Rapport Module 2

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Return to Main Course Page: Rapport Building


Now that you have an idea of the importance of rapport building. We can look at some basic skills and techniques for you to practice. Some of you may have heard of, some you may do naturally, and some may seem out of this world. It is understood that part of the learning environment may be administrative constraints. However the following is a general guide that you can adapt. Rapport in a classroom setting may begin before the class does. A concept approached by last modules readings is immediacy. Immediacy is a term, in relationships, that denotes that there is a connection between two entities that allows a swift and enjoined reaction. While this is an important component and hallmark of rapport, it is important to note the elements that create that feeling. Immediacy can be established through verbal and non-verbal means. It is the essence of reassurance- we are a team. It also allows for exploration and experimentation. An example might be a child checking in for reassuring glances as she/he steps onto a sandy beach for the first time without holding hands. Another might be the adult who tries something for the first time after a reassuring handshake. Please keep in mind that these cues may be culturally or administratively skewed (Schwartz and Gurung, 2012). Not everyone will respond the same way. Remember that rapport building begins right away. Think about someone you jibed with right away or that you immediately did not like. Why was that? Was it a verbal or non-verbal cue? Dis you just bring along a little baggage from a rough or splendid day that tainted the experience. Keep in mind that your students may make the same snap judgements. It is true that first impressions can be remediated, but why deal with that when you can try and build good rapport from the start. In some settings, such as college, there are resources in play such as e-mail, to reach and connect with students before classes start. Early childhood programs may have a day or two for the children to meet the teacher or hang out in the learning environment before school starts. These scenarios create an opportunity for the student and teacher to bond with a bit of anonymity, (Schwartz and Gurung, 2012), possibly without all that messy learning material in the way and retention was improved.


Skills You Need: Building Rapport


Bustkist, W. and Saville, B. (2011). Creating Rapport in the Classroom


Frisby,B. N. and Martin, M. M. (2010) Instructor–Student and Student–Student Rapport in the Classroom


Christophel,D. M. (1990)The relationships among teacher immediacy behaviors, student motivation, and learning



Try out as many verbal and non –verbal techniques as your setting will allow. Do not be afraid to try these in unconventional settings, such as the grocery store, laundry mat, car dealer, or doctor’s office. Keep a journal of how you felt trying them and what you perceived the response was. Be sure to include notes on the environment.


Buskist, W., & Saville, B. K. (2001). Creating positive emotional contexts for enhancing teaching and learning. APS Observer, 19, 12-13.

Christophel, D. M. (1990). The relationships among teacher immediacy behaviors, student motivation, and learning. Communication education, 39(4), 323-340.

Frisby, B. N., & Martin, M. M. (2010). Instructor–student and student–student rapport in the classroom. Communication Education, 59(2), 146-164.

Gorham, Joan. "The relationship between verbal teacher immediacy behaviors and student learning." Communication education 37, no. 1 (1988): 40-53.

Schwartz, B. M., & Gurung, R. A. (2012). Evidence-based teaching for higher education. American Psychological Association.