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How to Build Rapport With Students

Students need to be engaged and interested in the topic of any lesson. A good teacher knows their students’ interests and is able to tap into their intrinsic motivation. You might not be able to plan every lesson around the interests of your students, but there are some things you can always do to build rapport and create a good relationship with your learners.
© British Council

Students need to be engaged and interested in the topic of any lesson. A good teacher knows their students’ interests and is able to tap into their intrinsic motivation. You might not be able to plan every lesson around the interests of your students, but there are some things you can always do to build rapport and create a good relationship with your learners.

How to Build Rapport With Students

1. Set some boundaries

You need to be friendly but professional. Remember that your students don’t want you as a friend, but want to respect you as a teacher. Show them from the outset that you expect them to work hard in your class, but that it can be enjoyable.

2. Use names

Yes, it can be difficult with a large class to learn names quickly, but using your learners’ names shows that you see them as individuals and creates bonds.

3. Listen

Really listen to the messages in what your learners say, not just the English that they produce. Try to avoid unnecessary ‘echoing’, or simply repeating what learners say and be aware of the amount of time you spend talking in a class.

4. Avoid over-correcting

Teachers who correct learners every time they speak run the risk of damaging learner confidence and breaking down rapport. Of course, learners need correcting at times, and when this is done supportively it can increase trust between learner and teacher.

5. Stand tall

Work on your voice and body language so that you appear confident, even if you really don’t feel it. Your voice needs to be loud and clear. Stand straight in front of the class and don’t hide behind a desk.

What do you think is the best way to build rapport?

© British Council
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