________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 18. . . .January 20, 2017


Relationships Make the Difference: Connect With Your Students and Help Them Build Social, Emotional, and Academic Skills.

Pat Trottier.
Markham, ON: Pembroke, 2016.
95 pp., trade pbk. & pdf, $24.95 (pbk.), $21.95 (pdf).
ISBN 978-1-55138-314-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55138-917-2 (pdf).

Subject Headings:
Teacher-student relationships.
Parent-teacher relationships.

Professional: Kindergarten-grade 8.

Review by Tina Benevides.

**˝ /4



When you take the time to work closely with your students and their families, and work collaboratively with your colleagues, staff, and divisional and outside agency supports, you will find that you end up with a lot of exciting projects in our classroom and in your school as a whole. When you have a purpose for learning and working as a community to fulfill this purpose, you end up constantly being involved in planning committees for improving student learning, getting to know and celebrating your school diversity, and finding the many ways that children can show their understanding best.


Trottier’s Relationships Make the Difference consists of seven chapters. The topics for the chapters include: the other R in education, building a relationship with your students, the classroom community, the responsive classroom, taking relationships home, the teaching community, and working together as a learning community. The chapters are structured with personal experience about the topic, interspersed with actual anecdotes, and some chapters also include printable resources for classroom teachers.

     I enjoyed Trottier’s conversational writing style and believe that it would be appealing to both pre-service and in-service educators. However, I do feel that this book would be most beneficial for those just beginning their teaching careers. I am a strong believer that developing relationships is an essential component of teaching, and Trottier does a wonderful job reflecting on her own successful experiences to provide a ‘how-to’ guide for relationship building in many key areas. This book would be a useful companion text to effective classroom management strategies.

     Although Relationships Make the Difference was written in 2016, I did not find many references to the current use of technology in today’s classrooms and/or an explanation of how technology, such as a class website, might be used to foster relationships with parents and caregivers. Trottier does suggest distributing a personal email address in a handout to parents, but I am not sure that I agree with the recommendation of including a home phone number. However, this text provides important information for those beginning their careers and a good refresher for those who are more experienced. As stated in the excerpt, one of the essential keys in fostering relationships is finding the many ways that children can show their understanding best.


Dr. Tina Benevides has a PhD in literacy education from OISE, University of Toronto, and teaches Psychology (part-time) at Nipissing University in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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