Learning Pyramid
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Click the Pyramid to Enlarge

I once had a professor present the idea that we can view the learning process like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid says "Relate".  The most important thing we can do as teachers is to relate to our students.  We must know them, interact with them, try to understand them, listen to them, laugh with them, struggle with them, celebrate with them, etc.  All these things and more help us to build a relationship with each individual child.  

The second level of the pyramid says "model".  We can never assume anything and so must model everything.  This can be looked at in several different ways.  We must model the behaviors we expect from our students.  We must carefully model the steps a student needs to follow to complete a task.  We must model positive thinking and model our expectations.  We cannot just describe or explain our expectations....we must model them if we expect learning to happen.

The final level, the apex of the pyramid, says "teach".  Teaching happens (or to put it another way...students can only truly learn from us) when we have established a relationship with them AND have clearly modelled our expectations.