Teach English in Fu'An Zhen - Yancheng Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Fu'An Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Yancheng Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

As the new school year is set to begin in Japan, I have had some time to reflect on how important it is to prepare for new students and set the year off right from the start. Building rapport is one of the best ways to make sure you and your students will be set up for success. Building rapport can be a challenge for any educator, but the ESL classroom brings a very specific set of challenges that are unique to this environment. For example, there may be cultural differences and language barriers between the main educator if they do not speak the local language. In order to assess how to build rapport effectively in the classroom right from the first day of the school year however, it is important to consider what rapport even is. Rapport is defined as, “a friendly, harmonious relationship; especially, a relationship characterized by an agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.” (Mirriam Webster, 2020) This means that the relationships we build with our students is essential to having a communicative and welcoming classroom environment that helps learners learn. There are many ways we can begin to build rapport with students. One way in which we can begin to build this is by learning students’ names (Patton, 2014). The degree of difficulty we will experience with this issue will be reflected by varying factors, such as class size, local language and the educator’s familiarity with said local language. For example, a teacher who consistently teaches the same 20 students all year will have an easier time memorizing the names of all of their students than a teacher who works with several classes of 40 students. Nevertheless, it is of high importance that an educator tries because this will show the students that they matter and will foster trust as the relationship grows. Another way that an educator can begin to develop rapport is to act professionally (Dixon, 2020). It is especially crucial that an educator begins to build mutual trust by showing students the way they should act by modeling that behaviour. A teacher that shows up late to class, dresses poorly or swears in class will not build rapport and will likely alienate the students, if not offend or make them uncomfortable. It is imperative that a teacher sets the tone for the expectations of the class through good classroom management. This involves always carrying a professional, but friendly tone in the learning environment. In my personal opinion, I feel that building rapport is the first step to creating an open and welcoming classroom community. In my own teaching experience, I have found that using my own student’s names shows that I care about the student as a person and that I am committed to their success. This has led to some of the most professionally fulfilling experiences for me as an educator, and it all started with something as simple as learning a student’s name. I also like to incorporate fun and creative ideas into my teaching materials based on the students interests. For example, in Japan, many students enjoy K-Pop and anime. By making references to popular cultural things that the students are interested in, I am able to retain my student’s interest and I do find that my students feel more supported in tackling tricky new grammar and speaking tasks. Building rapport can be the key ingredient to a beautiful school year if it is done well and authentically by the educator. Mutual understanding and trust benefits both the teacher, the students and the school in general. References Dixon, G. (2020, March 3). In This Together. Retrieved from Busy Teacher: https://busyteacher.org/24391-building-rapport-esl.html Mirriam Webster. (2020, March 3). Rapport. Retrieved from Mirriam Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapport Patton, S. (2014, September 24). How to Build Rapport With Your ESL Students. Retrieved from Go Overseas: https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/building-rapport-in-the-esl-classroom