5 Ways Teachers Can Foster Friendships in the Classroom

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There are many lessons to be gained within the four walls of the classroom, but not all of them come from subjects being taught at school. Somewhere along the way, students can pick up other lessons from the interactions they have with their classmates and teachers.

These lessons shape their experiences, mold their personalities, and help them become better people. Sometimes though, these lessons can be learned the hard way. It’s inevitable that kids will have disagreements with some of their peers at one point or another. 

This is where a teacher as a community leader can come in and help foster good relationships between students. Doing so won’t just allow the classroom to be a bit more peaceful, but students will learn other important values like respect and empathy along the way.

Here are some ways teachers can create a classroom setting that will foster friendships between students.

1.Create connections between students by identifying common interests and providing time for conversation.

A huge chunk of friendships are rooted in common interests, and schools can be an avenue for kids to meet peers who like the same things as they do.

If the need arises and you as a teacher have the opportunity to pair students with each other, you may want to consider grouping those who you know have the same interest. These shared interests can serve as a starting point for a friendship. Encourage your students to talk about the things they’re passionate about through discussions, games, and other similar activities.

And aside from fulfilling lesson plans and other daily tasks, it can be helpful if you provide time for students to communicate or talk to each other. You may want to include “sharing sessions” after a lesson, or facilitate a group activity before your class ends.

Sharing sessions can be really helpful at the beginning of the school year when not everyone may know each other and some students would need time to get to know unfamiliar faces.

2.Check in with students who may not be good at making friends.
Not everyone can makes friends easily, especially if they’re introverted, and that’s okay. If you notice that some of your students are a bit on the shy side, try to talk to them privately to see how they’re doing.

Teachers as curriculum leaders can lend an understanding ear and see where the student is coming from. From there, you can think about the steps that can help the student make friends and foster good relationships moving forward.

3.Let your students know that their strengths are valued.
Students like to feel that they are valued, especially when their skills are positively highlighted. This appreciation may help raise their confidence and self-esteem, and potentially help them perform better in class.

Let your students take note of the positive qualities they liked about their classmates by conducting activities where these can be highlighted. For example, you can provide students with worksheets that they can pass to each classmate and allow them to highlight their good attributes.

At the end of this activity, these worksheets can be collected to help students remember how special they are. On top of practicing complimenting others, students can even discover other positive qualities they didn’t know they have, but were observed by their peers.

4.Teach students the importance of peaceful and respectful conflict resolution.
While arguments and conflicts are common occurrences in a lot of friendships, but there may be times when some kids feel very overwhelmed about the situation and resort to unhealthy and maybe even violent actions to get their point across.

Before such a scenario even occurs, it may be helpful to let your students know that conflicts can be resolved in a healthy manner. There are many strategies that can be utilized to help children settle issues or concerns with their peers. 

As teachers, you can talk to them about these scenarios during a learning session. While conflict resolution can still be dependent on the students’ personalities, it’s crucial that they have some sort of foundation to lean on.

5.Lead by example.
Teachers are known as leaders in the community. At the same time, they can also be role models that kids can look up to. You’re probably aware that kids mirror behaviors that they notice in the adults in their life, such as their parents and teachers.

If you want your students to build good relationships with other people and be better friends, try your best to set a good example for them. In class, some students tend to be observant. They can take note of how you interact with other students, teachers, or even school administrators or authority figures. 

Actions speak louder than words, and when your students see that you respect other people, they will be inclined to follow suit.

Friendships are definitely one of the most vital parts of a student’s life at school. As teachers, when you allow students to form friendships with their peers, you may help them enjoy their learning years even more, and help them make memories to last a lifetime. 

To learn more about other ways teachers can foster good relationships among students in the classroom and beyond, check out Gabay Guro on Facebook today!


Friendship Circle, July 22, 2014

Cherokee County Educational Foundation, August 11, 2021

Understood, “7 ways to help your students make friends”

Understood, “8 ways to teach empathy to your child”

Sandbox Learning, “Strategies for Developing Classroom Friendships”

Center for Responsive Schools, “Sowing the Seeds of Friendship: 10 Ways to Nurture a Friendship-Ready Classroom”

Make Caring Common Project, “5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy”

Cambridge Dictionary, “Empathy”

Masters in Communications, “Empathy: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How You Can Improve”

Social Development. 2019; 28: 599– 619

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