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To teach about improving relationships with students and other teachers, Kim Darche used a strategy that was based around how a question is asked.

Teachers attended a professional development session, presented by Kim Darche from Lemont-Bromberek School District, at the METC Conference about how to improve relationships with students and other teachers.

“Getting-to-know-you activities make me cringe. I hate them,” Darche said. “I don’t think they are sincere in getting to know peoples’ stories. I think they are just too informational.”

While talking to the teachers, Darche had them do some activities that go a little more in-depth with getting to know people. She had them throw a ball of sticky-notes, take a sticky note off, read the question, and then answer it. They were all questions that allowed the teachers to tell a story about something in their life or school. She also had them play a die game where you roll a die and each number represents a different question. Each person rolls the die and answers the question to the corresponding number, which allows everyone to have a chance to talk and have a discussion.

“Teachers can better their relationships by asking them to tell and share their stories and to ask for details,” Darche said. “I never force anyone to participate. I let it just be open for them and normally some of the activities I do allows everyone to talk for either a little bit or a lot.”

During the presentation, Darche explained that an audience is more entertained and engaged when you share more stories. She also discussed how teachers should let students get out of their chairs during class and walk around, while giving them questions to discuss because sitting in a desk all day doesn’t make class exciting.

She also taught attendees how to ask questions and to get better answers out of people. She said that you should ask ‘What happened?’ questions instead of ‘Why?’ questions.

“Sometimes when you ask ‘Why?’, people feel defensive, but when you ask ‘What happened?’, it’s kind of like retelling the story,” Darche said.

Darche also talked about helpful criticism with “I feel” and “I wish” statements instead of saying what you don’t like about something.

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