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Teach English in Banhu Zhen - Yancheng Shi
Establishing rapport in the classroom is an important factor for a class to be successful and enjoyable. When there is a positive teacher-student and student-student relationship in the classroom, students will be more willingly to participate actively in the activities because there is trust between the students and teacher. Not only will there be an increase in student talk time, but students’ confidence in using the English language will also be enhanced. In order to establish a good rapport in the classroom, the teacher can, instead of using the course book, conduct activities during the first lesson to create a relaxed atmosphere for learning as well as set the tone for the rest of the course. For a beginner class, the teacher can have students create a name card and have them display it on their table for everyone to see. The teacher can also have students play a “Name Memory” game whereby students stand in a circle and take-turns to introduce their name together with an action of their choice. The first person will introduce his/her name with an action, while the second person recites the first person’s name with the action and then his/her own name with an action. The third person will recite each person’s name with action before him/her and then adding his/her own. For a class that has higher level of ability in English language, the teacher can conduct a “Pass the Ball” game whereby students and teacher toss a ball to each other and ask any question(s) to find out more information about one another. For a class of young learners, the teacher can have the students first draw a portrait of themselves. The teacher can collect the drawings and pick the drawings in random order, one at a time. The class is encouraged to guess the student whom the portrait belongs to. Thereafter, the student will come forward to introduce his/her name to the class. Establishing rapport is not only to build a positive student-student relationship in the class, but it also includes building a good teacher-student relationship. Thus, it will be good if the teacher participates in the activities so that the students can find out more information about the teacher too. Though the rapport in the class has been established, it is necessary for the teacher to maintain rapport throughout the course. The teacher can maintain rapport by personalizing activities using the students’ names and interest. The teacher can also use pair work or small group work as often as possible to encourage students to interact with one another. When organizing seating arrangements, the teacher needs to be aware of the students who can or cannot work well together. This is to minimize conflicts in the class during small group work. The teacher can periodically change the seating arrangements in the class so that students have the opportunity to interact and work with a variety of students. Moreover, a teacher’s disposition and facial expressions also play a part in maintaining rapport. Smiling frequently, showing genuine interest in the students as well as allowing students to provide their opinions on certain aspects of the activities enhances the respect and trust that students have for the teacher. Teachers may have a handful of difficult or challenging students in their class and it may hinder the development of rapport in the classroom. The teacher needs to try to remain calm and courteous when met with hostility and anger. Understanding the reason behind the problem behavior and focusing on solving the problem will enable to students to see that the teacher cares about them. This will also enable the teacher to earn respect and build rapport with challenging students. To conclude, rapport in the classroom can be established and stimulated by the attitude and approach of the teacher even though it is also dependent on the students in the class, such as their motivation for learning.