“Children are more likely to be respectful when important adults in their lives respect them,” say Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton in their book Educator’s Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems. This claim is supported by opinions of teachers and a large body of literature that states that children need to feel appreciated and valued, especially in the classroom, where the educator holds a great deal of power over them. Developing good and positive relations between a teacher and a student is therefore critical to fostering a favorable learning climate and improving academic performance.
Development of positive relations is advised to be implemented by using a range of rapport techniques that ensure appreciation and respect of students. Even though building a rapport with most of the students can be both time-consuming and challenging, it should be initiated because children need to be confident that their teacher really respects them.
It is absolutely critical to begin building a positive rapport with the students early in the school year when they have the most energy to learn. A positive learning environment in the classroom should involve engaging activities and active exercises. Remember, establishing good relations with the teachers may not come easy for many students because of their perceptions and unwillingness to cooperate. It should not be a problem for teachers, though, because if they use proper rapport techniques, everyone in the class will find it easy and natural to have a great relation with them.
Let’s have a look at some rapport techniques that work.
Passion and Enthusiasm in Teaching
Students find learning more engaging and interesting when the teacher shows his or her passion and enthusiasm for the subject. In this case, they begin to perceive the learning material as more important because it can be exciting for them. If the teacher is so excited about the content, why shouldn’t they be, right? When they become enthusiastic about the content, their academic performance improves because they want to know more information about the exciting and interesting content. Well, what can we say, enthusiasm is contagious and classroom is not an exception from this rule.
Among the most important findings in the book by Boynton and Boynton is the impact that teachers’ expectations have on the academic performance of students. Specifically, if the teacher has high expectations for students, they become better learners because they do not wish to disappoint them. According to the authors, the teacher therefore should monitor their expectations with the purpose of communicating high academic and behavioral expectations to each student in the class and not just to those with the best performance. To ensure that positive expectations are communicated to everyone in the class, the educators need to make sure that equal opportunities to participate are provided for each student as well appropriate hints and tips.
A good rapport can be built if an educator shows appreciation for the interests of the students. This does not mean that they need to be merely praised for their hobbies but rather these hobbies and interests should be incorporated into lessons. Every student has a passion for something, and he or she would be thrilled if it was featured in the classroom from time to time. Educator just needs to determine the interests by the students, which can be done through a simple survey with questions, and select the most common ones that could be incorporated into everyday learning.
Interest in Extracurricular Activities
One of the best ways to establish good and positive relations between a student and a teacher is showing interest in the lives of students outside of the classroom. If the teacher has sufficient knowledge about what extracurricular activities they prefer to engage in, it could be a great start to building a rapport. For example, if many students in the class play soccer on the weekends or after school, it would be a great idea to take the rest of the class to the field and have them cheer for their classmates. Also, the teacher should be careful when assigning homework on days when the students have important events in their extracurricular activities, say, a soccer tournament. Assigning too much college papers might be overburdening and decrease the quality of the relations.
Students need to be valued and appreciated and classroom should be the place where educators show that their power is directed toward activities that foster these feelings. The development of positive teacher-student relations therefore is a powerful tool in education because when the students feel valued, they are more willing to follow the instructions of the teacher. As the result, the classroom will be transformed into a place where positive things and rapport are encouraged and learning is fostered.