Reach Out!

Encounter to the full

About 5% of teachers practice encounter with every student they come in contact with and, in consequence, have no discipline problems and, through each student doing their best, deliver above average outcomes.

About 5-10% of teachers do not practice encounter at all and have difficult classes with poor outcomes.

For the teachers between these two extremes, they practice a form of encounter with a smaller or larger range of favoured students, depending on the teacher.

I say a form of encounter because in most, if not all, of these cases the teacher pays attention to the student and the student responds in a good way but knows, in the back of their minds, that if they say or do something outside of an acceptable range, then the teacher’s response will not be one of kindness or compassion. There is a greater or lesser degree of conditionality.


Nevertheless, the student does behave well and does do the work provided, it may not be to their very best, all of the time, but they do the work.

Most teachers have the opportunity to offer genuine encounter to these students, the risk is low to them to do this. Most likely they do not know how their relationships will deepen and their own well-being will be so positively affected, if they do.

Over time they could extend the range of students with whom they fully engage. This is the route to joining the 5% who do this now.

In one sense, the route to higher student learning and outcomes is clear.

I should like to continue to make an offer to any school that might be interested. I am very keen to run seminars or presentations to share and test these latest ideas with schools. These could be 30-45 minutes at lunch time, discussions with a faculty (e.g. RE), a leadership team or any other combination. I am trying to do at least one per week for the remainder of the year. If you are interested, please get in touch – or 0418 432 316.

John Corrigan