Teach English in Gongwusu Zhen - Wuhai Shi

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A great teacher should be able to build relationships with their students, make them feel comfortable in the classroom, and be approachable and understanding. In order to adhere to these types of characteristics a great teacher must be able to establish rapport with their students. Establishing rapport in the classroom may seem like a daunting task. However, it is actually quite simple if a good teacher enjoys what they are doing. Teachers who want to build trust and understanding with their students should know what rapport is and why it is important, the role it plays in the classroom, and the ways in which a good teacher can establish rapport effectively. Rapport is building a relationship between teachers and students that ultimately lets the students know that the teacher does in fact care about them. Rapport is an important factor in teaching and an important characteristic of a good teacher because if a teacher does not enjoy what they are doing their students will see that. In unit five of the course, the required text titled “Managing Classes,” shows that “Rapport between the teacher and students (and between the students themselves) plays an important part in determining if a class is successful and enjoyable” ( pg. 11). Building rapport between teacher and student helps to make the classroom a safe, fun, and exciting space. Good teachers show that they are invested with their students and about their students, “. . .it can be encouraged and stimulated by the general attitude and approach of the teacher” (pg. 11). Ultimately, while building rapport shows that the teacher cares and is willing to help their students through their struggles and concerns in the classroom, rapport is important because it gets the students involved and a part of something in the classroom. Establishing rapport is a role teachers have to practice and prepare for. In the classroom, rapport is constantly occurring, and as the teacher it should be a priority to make sure that it happens. So, how does a great teacher establish rapport? A good teacher can establish rapport by being able to learn their students names, use the appropriate body language, and have a good attitude. These are just a few ways that a good teacher can establish rapport with their students. In their article “Rapport-Building” William Buskist and Bryan K. Saville state: rapport is both process and outcome. It is a process because it involves a series of steps a teacher takes that must occur for rapport to develop. It is an outcome because it emerges only when the appropriate components are present in teaching situations, leading to more effective teaching (Buskist and Saville) If the teacher establishes rapport effectively and uses the right ‘steps’ he or she will be able to elicit from their students so that they are more involved. Eliciting from the students not only reduces teacher talk time (TTT) but also gets the students involved in pair-work and talking amongst themselves. Hopefully, the establishment of rapport that has been built in the classroom allows for the students to be able to speak freely and comfortably, which in turn allows them to be more encouraging and helpful to one another. Rapport that is established well allows the students to be open to share opinions and ideas so that the ‘outcome’ of the class runs smoothly and according to plan. A good teacher can establish rapport effectively by realizing that there is an immediate need to build a relationship with their students and that their students should build a relationship with one another. Buskist and Saville state, “Central to the development of such an alliance is the teacher's sense of self, as reflected in such characteristics as trust and respect, and a willingness to involve students in the learning process” (Buskist and Saville). Teachers establishing rapport need to have the right manner and gestures, be positive and smile, and most of all look as if they are enjoying their job. If a teacher does not demonstrate these types of traits it will reflect upon the students and the students will see it. At the start of the course the teacher can have the students make name cards and introduce some ice breakers, such as getting into groups and doing a partner information share. Throughout the course, it is necessary to use pair-work whenever possible, but make sure to change pairs quite frequently so that variety can be introduced into the classroom. It is critical that not only one student dominate pair-work, groups, or activities. In order to establish rapport activities personalized with students’ names could be done such as introduction prompts or using their names to make words! It is important that the students are able to be individuals in the classroom, that everyone is equally involved and can correct one another if needed, and feel that it is a safe place that they can be comfortable in. For example, there may be some reluctant students. They may be shy and feel intimidated. As the teacher it is vital that interaction be handled with care. A good teacher is fair, will strive to give attention where it is necessary,, and can motivate their students to learn without offending them. All things considered, establishing rapport as a teacher is fundamental because rapport sets the tone for the classroom. Establishing rapport determines whether or not the students are going to trust the teacher and themselves. As long as teachers show that there is an interest in their students, is on time for class, and has a willingness to help their students, rapport can be established and well-balanced. Works Cited Buskist, William and Bryan K. Saville. “Rapport-Building:Creating Positive Emotional Contexts for Enhancing Teaching and Learning,” March 2001. “Managing Classes.” ITTT. (pg. 11). 2011. International TEFL and TESOL Training.