Rapport between the teacher
and students plays an important part in determining if a class is successful and enjoyable. In this article I will share my experiences and ideas how teacher
s can build up rapport with students.
Rapport, defined as sympathetic and harmonious relationship, often occurs between two people who have a lot in common. That is one of the reasons why it is not always easy for teacher
s to establish rapport with students, especially when there is not much shared interest in between. However, there are good reasons for teacher
s to work on establishing rapport with students. It helps to create conditions conducive to learning, a higher motivation, increased comfort, and enhanced communication. In the following passages, I will share my experiences on how to establish rapport with students.
1. Respecting students. Respect is an acknowledgement we extend to a person irrespective of his or her status, belief, origin and condition in life. In a classroom, students may be young and inexperienced, but they also have thoughts and ideas of their own, and teacher
s need to respect that. Students who feel disrespected or socially isolated are not likely to function effectively at school, and they may simply leave to seek more psychologically comfortable environments. teacher
s must respect students for their identity, ideas or even some silly questions
possibly raised by them.
2. Developing trust. Trust is an important factor to develop rapport. To develop trust from students, we need to show the students who we are, and demonstrate a strong moral ethic. Never lie to the students and admit our mistakes. Always be objective and fair in the class. Never apply
any double standards handling different issues and matters. Show the consistency of our behavior and keep our promise. Giving students responsibilities is a good way to show our trust and value their inputs towards them. Sharing course objectives and planning with the students, or even explaining why they receive certain assignments, will show students they are part of their educational direction and the tasks from us have a purpose; they can then learn to trust us as a teacher
, that we are not there just for finishing our jobs and making income.
3. Demonstrating approachability. Students will be more comfortable coming to us if they feel we are easy to approach. They will not feel as intimidated and afraid to ask questions
or to request extra help. Being an "approachable" teacher
means making ourselves available for our students to come and talk with us about anything. We can demonstrate our approachability by remaining a few extra minutes after class, keeping scheduled office hours, or even issuing an open invitation to the students to stop by the office.
4. Body language factors. Body language is an important part of communication which can enhance teacher
-student rapport. During our daily interaction with the students, we need to remind ourselves what information our body language is projecting to them.
A natural smile will not only show students our kindness and friendliness, it will also help to create an easy atmosphere for conversations.
As said, eyes are the window to the soul. Having appropriate eye contact with the students delivers much more information than we may think. It shows our sincerity and respect for the students. Looking down or away from them can make them feel we are indifferent.
Using appropriate movements and gestures, appearing relaxed, not afraid of making fun of ourselves from time to time through lively and animated expression, not only can these behaviors create the impression that we are psychologically engaged with the students and class, they also help to develop rapport with them.
5. Showing our care and concern. It is said the best foundation for good and lasting rapport between any teacher
and their students is caring. teacher
s who deeply care about the growth of their students will naturally show this through our behavior, and students can sense that very quickly. Showing personal interest in the students, asking for comments and opinions from the students are good days to demonstrate our care and concern for them.
There may be more tips on how to establish rapport with students, such as having a positive attitude, using humor in the classroom etc. But actions speak louder than words. If we can execute all the guidelines above appropriately, I am sure we will have a good rapport with our students.
Engaging Schools published by National Research Council Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
How to establish rapport in the classroom? Published on British Council, teaching english