Culture of Growth: Relational Trust
What is relational trust?
Relational trust refers to the interpersonal social exchanges that take place in a group setting. Research has found it to have a particularly strong impact on student achievement in school communities.
EL Education schools work hard to develop relational trust among the adults and students of the community. Trust is essential if a school is to succeed—both in beliefs and action.
Relational trust is built on movements of the human heart such as empathy, commitment, compassion, patience, and the capacity to forgive.
- I can describe the role of relational trust in a school community.
- I can explain why relational trust is critical for promoting a culture of trust and a growth mindset.
- I can explain structures and practices that promote a culture of trust and a growth mindset.
Watch: Building a Community
As you watch the video below, consider the following questions:
- Why is building strong relationships among adults in a school community so important?
- How do the adult relationships affect the students?
- How does your school intentionally build community among the adults?
- How does a strong adult community support the teachers?
- What does “leading together” mean to you in the context of your school? What would it look like?
Trust in Schools: An EL Education PowerPoint presentation providing an overview of the research and components of relational trust (download provided on this page).
Relational Trust in Schools Overview: A brief overview of the research and components of relational trust.
Omnibus T-Scale: A short measure of three dimensions of faculty trust from Wayne K. Hoy at Ohio State University.
Strategies for Using these Resources to Build Relational Trust: A suggested set of steps for using these tools to educate staff about relational trust and collect and use data to build trust.
This series of questions can be used by a leadership team (district leader and principals, or a principal and group of teacher leaders) to create a plan to build higher levels of relational trust in a school.
- As a leadership team, what is your long-term vision for a school with high levels of relational trust? Define it. What do you see?
- How will you create that vision? What is the long-term plan?
- How will you know when you have achieved success? How will you measure it?
- What is the very next step that the leader (district or building level) will take to build relational trust in the school?
- What is the very next step that the leadership team will take?
- Check—is everyone clear about the plan? Are there clear action steps? Have these steps been delegated with clear timelines and measures of success?
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