Reinventing relationships: Teaching and learning in turbulent times  

Presenters: Carolyn Ward and Sally Eberhard


Ako promotes the creation of reciprocal learning and teaching relationships. One undergraduate level 6 business paper – Learning and Development embodied the principles of Ako by focusing on cultivating relationships to create a learning environment for everyone to learn from one another, and for learners to succeed.

Key features of developing connections and fostering relationships are, but not limited to being an active listener, encouraging and engaging others, celebrating, being positive and offering support. One core facet is sharing. Constructivism learning theory promotes a learner-centred approach where learners communicate with each other by sharing their experiences, insights, and feelings to co-construct meaning and knowledge. The teacher becomes the ‘facilitator’ involving learners in collaborative sensemaking. Hence, cultivating relationships is vital to create an inclusive and constructive learning environment.

But what happens when forged relationships are interrupted?
Growing relationships are crucial to support students both emotionally and cognitively online (Fanshawe et al., 2020). The online community of inquiry model suggests building a strong ‘social presence’ enhances the ‘cognitive presence’ in students’ learning (Garrison, 2011), likewise, Anderson (2008) stresses the importance of interactions between student, teacher and content in online learning. Fostering mutually respectful relationships (the student-student, teacher-student) are critical for a learner-centred and community-centred online learning environment as well as for the blended learning approach.

This showcase explains how dynamic and multiple relationships were created and reinvented due to a worldwide lockdown strategy. The paper coordinator/lecturer will share her reflection on the experience and her observation of students. Being in Lockdown enabled opportunities for novel interactions, shared learning, collaborative inquiry, and problem centric analysis.

Attendees at this showcase will take away practical short activities, tools and techniques aimed to cultivate and sustain numerous relationships within blended and online modes. Attendees will have the opportunity to critique their own approach