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TEFL Videos - Classroom Management for Teaching English as a Foreign Language - Rapport Building
Our next consideration is going to be building and maintaining rapport. The importance of rapport is that within our communicative activities, we're asking the students to talk to each other. If they feel comfortable with each other and with us, then that interaction is much more likely to be useful. So how do we actually build and maintain rapport? Well, it's easiest if we consider two stages of the course itself. What we can do at the start of the course and what we can do throughout the course to help build and maintain that rapport. So at the start of the course, it's very useful if we ask the students to create a name card and to make that name card visible to everyone. Secondly we need to try to do some ice breaking activities that will allow the students to interact with each other and perhaps give a little bit of information about themselves. Once we move into the course itself there are a number of techniques that we can use to help maintain that rapport so that students are comfortable with each other when doing communicative activities. So throughout the course use pair work as often as possible or indeed small group work that allows for interaction to take place whenever possible. Don't let a single student dominate. Thirdly, allowing students to correct each other will often help to maintain the rapport within the class and perhaps finally here, try to personalize all activities wherever possible. Quite often, you will be taking activities from course books and if you take the activity and white out the names of people given within those activities, substitute those for the names of people in your class, so you have personalized it for your class, then that will help to build and rapport within the class room. Our final consideration here then is going to be discipline within the classroom. From your own experiences at school, you will know that some teachers have more discipline problems than others. Now, there are no set rules, which will work for all situations that you find yourself in but there are some things that we can do to stop problems arising in the first place. One of the major causes of problems is when students do not respect the teacher and there are some things that we can help to build and maintain that respect from our students. Perhaps of the major things that you should consider it is very important that you are always seen to be fair, that you are punctual, that you are always well prepared in terms of your materials and activities, that you do not make threats within the classroom and then not carry them out. Also here it's important that we show respect for our students in all situations and this can come down to very simple things like when we give homework, we should make sure that we take that homework in and then we mark it promptly and give it back and finally one of the major things that we can do to help maintain the respect of our students is to always be enthusiastic. Our final consideration here in terms of discipline is going to be your response to problem behavior. Your responses are actually critical as to whether the problem is going to be increased or decreased. Here's a few simple things to remember in terms of your responses to discipline. Firstly, it's very important that you act immediately before the problem can get worse. Obviously, people's ideas of discipline problems will be different in terms of their severity and so on and so forth but wherever possible we should try to use nonverbal techniques first. If, for example, two students are talking to each other while you were talking, then just stop look at those people who are talking and it's very unlikely that they're going to continue to do so. So without saying anything using nonverbal techniques we can avoid this type of behavior. Next it is very very important that you always keep calm and that you never shout. From your own experience, you're probably aware that there's very little to be gained by shouting. Make sure also that you keep within the school discipline code. Make yourself aware of what that discipline code actually says so that any responses you have to discipline problems, you're not yourself moving outside the actual discipline code on the school or the language center. Perhaps finally here what we might say is although it can sometimes be difficult, try, wherever possible, to use humor to dissipate discipline problems. It would be very nice if we could just give a list of things that you would need to do in order for you to never have any discipline problems in your career but that list does not exist. Most of your responses to discipline problems will be learned over time. You will find out what works and what does not work but when you first start if you keep these sorts of ideas in your mind then it does mean that discipline problems shouldn't escalate.