Building Positive Relationships with Special Education Students:6 Tips for Teachers

You aim to foster meaningful connections with all your students as a teacher. Doing so can be particularly challenging for special education students with unique needs and behaviours. They require an even greater level of patience, understanding, and creativity compared to other student populations. That’s why teachers need to learn how to build positive relationships with special education students that meet their needs while helping them realise their full potential in the classroom environment. In this blog post, we cover 6 tips that will help you develop strong relationships with special education students – from making personalised connections and fostering trust to setting age-appropriate expectations and creating a positive learning environment – so you can ensure everyone feels safe, supported, respected, and encouraged as they grow academically.

1.Get to know your students – learn about their likes, dislikes, and interests.

Getting to know your students can go a long way in building a solid and positive teacher-student relationship. You can connect with them outside the classroom by learning about their likes, dislikes, and interests. Understanding what makes your students tick can also help you tailor your lessons and teaching style to best suit their learning needs. 

You might be surprised to find out that some of your students have hidden talents or passions that you can tap into to make their learning experience even more meaningful. Taking the time to get to know your students can create a welcoming and supportive learning environment.

2. Establish clear rules and expectations for classroom behaviour.

Creating a positive learning environment is crucial in any classroom, especially for the Advanced Level 3 Course for SEN Teaching Assistants. Clear rules and expectations must be established for classroom behaviour to achieve this. By setting up ground rules, students will know what is expected of them and how to conduct themselves respectfully. Not only does it create a sense of discipline, but it also fosters a sense of community, ensuring that everyone feels safe and included. 

Creating these expectations also ensures that all students, regardless of their needs, are welcomed and receive equal opportunities to learn and grow. Establishing these guidelines early on is key to creating a successful and productive school year.

3. Take time to listen to what your students have to say.

As educators, we have a lot of responsibilities in the classroom. From creating lesson plans to grading assignments, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and forget one of the most crucial aspects of teaching: listening to our students. Taking time to hear what our students say can be truly transformative. It can lead to deeper connections, more meaningful learning experiences, and a happier classroom environment. When we listen to our students, we show them their thoughts and opinions matter. It’s a simple gesture that can greatly impact their self-esteem and confidence inside and outside the classroom. 

So the next time a student tries to speak to you, consciously put everything else aside and listen. You might be surprised at how much you learn.

4. Encourage collaboration and problem-solving among the student groups.

Collaboration and problem-solving skills are vital today, and students must learn them early. By encouraging collaboration among student groups, we can ensure that they learn to work together and develop strong problem-solving abilities. Students can pool their diverse skills and perspectives by working together to create innovative ideas and solutions. It also helps them to build their communication and interpersonal skills, which are crucial in any profession. Encouraging collaboration among students empowers them to take ownership of their learning and enables them to develop a sense of mutual respect and appreciation for one another. 

In doing so, we are preparing them for success in their future careers and fostering a more harmonious and inclusive society.

5. Celebrate successes – recognise positive accomplishments when they happen.

Celebrating successes is an essential part of life. It’s about recognising positive accomplishments when they happen and acknowledging the effort that went into achieving them. Too often, we dwell on our failures and overlook our triumphs. Celebrating our successes, no matter how small can give us the confidence to tackle bigger challenges and inspire us to keep growing. Celebrating success doesn’t have to be a grand affair. A simple high five or a kind word of recognition can mean the world to someone who has put in the hard work. So, let’s take the time to stop and celebrate our successes, no matter how big or small. After all, positivity breeds positivity, and acknowledging the good things in life can only make us happier and more successful in the long run.

6. Show extra patience when needed – provide support and understanding during challenging times.

Life can be challenging; sometimes, we need extra patience and support. A little empathy can go a long way, whether it’s a personal struggle with mental health, difficulty in a relationship, or any other difficulties life can throw us. When our loved ones are going through tough times, it’s essential to be there for them, to listen to their struggles without judgment, and to provide whatever support and understanding they may need. Remember, we’re all human and need a helping hand occasionally. 

By showing extra patience and experience, we can help our loved ones navigate through difficult times with more ease and less anxiety.


So, here you have it! Now that you’ve taken the time to learn more about the 6 steps it takes to create a productive classroom environment, you are well on your way to becoming an effective teacher. Above all else, teachers should work to promote collaboration among the student groups as they learn. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in creating an atmosphere of excellence in any classroom.