Reasons to Establish Rapport in Your ESL Classroom
Establishing rapport happens when a bond is formed between a teacher and their students. This relationship is said to be close and well natured and allows for good communication and co-operation. Building rapport with your students is extremely important, as it is the foundation for how well they respond in a learning environment. Rapport can lead to increased levels of engagement, gives the teacher leadership presence and control, and overall creates a much more rewarding and positive learning space for all involved. Some things that may encourage rapport in the classroom is; using personal examples, making eye contact with students, smiling, being humorous, sticking to your word and a positive and supportive attitude.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Zoe M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
When good teacher-student rapport is established students are much more likely to be engaged in the classroom. This will lead to higher levels of participation and learned information. This is due to several factors that come about as a result of good rapport, like; higher motivation, increased comfort and better communication between the students and teacher. When students feel a sense of closeness with their teacher and see them as someone similar to who they are with a similar personality and sense of humor then students are more likely to relate and want to do well for their teacher. This will result in much higher motivation within the classroom to learn and contribute to the class. As rapport also influences how comfortable students are within the classroom, it turns it will also allow students the space to answer questions more freely and honestly, without fear of judgment. Also, teachers and students have stronger communication and a better understanding of each other when there is a well-developed rapport. All these things lead to students feeling much more comfortable within themselves within the classroom and therefore are much more likely to engage in the content of the lesson and participate. This is because the development of rapport has caused better communication amongst them, higher motivation and a more comfortable classroom environment.
Another benefit of establishing rapport with students is that it gives the teacher leverage and leadership presence. This increased sense of leadership presence is influenced by several factors, some of them being; increased perception of content quality, open communication, satisfaction, and respect. When students have an affinity for their teacher it gives the perception that the quality of the content/teaching style within their course is increased. This allows the teacher to have more leverage in the classroom, as the students believe that they are doing high-quality work. Open communication is also an important part of building a close relationship with your students, it is important, to be honest with them and follow through with what you say. This allows the students to have trust in the things you put forth to the class and allows them to surrender to what you have to say without any shadow of a doubt. Similarly, if students have a good relationship with their teacher they will leave the classroom feeling satisfied with their lessons and overall course. This again gives the teachers a better sense of leadership as they are trusted to provide a satisfactory lesson to their students. One of the most important aspects of building rapport with students is having mutual respect. In a learning environment, teachers and students must show respect for each other otherwise the commands of the teacher and attentiveness of the students will not be productive. As a result, the listed points just go to show how building rapport with students is extremely valuable when establishing a leadership role in the classroom.
When there is a strong and positive relationship between the teachers and students a happier and more productive learning environment can be achieved. This is just another one of the many benefits of establishing rapport with students, but arguably the most important. With the addition of trust and affinity in the classroom, students will experience lower levels of anxiety when attending class and the teacher will become more approachable. This is vital when in the learning space as it creates a positive association with learning for the young malleable minds of the students (that is if you are teaching children but can also apply to all age groups). It is also important to show the students that you care about them and are supportive of them as well as maintaining an all-rounded sense of humor in the classroom in an attempt to combat negativity. If the students feel comfortable with their relationship with their teacher this, in turn, will create a much more constructive environment to learn in as there will be more participation, engagement and happiness.
Building rapport is a vital part of any kind of teaching and learning environment. It is the foundation for productivity, positivity, and comfortability. If there is no established rapport within the classroom students are likely to not trust, respect or enjoy spending classroom time with their teacher, which ultimately will affect their ability to learn the English language.
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