Teach English in Jiannan Zhen - Enshi Tujiazu Miaozu Zizhizhou

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Faranda and Clark (2004), define rapport as “the ability to maintain harmonious relationships based on affinity for others”. Affinity is described by Bell and Daly (1984) as “the active social communicative process by which individuals attempt to get others to like and to feel positive toward them”. According to Fleming and Hiller (2009), rapport is the recognition of students’ diverse and different backgrounds. This actually includes understanding and respect of their culture, interests, needs, skills and personalities. Of course, rapport needs to be built between the teacher and students but also between the students themselves. Brookfield (1990), points out the importance of rapport in the class by giving a definition for this harmonious bond that needs to be created: “the affective glue that binds education relation-ships together”. Brookfield (1990), also states that students are more likely to engage in higher levels of learning and thinking, if they feel safe among their classmates and teacher. When students get on well with their teacher and they are a part of a relaxed environment, they are willing to take more risks needed to participate, all the while having the assurance that the teacher is there to provide assistance if and when necessary. Swenson (2010), believes that rapport in the class is a highly demanding task that requires time and a lot of patience, but at the same time “is an important component to successful communication, especially when the subject is learning a second language”. In simpler words, rapport is the interpersonal side of teaching; it is what makes the teacher more than just an instructor or lecturer. That means that the teacher spends time and energy to get to know the students and their learning styles. Rapport is very important, as students of any age need to think that you care before they care what you think (Ramsden, 2003). It is a general truth that most teachers only interact with their students during class time, but rapport, as an interpersonal relationship, can be enhanced both in the class and outside. Brown (2004) states that research has shown that teacher-student rapport contributes to teacher effectiveness and student learning. One big question is how exactly rapport can be established. Brown (2004), conducted interviews and focus groups with business students and the results showed that the distinctive features of a teacher that lead to the establishment of rapport in the class, was the instructor’s knowledge of the subject, ability to teach to the students’ level, sense of humor and willingness to answer questions. Weimer (2010), proposes some additional steps that need to be followed by the teacher, such as: respect between teacher and students and between students themselves, approachability (students need to feel comfortable to talk to the teacher and faculty both in and outside the class), open communication, caring and positive attitude. Smile is maybe one of the most simple and yet most important tools a teacher can have to win the trust of the students. Showing personal interest in the students is also something that determines that the class is enjoyable, therefore successful. This can be achieved by choosing activities that will make students cooperate with each other, hence share their personal opinions. It is very important to let the students express their ideas and asking for comments from them, helps create a friendly and understanding educational environment. As Brown (2004) states, rapport is an important tool as far as teachers want their students to be involved in the educational process. For that reason, the teacher needs to find possible links between knowledge and students’ backgrounds, to let them create their own connection with the information the teacher provides. These arguments match Tiberius (1993) conclusion for rapport, as he mentions that it exists to make the learning environment a positive one, and there are ancillary benefits at the same time. Teachers can be more effective and may even enjoy their job way more. References: Bell, R.A. and Daly, J.A. (1984). The affinity seeking function of communication. Communication Monographs, 51, 91-115. Brookfield, S. D. (1990). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. John Wiley & Sons. Brown, N. (2004). What makes a good educator? The relevance of meta-programs. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 29(5), 515-533. Faranda, W.T. and Clarke I. (2004). Student observations of outstanding teaching: Implications for marketing educators. Journal of Marketing Education, 26(3), 271-281. Fleming, A. and Hiller, C. (2009). Rapport in the classroom: problems and strategies. University of Tasmania, Australia. Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education (2nd edition). London: Routledge and Falmer. Swenson, E. (2010). Rapport in the classroom. A paper presented at Center for teaching Excellence, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. Retrieved on August 5th 2019 from: Tiberius, R. (1993). The why of teacher/student relationships. Essays on Teaching Excellence – Professional & Organizational Development Network, 5(8). Retrieved on August 5th 2019 from http://, N8 Tiberius.pdf. Weimer, M. (2010). Building rapport with your students. Faculty Focus. Retrieved on August 5th 2019 from: