Teach English in Cengshan Zhen - Linyi Shi

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Rapport is a fundamental connection needed in establishing respect in any situation. Rapport reduces the differences between you and the student by reducing tension and creating a connection. Without rapport, a person has nothing to stand on. Establishing rapport starts from the second you step into the perspective view of another, as it has been integrated into our human nature since birth. This marks the first fundamental step to establishing rapport rather in a classroom setting, or as for me, my experience was defined working inside a high max prison. Before even stepping to the cold steel gates of the prison, you feel a thousand eyes trailing your skin, from the top of your head to the polish on your boots. For me, it was time to shed the light hearted face I knew, a mask of shiny steal taking its place. My back stiffened, my hair on the back of my neck standing erect, my heart pounding to the rhythm of slamming doors. The screams of grown men echoing through my ears, whistles and crude jeers slipping across my back. It’s count time, time for two females to control fifty-two of the deadliest killers, rapists, the worst of the worst, at one time. So how does one establish the kind of rapport to maintain composure, control, and security? Simple, it starts with how you enter the room, in this case; a dormitory. Confidence should hold your stature. Confidence will keep your chin up, your shoulders straight and even a calm smirk across your face. Confidence that you are in control of yourself and that you are in control of the room. Now that you have captured the audience’s attention, direct your eyes across the room, making eye contact with the people you are talking to. Give a smile and start with a simple “good morning”, it is now time to start creating your foundation of rapport. Now that you have established your physical presentation, the second fundamental step is your verbal presentation, rather how you communicate. Good communication involves two things, listening and speaking. Some would argue listening is the most important of the two, I mean how else would you know what your audience wants to hear. While I was in the prison, it became very clear that a lot of the issues that were faced behind those walls, could have been avoided if someone had listened to what was being said, whether on an inmate standpoint, or even as an employee. So often do we want our own voices to be heard, that we seem to lose the warmth and attentiveness that just listening carries. Listening is more than just hearing what is being said but acknowledging that you are involved in what is being said to you, and that you are on the same wavelength as the speaker. you’ve listened and it’s your turn to respond, so how do you respond while holding your confidence, and keeping the attention of your audience? Simple, start by speaking with a clear and concise voice. Project your voice to the target, be sure you have something to say before you open your mouth. In any situation humans are natural to judgement and intuition. It is very easy to lose your audience in your own fear. Be sure to know what it is you want to say and that you’re not just speaking to hide your insecurities. Avoid using language not understood by your audience. While in the prison I was faced with people who had never finished school, more commonly did not how to write more than their own name and spoke “hood”. As a leader and a supervisor, it was pertinent to adapt some of their non-verbal communication cues, and slang, in order to hold an effective conversation. By adapting to my surrounding environment, I entered the most important step in building rapport. This step is finding that common ground and creating shared experiences. Here is where conversation takes place, and it is so important to mind your body language along with your verbal cues. By mirroring your audiences’ gestures and mannerisms, being empathetic and tossing the conversation between listening and speaking, you can soon be on your way to establishing rapport. This rapport is key to building a trusting relationship. And without trust, you lack loyalty, without loyalty you lack love. This is the key to controlling a dormitory of fifty-two of the worst of the worst, this rapport-built respect; a mutual understanding that we can work together to achieve one goal. In the prison that goal was going home, in a classroom that would be learning a new language to take home. Rapport has three fundamental steps to be built, but in the end, it’s easier to be who you are, to know when to listen, and know when to speak. Rapport is building a foundation to share experiences. Without rapport, you lack control and more importantly respect.