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7 Tips on how to adapt teacher-student rapport while teaching online

Teachers have always focused on building rapport with students. They want all students in the classroom to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas without any fear or shame.

A harmonious learner-educator relationship is also crucial for academic achievement and motivation. How can we create that close connection between teachers and students who learn online? Are there any specific rapport building activities we should rely on? Let’s explore a few ideas:

  1. Use the force of eye contact

    During online lectures, you’re usually teaching a group of students, and you can’t establish eye contact with them. But you can talk to the camera. Look at the camera instead of the computer screen. Your students will perceive that you’re having a more authentic conversation.

  2. Address individual students

    Focus on building rapport questions by addressing each student individually during lectures. But try not to overwhelm them! Make them feel comfortable. Leave some space for casual talk — it’s not part of the lesson, but it means a lot to your students.

  3. Make sure students are comfortable with the online activities

    Ask each student if they have access to a computer or a tablet during the scheduled time. You shouldn’t make the answers public. If some of your students have difficulties accessing a device, ask if they can follow recorded lectures. If not, do your best to provide a tablet for them.

  4. Start each online teaching session with a game

    You can use simple rapport-building questions or even games to make your students feel comfortable. For instance, you can ask them if they prefer football or basketball and then use the answers as votes and have a dedicated history lesson for the sport that most of them prefer.

  5. Teach your students: There are no stupid questions

    The online teaching process makes it difficult to get your students to open up. Explain that there are no stupid questions. Never underestimate the questions you get. It means that you didn’t explain something well enough, so take the time to cover those aspects of the lesson.

  6. Praise the results; not the individuals

    When you focus on the result instead of the person, you prove that excellence can be achieved through hard work. Anyone can make an effort to end up with a better outcome, and you should instill this belief in your students, in online and offline classes.

  7. Let your students participate in the process

    Always have a back-up plan in case no one opens up, but allow your students to make their suggestions, no matter how silly they seem. Do they want to play Hangman online? That’s fun! Just make sure that everyone is into the activity and don’t make it mandatory.

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