Connection Makes Learning Stick

I just listened to a great “Ted Talks Education” presentation given by Rita F. Pierson. 

Rita spoke about the value of making connections with our students, reminding us that learning is not going to stick if you haven’t made a connection with your students. It really is all about building relationships. Think back to your schooling. Who are the teachers that made a difference for you? Did they build a relationship with you or let you know that you were special?
Rita’s daily mantra that the students repeated along with her was:

Rita F. Pierson: Educational trainer, motivational speaker, author

I am somebody.
I was a somebody when I was born.
I’ll be a better somebody when I leave.
I am powerful and strong.
I deserve the education I get.
I have things to do, people to impress and places to go.
What a powerful gift she gave her students!
Michael Grinder, an inspirational educator who wrote ENVoY, a book about classroom management, also states that Rapport is everything!
If you are not an educator, but a parent, a co-worker, a friend, it is still about making connections. People remember you not by how much you earn or where you live, but by how nice you are as a person. I know my daughters cringe when I compliment someone I don’t even know. What did it cost me? Nothing! But it might have made the day for someone else. I challenge you to go up to a stranger and just compliment them. It might seem strange, but if the compliment gets lost on them, so what. You may never know the affect your kind words had on them, but it is worth a try. What do they say about positive people? Oh yeah, they attract positive things in their life!
Connect with people in your life.

If you are a teacher starting out a new year, take that time to build rapport. Get to know your students. The learning will happen. What did Rita say? “Kids don’t learn from teachers they didn’t like.”
When we were creating the song “In Your Hands,” a song to thank teachers for the job they do, we were brainstorming all the important things teachers taught us. To me, the most powerful line in the song is: “ I saw reflected in your eyes, the somebody I could be.”
I wonder if there is was a teacher who made a difference for you and helped shape you into who you are today?

All the best, 

P.S.: Watch Rita's TED Talk at


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