Teach English in Hudong - Datong Shi

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During the last decades more attention is paid to establishing rapport with students. It is very important, especially when teaching foreign languages, because it is essential to make students speak new language as much as possible and experiment with it. But fear of making mistakes, of being criticized and becoming a laughing-stock may prevent at least some of them from speaking. That is why it is necessary to establish a friendly relaxing atmosphere in the classroom, helping them to dispose of these fears. However, some teachers notice that sometimes it is not easy to create such an atmosphere. They could have excellent rapport with one class and bad rapport with another one. What could be the reason for these problems? Rapport is often a matter of personalities. An EFL teacher usually deals with the people from different countries, of different age, culture, customs and viewpoints. Even in monolingual classes, where students have much common in cultural and educational areas, nevertheless, every student is a personality with his (her) own expectations and preferences. Some of them might just not like your haircut, dress or behavior. Or they don’t understand your humor. What should the teacher do to overcome these difficulties and create an upbuilding atmosphere in the classroom? To my mind, the basic principle is well-known. It was written in the Bible about 2000 years ago, and it says: “You must treat others in the way you want to be treated”. Please try to put yourself to the place of your students. Would you like if the teacher knows and takes into account the peculiarities of your culture? Of course! Thus, if it’s possible to know something about the culture of your students before getting started with teaching them, would you do it? Everyone wants to be treated as a personality, for example, to be called by his (her) own name. It’s great therefore to try to learn students’ names and to refer to them by name. It’s understood, sometimes it’s almost impossible to learn their names (for example, Chinese). In such cases some teachers allows every student to choose an English name for himself (herself). Those who live in Shanghai already have an English name as well as Chinese, but it’s just an exclusion. Do you want the study to be related with your interests and hobby? Then, try to learn something about your students’ interests and hobbies and adapt tasks and classroom activities according to what you’ve known. Of course you don’t need to become a stunning friend to every student in your class - it’s simply impossible! it is not necessary, for example, to listen, and even more so to like, the music that they listen to. But it will be great to ask them to tell a short story in English about their favorite musician. Would you like to be able to contact your teacher not only during the lesson but 24 hours a day when necessary? Then, try to be as available to your students as possible. Arrive to class early and stay late to answer their questions or just to chat with them. Of course you shouldn’t be late for lessons if you want students to respect you. Give them your email address or telephone number. Do you like to be harshly criticized for every error and even mistake you made? Therefore, try to correct students only when necessary and always in a positive way. Some teachers use the following structure: “praise - correction - praise”. For example: “It was a very interesting dialogue you’ve made! Very lively! You just should use “has” and “does” with “he”, “she” or “it” instead of “have” and “do” so that it will be perfect. Good work, thank you!” This structure also illustrates that praise is essential. Students should not be afraid of speaking and of expressing their opinions. In what kind of classroom you’d like to study? How would you like the teacher explain the subject and give instructions? Should he (she) be serious or crash joke every now and when? Obviously, it needs a definite effort to reflect on these and similar issues and make changes. To be honest, the teacher’s work is one of the most difficult. But at the same time this work is one of the most rewarding. Let us treat our students in the way we’d like to be treated. As a result, our lessons will be pleasant to both our students and ourselves!