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How to Develop Rapport with Students

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  • 0:00 Building Rapport
  • 1:05 Learning Profiles
  • 2:22 Knowing Your Students
  • 2:56 No One Size Fits All
  • 3:44 Rapport With…
  • 6:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
Developing positive relationships with students is an important part of the job for educators. This lesson describes ways to do this and shows how to apply these methods to your everyday teaching.

Building Rapport

Mr. Davis is a first-year teacher struggling with classroom management. In his years as a student, he felt more connected to some teachers than others and he wanted to make sure he was one of 'those' teachers, the one students liked and felt comfortable with. He started off the year being friendly with students, allowing misbehavior to slide so he didn't come off as a bad guy. Now, as he tries to regain footing in his classroom, his students seem further away than ever. Where did he go wrong?

Connecting with students and building a positive rapport, or close, understanding relationship, is important to student success. Rapport is essential for effective teachers. Not only is it necessary for classroom management, as we see with Mr. Davis, but the bonds teachers form with students aid academics as well. Students who have trusting relationships with teachers are less afraid to fail and more willing to take chances, and they strive to achieve. How can Mr. Davis make this happen? Let's take a look.

Learning Profiles

Mr. Davis's instincts in his first days of teaching were right on. He tried to get to know his students. He asked what their favorite sports and video games were and shared his own experiences. What he didn't do, though, was get to know and understand his students as learners. This critical first step in developing rapport means not learning about each student's likes and dislikes, but finding out each student's unique learner profile, or how they understand and make sense of material in school.

Students already have friends who are interested in the same things they are. Teachers fill another different yet important role: the person who helps them succeed in school. Positive interactions with teachers come from showing care and interest in who they are as students by:

  • Supporting each student at their current level
  • Setting limits on behavior
  • Establishing meaningful relationships with families
  • Allowing students chances for self-definition, or figuring out their place in school and life

Mr. Davis can begin by observing his students closely and understanding how they learn, then use this information when teaching. If Sean struggles with math, Mr. Davis can offer help in a way that makes Sean feel supported, helping to create a bond.

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