Impact Society

Impact Society

August 27, 2012 11:48 ET

New Book for Teachers Says Relationships as Important as Curriculum

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 27, 2012) - A new book called The Teacher Every Student Wants and Needs is getting attention for its central message to teachers: put a stronger focus on relationships while delivering curriculum. The book, which has already achieved bestseller status in Canada, was written by Jack Toth, who has worked with youth for over two decades as CEO of Impact Society, a national nonprofit organization. Written in historical fiction format, the book outlines Toth's personal and dramatic experiences with student-centred, relational teaching processes that develop more confident students who are better prepared to learn.

"Success in school has a lot to do with how students see themselves. And teachers are often the best people to help students see themselves through positive lenses," says Toth, who has been particularly inspired by a study by Miller and Duncan that showed that eighty-three per cent of successful change is the result of meaningful relationships and meaningful activities, while only seventeen per cent is a result of technique.

Dr. Wayne Hammond, President and CEO of Canada's Resiliency Initiatives conducted a recent study of the nearly 7000 students in the Yukon School District. The study strongly indicates that students who feel valued and connected to school are more confident and able to successfully meet school's academic challenges than those who do not feel valued and connected. "Excellence in instruction works well with students who are connected and who have strong social networks. But for kids who aren't connected, we need to put relationships before learning," he says. "That's why The Teacher Every Student Wants and Needs holds such an important message about the value of relationships."

Daniel Danis, Principal at Calgary's Bishop Carroll High School, and one of Canada's Outstanding Principals™, agrees that the student-teacher relationship is foundational for student success. "Teachers sometimes forget that understanding your students, and helping them understand themselves comes before anything else," says Danis. "Once the relationship is established, the teaching can begin," he says. "All teachers should read this book." Danis says that while many schools have moved toward student-centred teaching, the book is a valuable reminder of the primary importance of relationship. "It's an easy concept, but it can easily be forgotten as more and more emphasis is put on curriculum," he says.

Jack and Collette Toth started Impact Society in 1994, and they have committed their lives to helping students find success. They developed the HEROES® program, which helps students discover their strengths, grow their confidence, and make choices that support their life goals. Impact Society and the HEROES® program have reached over 100,000 students across Canada. The program is used and endorsed by provincial school boards, the Calgary Police Service, and aboriginal and other community-based organizations throughout Canada. Impact Society also offers a HEROES@Home parenting program, which is a resource for parents who want to grow their own strengths so that they can better build the strengths and confidence of their children.

The Teacher Every Student Wants and Needs is available at

The Teacher Every Student Wants and Needs is intended to inspire a positive culture in Canadian schools with a stronger emphasis on relational, student-centred teaching. The book takes us back to an educator's first day of school as a brand new teacher. His grade 10 class is struggling with various issues including low self-esteem, absent parents, and negative peer pressure. The teacher quickly realizes that teaching has as much to do with how kids see themselves and it does with delivering curriculum. So he decides to connect on a deeper level. He uses his English class to deliver a series of life lessons that help students identify their gifts, tell their life stories, respect authority and peers, and make choices that reflect their goals. Most of the students respond positively as they begin to recognize their strengths. They start committing to assignments, getting better grades, using positive language, and making better choices. But one student makes a tragic choice that ultimately leads to her death. At her funeral, the teacher decides to commit his life to helping students prepare for success.

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