Establishing a good rapport with your student as a teacher/coach paves way towards effective learning as this will better help build trust and understanding which are both key elements of learning. For teachers who practice online, getting to know and understand your students can be tricky at first since you do not physically interact. So, how can you get to know more about students and thus establish a better relationship with them? Let’s consider the following ways by using any or a combination of the five ways to get to know more about your students that we have prepared.
Make a clear introduction of yourself.
As their instructor, it is important for them to get to know you, not just your name, age, and where you live. More than providing them basic information, you must let your students know what they can expect from you such as your style of teaching, methodology, your expectations toward the students, and more.
If you have a special quality or weakness, you can point that out early enough. While that may make some students want to leave you, it will also make you get only students that will naturally enjoy learning from you.
You may name few of your characteristics but as we know, action speaks louder than words. Do not build a fake impression of yourself, your students will tell about that eventually. Let your students know you through your words and by the time they figure out the truth through your action you would have built a higher level of trust in a quick time space.
Create a friendly atmosphere.
Your students should not feel like they are communicating with a support robot or a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa when they are communicating with you. When they ask you a question, you can widen your answers relating to the topic making it look like an adventure with a goal of helping them understand even better. Making a friendly atmosphere can encourage students to be comfortable with you. In that way, they’ll feel at ease to express more about themselves and share stories with you.
For many online teachers, it is best to make the students at ease with them if they talk in a casual manner. This may seem uneasy at first if you used to teach at school— wherein you keep your dignified and professional demeanor in front of a class. However, online learning is a one-on-one class which makes learning more personal so try to break that wall between you by making a friendly atmosphere.
Allow them share about themselves.
If a student doesn’t express himself to you, you can learn more about your students by giving them homework or projects such as presentation slides or essays that can tell more about themselves and also open your eyes to their learning/communication style.
They can also add pictures and/or other media files if appropriate. Let them write about their interests, goals, education or work, their expectations, perception on variety of issues, and alike. Knowing your students’ background, thoughts, and mindset can help you conceptualize ideas on how to teach effectively.
Track student progress.
This is the best way to know whether your students are working toward your defined collective goal or they are just slacking off. In this way, you’ll know how diligent the student is if he submits on time and if his/her work improves through time.
On the other hand, when you’ve seen that there are no activities in the course site or submitted projects through your inbox, communicate with them and ask how they are doing. If you think they are having tough time with their assignments or projects, encourage them and give tips on how they can finish their assignments. Giving them pointers on how to get the assignment done faster is also a good thing.
Ask questions frequently.
It doesn’t mean that you will invade the students’ privacy by asking personal questions, rather give them thought-provoking questions about your subject to see how they view things and how they do understand the lessons. The way the student responds to you will help you see if your teaching style is making learning better for him or her, if not, then it’s the time to switch your teaching method/style.