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Working alliance

The working alliance has proved to be a valuable concept in psychotherapy and a number of individuals have transferred it successfully to teaching and learning. This is potentially relevant as career-related learning bridges both career counselling/coaching and education. It is argued that the working alliance consists of three core elements:

  1. Goal agreement (e.g. learning outcomes)
  2. Task agreement (e.g. teaching activities)
  3. Bond (e.g. interpersonal and relational factors)

The key to success lies in the negotiation, maintenance and conclusion of the working alliance.

Please now read Rogers (2009) on the working alliance in teaching and learning (that's Daniel Rogers not Carl!). Note his discussion on Bordin's work in psychotherapy and Rogers' view that 'the working alliance concept can be applied to any change process that involves interaction and collaboration, including those within educational contexts' (p.3). He also argues that the teacher has specific responsibilities in relation to the working alliance (p.4) and specifies how teaching relates to the three components of it (p.6). You could then consider how the learning outcomes, teaching activities and relationships in your C-RL programme are to be shaped, presented and agreed.