As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, developing a rapport with your students should, initially, be your paramount goal: your ability to form a relationship between you and your students founded on mutual respect, liking, understanding and concern will contribute greatly to the students’ learning experience and motivation to learn.

The most important way to develop a rapport with your ESL students is by empathising with them: empathy is absolutely essential if you are to have any hope of a rapport. Novice ESL teachers should try to imagine themselves in their students’ situations: What difficulties do they experience? Do particular students have any emotional problems that could explain their disruptive behaviour? Are they dissatisfied with your teaching because of your ability or attitude? These are just some of the many questions that you should ask yourself – and try to answer by empathising with your students. Talk to your students: ask them about their interests, hobbies, and ambitions; engage them in discussions that may provide you with insight into how they think; and most important of all – listen with interest and understanding to what they have to say. 

When the bell rings – the lesson ends, but communication starts. You may often find that some students will wish to approach you after the lesson to discuss matters that are particularly troubling. Don’t be indifferent. Be prepared to sacrifice some of your break or to stay behind after school for a few minutes. It will be greatly appreciated, and it will be another well-laid paving stone on the path to a better rapport.

Make a concerted effort to learn your students’ names: there is nothing worse than the novice ESL teacher who doesn’t bother to learn all the students’ names. Students dislike being called ‘you’ all the time, and if it continues beyond the second week, they will take it as a sign of indifference – and this will definitely harm your hopes of a rapport with your students. 

When it’s practical to do so, explain to your ESL students why you have selected a particular course of action or taught a particular part of the ESL syllabus. By occasionally explaining your actions and decisions, you can make the students feel that they are also, to some extent, involved in the way that they are being taught – and not merely passive recipients. Listen to what they have to say. If they make viable suggestions, implement them. Reward their comments with praise, and always encourage them to make suggestions.

If you really want to develop a good rapport with your ESL students, empathise, be humble, have a sense of humour, sacrifice time, be respectful, and show enthusiasm and passion for ESL.

The most important way to develop a rapport with your ESL students is by empathising with them: empathy is absolutely essential if you are to have any hope of a rapport. Novice ESL teachers should try to imagine themselves in their students’ situations: What difficulties do they experience? Do particular students have any emotional problems that could explain their disruptive behaviour? Are they dissatisfied with your teaching because of your ability or attitude? These are just some of the many questions that you should ask yourself – and try to answer by empathising with your students. Talk to your students: ask them about their interests, hobbies, and ambitions; engage them in discussions that may provide you with insight into how they think; and most important of all – listen with interest and understanding to what they have to say. 

When the bell rings – the lesson ends, but communication starts. You may often find that some students will wish to approach you after the lesson to discuss matters that are particularly troubling. Don’t be indifferent. Be prepared to sacrifice some of your break or to stay behind after school for a few minutes. It will be greatly appreciated, and it will be another well-laid paving stone on the path to a better rapport.

Make a concerted effort to learn your students’ names: there is nothing worse than the novice ESL teacher who doesn’t bother to learn all the students’ names. Students dislike being called ‘you’ all the time, and if it continues beyond the second week, they will take it as a sign of indifference – and this will definitely harm your hopes of a rapport with your students. 

When it’s practical to do so, explain to your ESL students why you have selected a particular course of action or taught a particular part of the ESL syllabus. By occasionally explaining your actions and decisions, you can make the students feel that they are also, to some extent, involved in the way that they are being taught – and not merely passive recipients. Listen to what they have to say. If they make viable suggestions, implement them. Reward their comments with praise, and always encourage them to make suggestions.

If you really want to develop a good rapport with your ESL students, empathise, be humble, have a sense of humour, sacrifice time, be respectful, and show enthusiasm and passion for ESL.

How to develop a rapport with your ESL students

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The most important way to develop a rapport with your ESL students is by empathising with them: empathy is absolutely essential if you are to have any hope of a rapport. Novice ESL teachers should try to imagine themselves in their students’ situations: What difficulties do they experience? Do particular students have any emotional problems that could explain their disruptive behaviour? Are they dissatisfied with your teaching because of your ability or attitude? These are just some of the many questions that you should ask yourself – and try to answer by empathising with your students. Talk to your students: ask them about their interests, hobbies, and ambitions; engage them in discussions that may provide you with insight into how they think; and most important of all – listen with interest and understanding to what they have to say. When the bell rings – the lesson ends, but communication starts. You may often find that some students will wish to approach you after the lesson to discuss matters that are particularly troubling. Don’t be indifferent. Be prepared to sacrifice some of your break or to stay behind after school for a few minutes. It will be greatly appreciated, and it will be another well-laid paving stone on the path to a better rapport.Make a concerted effort to learn your students’ names: there is nothing worse than the novice ESL teacher who doesn’t bother to learn all the students’ names. Students dislike being called ‘you’ all the time, and if it continues beyond the second week, they will take it as a sign of indifference – and this will definitely harm your hopes of a rapport with your students. When it’s practical to do so, explain to your ESL students why you have selected a particular course of action or taught a particular part of the ESL syllabus. By occasionally explaining your actions and decisions, you can make the students feel that they are also, to some extent, involved in the way that they are being taught – and not merely passive recipients. Listen to what they have to say. If they make viable suggestions, implement them. Reward their comments with praise, and always encourage them to make suggestions.If you really want to develop a good rapport with your ESL students, empathise, be humble, have a sense of humour, sacrifice time, be respectful, and show enthusiasm and passion for ESL.
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