Establishing a Deep Rapport In The Classroom
One of the most important aspects of becoming a great teacher is establishing a positive rapport with students. Even with all the technical knowledge of teaching theory in the world, a class will not be successful without creating beneficial bonds between the teacher and pupils. With a tactful and thoughtful approach to building a deep rapport with the students, these bonds can establish a learning environment in which the students and teachers can thrive.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate James S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
For every class lesson plan there should be an icebreaker to ease the students into the material. Similarly at the beginning of a new course, a teacher should ease the students into getting to know the teacher and each other as well. From my own teaching experience I have found that students respect a teacher that wants to learn and is not afraid to be wrong. The greatest tribute one can make to a culture is to try to learn their language. I have found that by trying to learn and use the student’s language, they are more likely to try to use the target foreign language. There is a deep mutual trust developed by a teacher making mistakes and trying to learn from them. This will impassion the students and creates a fun environment where the students are also not afraid to fail. The native language should not be used too much so that it does not become a crutch in class but can be a useful tool to convey tough ideas and remind the students that learning is the priority for everyone at the school.
When in the classroom, a certain demeanor is needed to create a calming and positive learning environment. For example, smiling is a natural and simple way to gain trust from the students. A large part of being a great teacher is how someone responds to bad behavior. If they become frustrated and accidentally yell at the students, a lot of earned rapport can be lost in the eyes of the students. To properly contain a classroom, consistent rules must be followed and a set punishment regiment must also be established. If there are set rules, students won’t take the punishment personally or believe that it is unfair because the rules have already been established.
There are additionally many other little things that when perfected can establish an extremely positive rapport with all the students. Though many of them seem like common sense, it is remarkable how they can be overlooked or undervalued. The first and most basic little step to gain respect from the students is to be on time. Punctuality is a sign of respect. If the teacher is not on time then the students do not feel like they need to be on time as well. This can create unnecessary bad behavior in the classroom just by being slightly late to class. If there is a lot of information being presented, to keep the class engaged short breaks can be provided to let the class relax temporarily. The students appreciate the break and will think positively about the teacher because of this. Students usually like easy teachers, but they love teachers that are tough but fair. Creating the correct classroom and material difficulty earns respect from the students.
Choice of Activities
Varying up activities makes the class more interesting for the students. The more interesting the class, the more the students will have fun. A student that has fun does not disrespect the classroom environment. Showing clips of movies, music, and activities that involve moving helps keep the class light but full of excitement. The students will continue to pay attention to. Making the class fun is a great way to keep the students engaged and earn respect for you and your class. Making and playing jokes on students is a great way to discipline them while keeping the atmosphere light. One example of playing a prank on a student if they fall asleep is having the entire class leave the classroom and then wake the student up and pretend like everyone is at lunch. While every school is different so discretion should be heavily advised, this could be a fun way to make class memorable and prevent students from falling asleep. Communication Outside of the Classroom
While in class actions are important to create a great rapport, they are not the only way to gain respect. Equally important is a teacher’s presence outside of class. It is important to be available to the students outside of class time so that you can be not only an educator but also a helping hand. Office hours are a great time to be a support for not only the student’s needs in the class material but also their personal life. Additionally, being a known member of the faculty and engaging in community events is a great way to grow rapport with the students, parents, and teachers alike. By becoming a constant and positive face around the school your reputation goes up. People want to talk to you more and want to take your classes.
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Whether it is inside the classroom or out, establishing a positive rapport with students is key to having a good school year or course. Utilizing this rapport is vital to create a great classroom environment where students of all types can thrive. By doing the small things and applying solid teaching fundamentals, a teacher can have massive success no matter where in the world they are teaching.
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