Several Secrets of Good Student Teacher Rapport
Rapport according to the Cambridge dictionary means “a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them”, it can also be defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kudzai K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Rapport in ESL Teaching
Establishing rapport with your students can make a great amount of difference when teaching, especially in a second language. It increases the bond between a teacher and his students and thus more often than not makes learning interesting and more fun for everyone. It also promotes more student participation.
Also Read: Skills of the Top-Notch ESL Teacher
Be Interested in Students
Student rapport can be developed in a number of ways by implementing a few strategies. Getting to know your students in and outside the classroom you can ask students questions and get to know them on a more personal level, this has been very helpful especially with my older classes. We discuss families how we grew up and dreams and aspirations. I found that students then opened up more and even disciplinary issues were few. Getting to know your student's names I have found to be very helpful, as well as students, feel more connected to you. Having a good sense of humor I found to be of great importance it’s a good ice breaker and students become freer towards you and more comfortable.
Be Open to Students’ Questions
Rapport can also be further developed by allowing students to ask you questions about your personal life, you can design a game whereby you have learners work in pairs or small groups to write three questions to ask you. When they have all finished, each pair/group asks you a question. You only answer if the question is grammatically correct. Learners need to listen carefully, as they cannot repeat a question that has already been asked. You could also go further to bring with your pictures of yourself with friends and family or cities, towns and countries you have been to. You could then have students work in pairs to try guessing how these are related to you. They can ask your questions to find out if their guesses are correct.
Be Interested in Their Culture
Next, you could have students bring in pictures of the cities they live in or have been too and then they tell us about the contents of the picture in the present tense.
Another way to establish a good rapport that I have found handy is a game I call “The last learner standing” at first you find a ball or make one with scrap pieces of paper and plastic scrunched together. Then you ask students to stand in a circle. Think of a topic for example clothing items then throw the ball to a student, who has to catch it and say a word related to the topic. They have five seconds to say a word and then throw the ball to another student. If they don't say a word within the time limit or repeat a word already said, they have to sit down. The last student standing is the winner.
Praise and Encourage
I have also found that it’s beneficial to praise students at every opportunity you get; it boosts morale and confidence among students. The power of praise in changing student behavior is that it both indicates teacher approval and informs the student about how the praised academic performance or behavior conforms to teacher expectations (Burnett, 2001).
Praise is a powerful motivating tool because it allows the teacher to selectively encourage different aspects of student production or output. For example, the teacher may use praise to boost the student's performance, praising effort, accuracy, or speed on an assignment. Or the teacher may instead single out the student's work product and use praise to underscore how closely the actual product matches an external standard or goal set by the student
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In conclusion, establishing rapport is of the utmost importance as this aids in student learning as well as makes your job easier and more fun.
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