A growing body of theoretical and empirical research shows that supportive – caring, respectful, and trusting – relationships between teacher and student are essential to educational progress and success. Relational pedagogy is a field of research based on relational ontology and on the idea that education, teaching, and learning are relational processes. Relationship is considered a basic fact of human existence. Interpersonal relationships – rather than single individuals, groups or organizations – are placed in the focal point of education, but are related both to the individual subject and to social, cultural and societal context.
Relational pedagogy is distinguished by its emphasis on inter-human, personal encounters.
Relational pedagogy is an international field of research. Researchers from Nordic countries – Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway – are organized in the network of NORP (Nordic Relational Pedagogy). FoRP (Forskning Relationell Pedagogik) is a Swedish research group in the field, working at School of Education and Environment, Kristianstad University. The overall purpose of NORP and FoRP is to initiate, coordinate, and broaden research on educational theory and practice based on relational perspectives.