The Importance of Establishing Rapport for Successful Learning
Creating a positive, healthy relationship with students might not be first on the list in people’s minds when they thinking of “Teaching 101.” However, establishing rapport with students is crucial for achieving learning success in the classroom. Students who are learning the English language may be apprehensive to try (and sometimes fail) to speak in front of their peers or to express their ideas in new ways.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Samantha A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What’s more necessary for ESL students?
The importance of practicing grammatical structures and fluency to be able to communicate with people in English is a large part of why students hope to improve in their English classes. However, fear can hold students back in a large way. Without building trust with their students, teachers will have a hard time encouraging them to learn from their mistakes and step out of their comfort zone.
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In Unit 10 of this TEFL course, we watched two videos of an ESA instructor. What struck me the most about these videos was the stark contrast of the instructor’s rapport with his students. In the first video, the instructor failed to introduce himself or learn the names of his students. He responded to their participation coldly and did a poor job of encouraging everyone to practice pronunciation and new sentences. As a result, he received reluctant student engagement. When he adjusted his teaching style in the second video to make his interactions specific to the needs and personalities of his students, he was able to better assess their understanding of the material that he was trying to teach. More importantly, his students had more fun learning the material and were motivated to challenge themselves.
Also Read: Strategies to Build Confidence in Students
Process of relationships building
Establishing rapport does not just take place on the first day or the first week of class. Rapport must be established and maintained throughout the learning process for every student. If teachers take time to learn about their students by asking them questions about themselves, they can create more engaging course materials. For example, if a teacher knows that most of her students love sports, she can create sports-related games, grammar worksheets, or have the students read the sports section of authentic materials from English speaking countries. When students see themselves in what is being taught, they will more easily understand how they might use the specific language that they are learning in each lesson.
Rapport can also be used to maintain a peaceful and productive classroom. Behavior management can be prevented if teachers build mutual respect with their students. If students believe that their teacher has their best interest in mind, they will be less likely to cause disruptions and will be motivated to listen to instructions.
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Students are interested in learning English for a variety of reasons and come from various backgrounds and cultural perspectives. When ESA teachers seek to understand the unique needs of their students, they can tailor their lessons to better serve their classroom. When lessons are more specific and when students know that they can trust their instructors, classes will run smoothly and will be full of students who are willing to participate.
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