Teach English in Liangzhai Zhen - Xuzhou Shi

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Perhaps the most effective teaching tool is not a tool at all but rather building an environment conducive to learning. Creating a setting of positivity and comfort will pay dividends in future lessons, especially when material becomes more difficult. In this short paper, I will go over the importance of rapport and highlight key techniques that can be implemented. The effectiveness of rapport equates to the amount of empathy and open-mindedness both students and teachers have for the people around them. It calls for a comfort with speaking freely with ALL students and not just the select few for which mutual interests exist. I can compare rapport building to growing up in an encouraging household as opposed to a negative one. There will definitely be lessons in both but the retention will be drastically different between the two. Classroom dynamics are no different. Once the feeling of support has been established by the students, the flow of knowledge become easier to integrate because the class become a collective rather than a group of individuals. There are a multitude of techniques and team-building exercises that are used to build rapport and most of my personal strategies come from the sporting world. Sports teach the value of team, hard work, and patience. Off-the-field activities were particularly effective in rapport-building. One activity I find very effective is simply having food together as a collective. This accomplishes a number of things. First, food brings people together and gives a similar goal to all who are involved (to eat!). Second, food provides a number of talking points to elicit team members to talk to one another. Lastly, and perhaps most important, giving food build trust between team members. When a friends or colleague share food with together, they find themselves having a tighter bond, thus, building rapport. Creating a relaxing environment is paramount when teaching and taking time to build this environment shouldn’t be overlooked. Another rapport building activity I would implement would be journal writing. Journals are a wonderful way to express how you are feeling and allows a glimpse into someones life which otherwise might not be apparent. Giving prompters to get the juices flowing or allowing the students to write about the feelings they need to express would work equally as well as long as it gets the students writing. After the pen starts moving, people are more likely to continue writing about their favourite subject, themselves! This activity would be more suited towards intermediate to advanced young learners who are able to express themselves in English. Included in these journals can be media content, creative expressions in any form, or any other medium which the student deems necessary to allow for maximum expression. Journals are easy to implement, allow for free-flowing idea formation, and are personal to each student. The practice of writing in English would be absolute bi-product. In this paper, I have outlined why rapport-building is of high importance and a few key strategies that can be used to create an environment of unhindered learning. With this type of setting created and continually embellished, learning will increase in the students involved.