Why Establishing Rapport in the Classroom is Important
Rapport which can be defined as " the ability to maintain harmonious relationships based on affinity " is more often referred to as when people " click "- they connect, interact well and respond to each other favorably. Often it happens when two people are very much alike or have lots in common. That's one of the reasons it is not always easy for teachers to establish rapport with students - sometimes there is a big age difference, other times it's having few (if any) shared interests. However, there are good reasons for teachers to establish rapport with their students.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Andrew K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Many factors contribute to a teacher establishing rapport with their students. Five of the most common factors found to help teachers establish rapport were:
- Respect - Teachers and students must show respect for each other, for the learning process and for the institution where it is occurring.
- Approachability - Students have to feel comfortable coming to teachers and teachers must be willing to speak with students, after class, during office hours, via e-mail and on campus.
- Open communication - Teachers must be honest. There needs to be consistency between what teachers say and what they do.
- Caring - Teachers must care about students, they must see and respond to them as individuals. They also need to care about learning and show that they want students to learn the material.
- Positive attitude - Teachers should have a sense of humor and be open to points of view other than their own. This is probably the most important factor of them all. A positive attitude could be the difference between a student succeeding or failing. The other four factors are largely dependent on a positive attitude in the classroom from the beginning.
When a good rapport has been established between teachers and student the benefits are easy to see. Some of the benefits of good rapport are:
- Higher motivation- when students feel a rapport with their teachers and feel that their teacher's personalities are something like their own, motivation is higher.
- Increased comfort- when there is rapport, students tend to answer more freely and with a greater degree of frankness.
- Increased quality- In an English course when students feel a rapport with teachers, their perceptions of the quality of that course increase.
- Satisfaction- Rapport leads to satisfaction. When students report having a rapport with the teacher, their satisfaction with the course increases.
- Enhanced communication- As rapport grows so does understanding and comprehension. Teachers and students understand each other better when there is a rapport between them.
- Trust- Sometimes trust is necessary for rapport to develop. But trust can also be an outcome when rapport has been established, trust between parties grows.
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