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Establishing rapport There are many ways to teach a class.
There are many ways to teach a class. Each teacher has his/her own style of going about it. Although the level of importance of each part that contributes to the whole of a class is important, I believe one of the most relevant parts of a class in building rapport with the students. Building rapport doesn't only ensure a smoother classroom experience but also improve the quality of lessons all together.
Many institutions have put building or establishing rapport as part of their teacher handbooks. This, often considered a very insignificant part that many teachers do without, is something that they believe to be of the greatest importance. Colleges like the American University: School of Education believe that building rapport goes hand in hand with the fact that teachers 'must first consider their obligations to the students for whom they are responsible' (pg. 1). Establishing rapport, for them, is not only about a better relationship between said parties but also about teachers' obligations towards their students.
A teacher's obligation towards his/her student can go many ways. When it comes to establishing rapport it serves many purposes. An example, as cited by the American University as well, would be when a teacher corrects a student. The American University says 'Specific constructive criticism can clearly identify ways of improving', but without good rapport, the student might not respond as well to this. If the student knows and feels that the teacher is good intentioned and only means well in giving good criticism then he/she might never consider being picked on. In instances such as these it can also avoid other problems to follow such as rejection of the advice, decrease interest in homework, etc. from the student.
There is no one way of building rapport with the students. Many teachers have their own styles of giving the students the kind of attention they deserve. The University of Kansas, however, has been able to instruct many teachers on the subject. They believe that 'Rapport building is not a one-time event and should be built into interactions at a high enough frequency to maintain the relationship' (pg.2). This, of course, is to be done from the very beginning. A teacher must be willing to put in the time that it takes to get to know his/her students enough to be able to know when problems arise and also to instruct him/her in the best way possible.
The University of Kansas also believes that building rapport is a mean in itself 'to reduce the occurrence of problem behaviors to low levels and to build a positive relationship that will facilitate communication between [the teacher] and the student' (pg.2). If a teacher knows the student well enough to know when problems are most likely to occur, then he/she can prevent them. Even when problem behavior does arise, it is more likely that the teacher will be able to handle the situation in the best way possible if he/she knows his/her student well.
Some Universities have established levels of rapport that teachers can have with students according to the results they want to obtain, like Colorado State University. Although it is very possible that you can obtain the same result described in their document according to level of rapport (ranging from basic to advanced), it seems too generic. The classroom is a place where the teacher must attempt to build rapport naturally with his/her students. It is illogical to go against this by making it mechanical. We must keep in mind the children as well as adults can tell very easily when their teacher is being fake, and at that moment, all rapport accomplished would be lost.
Bibliography The American University: School of Education- Student Teaching Handbook; http://www.american.edu/cas/soe/sth_coopteach.html
Kansas University: Special Connections- Teaching Communication Skills; http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/cgi- bin/cgiwrap/specconn/main.php'cat=behavior&s...
Colorado State University: Establishes rapport with students such that students respond to teacher directions and request assistance; http://ceeps-colostate-pueblo.edu/tep/frver/all_pdf/2003_2004/7-8.pdf