With vaccinations underway, many school districts are optimistically looking towards a return to in-person classes, but until then, it’s important for schools and teachers to continue to work to improve the quality and level of engagement of online courses. One key way to do this is to build a strong rapport between teachers and students. In fact, research has shown that building a positive rapport between teachers and students improves grades.
Here are five strategies from a communications professor on how teachers can boost their rapport with pupils.
- Work in real-time. One advantage of online courses is that material can be recorded and viewed at a later time if a student has poor internet access or is in a noisy environment, but getting students and teachers together in real-time generally promotes a more effective learning environment. Real-time courses give students the opportunity to ask questions and allows teachers to see when a class is lost or disengaged.
- Encourage collaboration. Online courses offer far fewer opportunities for student-to-student connection, but this is a critical component of the learning environment. When students are given the chance to problem-solve together, they come up with more innovative solutions and build a better rapport not only with each other but with their teacher as well.
- Forge a connection. Boundaries between students and teachers are important, but connecting with students by sharing personal stories can be an effective way to build rapport and mutual respect. Offering a personal story about why you are passionate about the subject you teach is a simple and effective way to do this.
- Remember the little details. Students respect and feel connected to teachers that genuinely care about their education and success. Small details, like remembering a student’s hobby or asking them about an event they were excited about helps build rapport and shows your students you care.
- Create structured classes. Personal connections between students and teachers are great, but students also thrive in a structured environment, especially in early education. Developing a clear schedule and outlining education goals builds confidence and respect between students and teachers.