Teach English in Kaifaqu - Yuncheng Shi

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By: Chyenne Hanson In order to understand why it is important for students and teacher to establish good rapport in the classroom, we must first try to define the word ‘rapport’. What is rapport? According to businessdictionary.com, rapport is a positive or close relationship between people that often involves mutual trust, understanding and attention. Now that our main word has been defined, it’s time to convince you all of the reasons why us, as teachers, should establish and maintain it in the education field. The first reason is that rapport allows for students and teachers to be able to build a comfortable classroom environment. After reading through the texts and from my own personal experience as a language teacher at an all-boys high school, I can definitely say that rapport was one of the first things I had to build in order for the boys to trust me and be comfortable enough to share their opinions or answer questions in class. Since it was an all-boys school and I was a female teacher, the boys there underestimated my capabilities, were unwilling to participate in lessons and even went as far as trying to court me! I must also mention that this behaviour was from students that belonged to inner-city communities where crime was rampant, and so it was hard for them to “trust” or “respect” anyone, especially someone in high authority. After observing them for a few classes, I realized that before I could even teach, I had to let them see that the classroom was a safe area and that even though a degree of excellence is expected of them, they could still be themselves while learning. After getting to know each student and also introducing other aspects of my personality, they realized that I was ‘one of them’ and I was accepted. They then started to talk to me more, tell me aspects of their private lives, ask for my help (home-work/lunch money) and even joked around during lessons. After that, they did not see me as some dictator teacher forcing them to learn, and I started to see them as students who were only victims of circumstances. (this was responsible for the way they acted). The other reason why rapport should be established in classrooms is that it is a strong motivator to students’ achievement. According to the Collinsdictionary.com, motivation is the desire, interest or drive to do something. Learning a second language is indeed a difficult task to do if there is no intrinsic motivation for the students. Even though teachers may share that having a second language distinguishes you from monolinguals and makes you more marketable than others, students probably won’t care what the teacher says, especially if it’s from a teacher they have no relationship with. This is where good rapport comes in. Kathy Paterson. (2005) has expressed ―Rapport is that wonderful bond that allows teacher and students to work and learn well together. The powerful teacher creates this relationship early in the year and works to maintain it. When good rapport has been established, students and teachers enjoy one another and the class, and students feel more motivated to do well.‖(P: 69). Aforementioned, it’s important to get to know your different students and for them to know you as the teacher as well, in order for them to have some sort of trust in you, which in return will have them listen to your advice, especially scholarly advice. If you become someone they confide in, then ultimately whatever you say is taken seriously. For example, you tell them the importance of learning a second language and since it’s coming from you, their ‘trusted teacher’, they may start to take their lessons more seriously, which will in turn show great achievements.