When you’re learning something new, you might feel a lot of pressure to do things right. You need to choose the right course, have good study habits, and be organized, focused, and disciplined.
But there’s one important thing you might not have thought about: your relationship with the teacher, or rapport.
What is Rapport?
In simple terms, rapport is the relationship or connection you have with someone.
Sometimes rapport is instant—you just feel an immediate connection with another person. But you can also build rapport over time. Communicating regularly, having shared experiences, or discovering common interests can help you build lasting rapport.
How Does Rapport Affect Your Learning?
When it comes to your education, the relationship you have with your teacher can play a major role. Let’s look at how teacher-learner rapport can affect your learning experience!
The number one benefit of good rapport between you and your teacher is enjoyment. When you have a teacher you know and feel connected to, you’ll want to interact with them. Your enjoyment of the topic will increase, too! It’s just like any other relationship: If you like someone, you’ll want to spend time with them. On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to be around someone you dislike or feel no connection to.
Having a teacher who knows your strengths, understands your weaknesses, and supports your learning goals can go a long way; you’ll be more motivated to reach your goals if you feel that your teacher cares about your achievements. You’ll also be more motivated to participate and learn from your teacher if you feel that your personalities are similar in some way.
A 2014 study of English language learners shows yet another link between rapport and motivation: By simply being respectful to learners and calling them by name, teachers were able to increase learners’ motivation in class.
Teacher-learner rapport might even affect your learning success. A study of online learners found that learners who had a positive relationship with their teachers had lower drop-out rates, better retention (memory of what they had studied), and higher grades in their online courses.
Working consistently with the same teacher allows you to form a connection. When that teacher encourages and shows interest in you, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable and you’ll gain trust in them. As your comfort and trust grow, you’ll start to communicate more, ask and answer questions, and participate, which will help you strengthen your skills. And as your skills continue to improve, you’ll have more self-confidence and greater learning success!
Your connection to your teacher can offer more benefits than you might think: You’ll enjoy your learning experience and be more motivated to learn. That positive relationship could even increase your self-confidence and overall chances of successful learning!