Reasons Why Teachers Need to Build Rapport With Their Students
While there are many things a teacher can do to prepare for the classroom, the way students interface with their teachers is something that can be both difficult and spontaneous. Building rapport with students is crucial to maintain a high level of energy and focus throughout a class session.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Matthew P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Even though a teacher may have an entire lesson planned out, if students do not feel comfortable participating in front of their teacher, the pace of the class becomes stilted. A well-constructed lesson plan may be filled with fun activities for the students, however, even fun activities can become tedious and slow when the students and the teacher do not have established rapport.
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There are many ways for teachers to build that kind of reputation with their students. How a teacher acts in the classroom often depends on the age group of the students. For example, a classroom filled with younger children between 6-8 may find a teacher with a ‘bubbly’ personality to be exciting and easier to keep their attention on them, whereas a classroom filled with adult students can find this type of overzealousness to be overbearing to deal with.
The first step to building positive rapport with students is to be mindful of the students individually while interfacing with them. The teacher needs to balance their charisma to motivate language practice and build the student's confidence. Teachers with too much energy can be intimidating to students who aren't confident in their language skills. If the students feel intimidated by the teacher, the overall experience of the class becomes hindered. However, having a low amount of energy will begin to bore the students. When the students are young children who are more receptive to the actions of the teachers, giving low energy will only beget the same energy from the students.
Also Read: Motivation in the Classroom - What Works and What Doesn’t
Lesson plans that revolve around student presentations and other intra-student interactions can become very difficult to execute when students are unfamiliar with their environment. Since one primary goal of the teacher is to have their students be comfortable speaking out loud and minimizing their levels of hesitation, getting them to warm up to the prospects of talking out loud is important. Taking cautious steps such as gently pointing out errors that students while encouraging them with their ‘accuracy’ of how close they were rather than the ‘precision’ of missing the objective is a great way to get students antiquated with their surroundings. This kind of approach will also likely build trust between teachers and students, which is essential to rapport building.
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There are also times where the hardest aspects of teaching are maintaining the student’s interest to learn. After facing a struggle and strife through the language learning process, students ponder the temptation to quit. Building solid rapport with the classroom helps dissuade the prospects of quitting since the students would have a reliable and reputable teacher to count on with comments and concerns. Ultimately, the students should be able to count on extra help from the teacher, which can only happen if the teacher has garnered trust from the students. Without the fundamental support of positive rapport, classes will slow down as the teacher will need to prod the students to participate. With strong, charismatic energy, the building of rapport will come naturally to the teacher. Constantly showing high levels of engagement and a positive attitude will prompt students to react similarly to their learning.
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At the end of it all, a lot of rapport building comes from how a teacher interfaces with their students throughout the class session. We cannot expect the same attitude to open up every individual student to a trusting level. People in general like when others act and behave similarly on a day to day basis; Meaning that upholding a positive trait or behavior, no matter the circumstances that you are faced with, in the classroom is likely to be recognized by the students. I find that building rapport makes a lot of the other aspects of teaching easier since there is an increased understanding of their needs.
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