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Rapport in the classroom can often be avoided in favour of other variables such as methods of teaching, testing and techniques of assessing the effectiveness of your teaching, but has an important place in creating a good teaching environment. Having a good rapport with your students can enhance student receptivity to the lessons being taught because if the students are feeling comfortable with the teacher, subject and each other, they are far more likely to be open to the lesson and the information being taught. Rapport is both a process and a result. Teachers must actively try to connect to and nurture their students. This enables students to participate actively in class and to work towards their goals. Building rapport can make a huge difference to the atmosphere in a classroom, creating a safe and enjoyable environment for both teachers and students. This allows students to feel confident asking for help or to risk making mistakes in front of other students, which is a major obstacle when attempting to learn a new language. Rapport can also create a more positive attitude towards the course work and the teacher, which increases motivation and can result in higher grades. Teachers and students spend a lot of time together in the classroom, so students need to feel they can trust the teacher and feel that he wants them to succeed in the class. A teacher that is just going through the motions and showing little interest will soon lose the respect of his students and this can lead to more disruptive behaviour and less learning time. Rapport can also be a matter of personalities and teachers can have a great rapport in one class and bad rapport in another, often for no clear reason, so trying to reach students on a personal level can help to break down barriers. This can lead to increased comfort and satisfaction with the course and teacher. There are many ways to create rapport in the classroom and most of them are very simple and don't require very much effort, as long as the teacher wants to make the classroom a lively and engaging place. One of the easiest ways to establish rapport is by learning students names and welcoming them to the class. This shows that you care and appreciate them being there, and just saying Hi and being welcoming when they enter the classroom can go a long way, even with the more troublesome students. Showing your face at a sports event or activity in which your students are participating is a great way of connecting with your students outside of the classroom, even if you can't stay for the whole time, the students will appreciate your being there or any comment you could make about their performance, showing them it's not all about the lessons and the classroom. Eye contact, without staring, shows a sense of openness, honesty and caring and smiling shows you are happy to be there and to see them. Also, don't be afraid to laugh at your own mistakes, this shows that students can do the same, so they don't feel self-conscious and know that we can have some fun together in class. Getting to know your students interests and backgrounds means you can tailor your approach to creating activities that resonate with them. Introducing yourself and talking about your own experiences shows students that you are a person, not just a teacher because the more students are able to connect with you, the easier your job will be. It's important to remember that while you may feel nervous as a teacher, the students may also be nervous about a new class, new teacher and new material being taught. When you don't understand a certain students behaviour, ask, never assume. Don't assume a student didn't do homework because they couldn't be bothered, or a student slams a book down because they are angry with you. Ask them why it happened (usually after class) and be open-minded to their problems. If a student has a serious problem, make sure to take action. In the end, creating rapport or trying to make a connection with students is a choice that the teacher makes. Rapport gives you leverage and influence to change behaviour. In any leadership position, there is always a chance of developing negative thoughts about those in your care. If you dislike any of your students, chances are they will know it. It will come out in your body language and tone of voice. While being consistently pleasant is much easier with students that you like, if you choose to like every student and only see the best in them, over time, they will start to like you back, regardless of how they may have behaved in the past. They will begin to trust you and want to please you. So, from the first day of term, smile and greet every student as if they were your most well-behaved students, and keep at it every day, it can have a direct and profound effect on your ability to motivate, inspire and be the teacher that your students need.