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Three Rapport Building Principles in ESL: ✅ Yes or No?

Three Rapport Building Principles in ESL: ✅ Yes or No? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Establishing rapport is essential not only for a successful classroom but for creating successful and harmonious relationships between people or groups. It is essentially trust and a decisive factor that can define the interaction between different bodies. In this case, I will discuss why establishing rapport is essential in the classroom, focusing on having a good connection between the teacher and students. The benefits of good rapport include more efficient learning, universal application, and rewarding results.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ellen X. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

1. Involving into the ESL content

Firstly, establishing a good rapport between teachers and students is to create a tool that can be used to make everyone feel involved and encourage efficient learning—good connection results in a positive relationship based on respect and trust. Therefore, managing a class will be smoother because the students will naturally behave and listen better to someone they like. Even if there is not much interest in the subject or learning, there will be less resistance to what the teacher is trying to implement and, in turn, creates a better learning environment, particularly for those students who do want to learn. In the short contact time that teachers have with their students, ultimately, learning cannot occur without the cooperation of both parties, and establishing rapport is an effective method towards achieving that harmony.

2. Tool to become a favorite teacher

Second, it is essential to note that this is a tool that everyone can use, not just teachers with more extroverted personalities. Although it is expected that the teachers who can become great friends or popular amongst their students can execute more enjoyable classes, a teacher's primary role is to ensure that their students learn. I have had a wide variety of teachers, and amongst them, some of the best were the ones who were stern enough to keep the class focused on learning but matched their teaching with the distinct atmosphere of that class. It'sIt's a fine line, but there are plenty of relationships where the goal is to reach a mutual understanding for cooperation rather than be good friends. If a teacher wants their students to hear them, it's vital to listen to their students. That is how mutual understanding is achieved, and anyone is capable of doing it, including introverted teachers. In some cases, there might be a strong belief that students should automatically respect their teachers because they are more knowledgeable. It is more likely that the teacher will have to earn that respect.

The great thing is that establishing rapport isn't a particularly difficult thing to achieve with the right mindset. Everything starts with the first impression, so teachers need to make sure they dress professionally, clean and neat. Personal hygiene should also be well managed because teachers can sometimes come into close quarters with their students. And most importantly, teachers should follow the exact expectations they set for their students and be an example, such as arriving to class on time with all their materials. Respect can be formed in many ways, but I believe being treated as an equal is the most basic form. Not to mention, students will find it hard to emulate their teacher's expectations if those very expectations are being broken right in front of them.

3. The true value of what you're doing

And lastly, establishing rapport is fun and makes the job all the more worthwhile. Although I raised the point that gaining the favor of your students isn't essential, the relationship formed is positive and usually ends up being enjoyable. Like making new friends or bonding with pets, establishing rapport is rewarding because of the almost voluntary cooperation and participation you receive in return. If the teacher and students all want to be in the classroom, lessons are guaranteed to be more enjoyable, and learning will occur. Teachers will want to go the extra mile, and students will participate more. This is perhaps even more valuable for language classes because part of learning a language requires mustering up the courage to experiment and inevitably make mistakes along the way. If there isn't a safe environment that the students can trust and feel comfortable in, it'll be hard for them to open up. Earning that trust isn't a simple task, so after gaining it, there is bound to be a sense of achievement.

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In conclusion, establishing good rapport is an effective soft power tool that teachers can use to create a more harmonious classroom. The results include students behaving better because there is mutual respect and a more rewarding experience for the teachers. On top of that, establishing good rapport is a method available to any teacher. Given the assumed simplicity of how it can be done, we may wonder why none fully utilize it? I believe the answer is because humans are not so selfless that they can dedicate everything to understanding someone else on a surface-level basis. Teachers have to analyze and understand each student in a limited period and then do their job while still maintaining their own lives. However, considering how powerful a tool it is, it's definitely worth the effort, and the results are evident.

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