in the learning community and spaces.
Trust relationships can be developed by:
  • Acknowledging and respecting student input and development into the learning environment
  • Taking time to get to know learners through interesting reflections and games
  • Sitting in the playground and being available for spontaneous chats
  • Encouraging personal touches in the classroom
  • Believing in learners’ resilience and competence and letting them make decisions that affect the learning environment and their own learning choices
  • Developing essential agreements/class rules where all non-negotiable are visible and learners aren’t cajoled or tricked into creating a list that teachers had in mind in the first place
  • Modelling trustworthy actions and always make visible the negotiable and non-negotiable choices 
  • Supporting student choices aboutwhere to sit and who to work with, using negotiated criteria.
  • Being open to mistakemaking anmistake modelling followed by critical or analytical reflections
  • Encouraging and allowing student input anpersonal touches to thlearning environment
  • Read books together just for the fun of it
  • Support and scaffold weekly class meetings to be chaired and run by the students, with the teacher takingon therole of witness and mediator if needed.

BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.

All Rights Reserved © 2018 Beconwiz All ideas and illustrations are the property of BeConWiz.

BeConWiz Ideas and Thoughts by Carla Holmes, Mary-Denese Holmes, Pearl Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at