Unmasking the Structure of Rapport

Published: 20130700

Journal: Beyond

Author(s): Brian Cullen & Brad Deacon

English Abstract

Rapport building between teachers and students is a critical component of any successful learning community – a point emphasized by Stevick (1980) when he says, “success or failure in a language course depends less on linguistic analysis and pedagogical techniques than on what goes on inside and between the people in the classroom” (p. 4). So how do successful teachers generate rapport with their students? The present study aims to answer this question through modelling two exceptionally gifted rapport-building teachers using a tool called the Experiential Array (Gordon & Dawes, 2005). This graphical tool was used in order to map out the beliefs, strategies, emotions, and external behaviours of the teachers in this study. The paper begins by examining the concept of rapport and outlining a methodology for modelling. Several figures representing the results and a discussion of the key emergent commonalities between each teacher are then provided. Finally, suggestions on how these results can be used pragmatically to enable other teachers to generate rapport are given.

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