A Simple Ice-breaker For Students to Build Rapport With Each Other
Building and maintaining a good rapport is one of the most crucial parts of a successful relationship. Cambridge dictionary defines rapport as – ‘a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them.’
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nagashree C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is Rapport?
Rapport is a skill that goes beyond simply agreeing with others in order to connect with them. It allows a free and non-judgmental exchange of different viewpoints and creates a sense of security to express without condemning, fear or guilt. It is rather a positive feeling of being understood and respected.
Establishing a good rapport is the foundation of a new relationship. It could be meeting with a client or a student irrespective of their age, life experience, nationality or language level.
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Teacher’s Part in Rapport Building
As a teacher, it is essential not only to build rapport with the students but to also help students build similar relationships with one another. This encourages better learning, facilitates good class management and the desired results can be quite easily and successfully achieved.
There are many factors that contribute to building a good rapport, for a teacher some of them are, the teacher’s body language, being attentive in class, maintaining eye contact with the students while addressing them, having a smile on the face, voice modulation, addressing the students by their name, giving students an opportunity to express and not correcting them for every small mistake they make. It further extends to how a teacher gives feedback, treats the students in class and how much the teacher is impartial and equally available to all the students in the class.
Rapport Between Students
The same sense of rapport can be achieved between students by playing a game such as ice breaker and this can be played with both new and pre-existing groups. Even if the students in the group know each other fairly well, by asking various relevant, culturally appropriate and inclusive questions it can open up new horizons and harness relationships.
In the case where the teacher is new to the pre-existing group, it helps the teacher to understand the dynamics of the group, better integrate and plan future lessons accordingly.
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Way to Build Rapport For Students
Taking Ice breaker game as an example for a new teacher integrating to a pre-existing group, I will explore how it can also be used to build rapport and slide into an ESA method lesson.
- Student level: Intermediate
- Number of Students: 10
- Learners Objective: To accept the new teacher, build rapport and to learn and correctly use Future Tense.
- Personal Aims: To integrate into the group, build a good, long-lasting rapport with the students.
- Anticipated problems for students: Resistance to the new teacher and teaching method.
- Solution: Taking time to build rapport and then slide into the lesson without making it too stressful for the students.
- Anticipated problems for Teacher: Not being able to connect with the students.
- Solution: Being flexible on the lesson plan, spending some time ensuring a good rapport, trust is built.
- Game Idea: Ice Breaker
- Game Topic: Travel
- Teaching Aids: Small pictures of prominent tourist places from around the world like the Big Ben in London, Eiffel Tower * in Paris, Taj Mahal in India, and Statue of Liberty in New York.
- Lesson: Future Tense
After a brief meet and greet session with the students in the class, the teacher explains/demonstrates to the students, that each student gets to pick a picture, take a look at it, then start by stating their name followed by the name of another person in the class with whom they would like to go to that tourist place also specify when or what time. Example sentence: I, Peter Pan with my friend Tinker Bell will be going to New York City on Monday.
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By playing this game it exhibits a couple of things to the teacher.
- With whom the students pair themselves gives a possible insight into their comfort with one another.
- Gives the teacher another opportunity to learn the students’ names.
- Get an idea about the students’ language level.
Engage and Study Phase: The statements elicited by the students are written on the board and together the class goes through vocabulary, intonations, pronunciation followed by the sentence structure, grammar usage along with tenses already used and covering the once that are missing and if time permits do a gap-fill activity.
Activate Phase: Before the end of the session, the student is set in pairs and are asked to work together on a brief schedule of a two-day holiday plan for their next summer holiday and present it to the class.
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Expected end result: By the end of the class, all being well, the students learn a little bit more about each other and a good teacher to student rapport is established by sharing anecdotes as well as a lesson on future tense is covered through wishful thinking sentences expressed by the students.
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