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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Throughout my educational career, I have experienced a diverse amount of classroom settings. I remember struggling with classmates through simple courses, ones many would call, “Easy A’s,” all due to the teacher not desiring to teach. On the other hand, I remember my favorite, most difficult, courses. No matter how hard the subject, if the teacher cared about the class, especially me (I was such a quiet student!), then we found the subject enjoyable. The teacher created our environment, even if we began with a bad attitude. I remember arriving to my first difficult college class. I was not looking forward to this class; however, the teacher arrived early and spoke with many of us. I kept my eyes toward my notebook, pretending to be busy. Every day, I listened and enjoyed the teacher, always arriving with a cup of hot tea. The teacher always included humor in his slideshows, and I felt comfortable with the subject; however, I was still shy and intimidated. After making an A on my first exam, the teacher arrived to class with a bag of tea for me. He saw me, even in my quietness. I knew my teacher cared. Establishing rapport with every student is vital to the class. The class, as a whole, responds to the teacher’s presentation of himself/herself. Most importantly, the individual student’s (setting all personal responsibility aside) progress in learning the language all depends on the depth of rapport. Buskist and Saville (2001) explain that students find that their academic behavior depends on the rapport built by the teacher. Despite the seriousness of learning a new language, rapport involves allowing humor and jokes in the classroom to lighten the weight-students enjoy this aspect of rapport (Buskist & Saville, 2001). Consistency is important, meaning arriving early and staying late, posting office hours on the syllabus and remaining faithful to that schedule, and sticking to course policies by explanation and understanding (Buskist & Saville, 2001). Lastly, students find that rapport is effective when the teacher knows the students names, tries to understand each student personally (make a goal to know one fact about each student that is outside of the classroom), makes eye contact without overlooking even the most shy student, allowing more interacting rather than lecturing, being humble and giving respect, and sharing personal thoughts of the class and life outside of the class (Buskist & Saville, 2001). In conclusion, teachers must be encouraged to simply be human and relational. Teachers are not a foreign concept; due to we are all in need at some point. Rapport requires a relational personality. One of my favorite counseling professors explained rapport in this way: “Openness invites openness.” Just as the teacher is human, so are the students. Create an open, motivating, exciting, and eager teaching environment and the students will most likely respond to the presented attitude! Although there are many other important factors in teaching, the level and depth of rapport are the foundation and prediction of the rest of the year for the class. Reference Buskist & Saville. (2001). http://www.socialpsychology.org/rapport.htm