Building Belonging in the Classroom

“A student’s sense of belonging at school is based on the degree to which they feel connected to school, the strength of the relationships they have with educators, and the closeness of relationships they have with their peers.” (Third Path, pg. 84). 

Building relationships between teachers and students is critical for students to feel like they belong at school. It needs to be habitual and intentional for the teacher, in order for the student to feel like it was genuine and meaningful.

Benefits of Strong Teacher-Student Connections

  • Behaviour issues will decrease as the student feels safe, secure, and at home
  • Easier to co-regulate with students, as there is trust and expectations established
  • Teacher becomes positive role model for students
  • Students are more engaged in learning and in school
  • Easier to provide student choice and differentiation

Connecting Every Day

Small actions can make a big impact. Here are some strategies to strengthen the connections between you and are students:

Connecting Strategies — download as a PDF

The Third Path

Belonging is the Third Condition of Eight Conditions from The Third Path. For more information, check out The Third Path books in IMC and the online resources.


Tranter, D., Carson, L., & Boland, T. (2018). The Third Path: A Relationship-Based Approach to Student Well-Being and Achievement. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.

Comments are closed.