What boys need most

Boys’ relationships with teachers are key to their education. When boys have good relationships with their teachers, they are more likely to feel positive about school, enjoy their years there and make the most of the opportunities available.

Education researcher Professor John Hattie (2003) found that students personally account for 50% of the variance in their achievement, while teachers account for 30%. Home-life, the school itself and principals account for the rest (see diagram).

Hattie’s variance of student achievement (2003)

Impactful teacher–student relationships require three key factors: time, warmth and empathy. However, teachers often feel under such pressure to ‘teach the curriculum’ that there is little time left to invest in forging relationships with their students.

Teachers need to be permitted the time to build relationships and to care for their students. Perhaps more than their ability to teach the curriculum, we need to celebrate teachers’ warmth and empathy as they allow our boys to feel valued and understood.

Meg Adem
Head of Psychology (Year 12)



Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers Make a Difference, What is the research evidence? Available at https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=research_conference_2003

The Australian Society for Evidence Based Teaching (2017). What Everyone Needs to Know About High-Performance, Teacher Student Relationships. Available at http://www.evidencebasedteaching.org.au/crash-course-evidence-based-teaching/teacher-student-relationships/