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Rapport with "cool" kids

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Joined: 06 May 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:49 pm    Post subject: Rapport with "cool" kids Reply with quote

There are many components that must be present in order for a teacher to have effective classroom management. However, above and beyond all; before any of the other components can be truly effective, one must have established positive rapport with all of the students. I know generally and am generally effective at doing this. I have and show genuine interest in my students and their interests, I provide positive feedback and re frame constructive criticism to have a positive strength based light, I generate a learning environment that is structured but full of joy for learning. Generally, my students are very well behaved and engaged in learning most of the time. However, I struggle with the “cool kids.” Do not misunderstand, I am not trying to gain popularity and my self-esteem is not based on these students. I am simply sometimes at a loss of how to engage certain “cool, disengaged” students when they seem to have no intrinsic desire. It seems difficult to establish rapport with such students. I have established clear goals, roles, physical arrangement, etc and these students complete assignments, engage in activities, and are well behaved. However, I'd like to see more; I'd like to see them genuinely excited about learning and I am not sure what else to do to elicit this. I reflect back on the short couple of years of my schooling that I was the disengaged cool kid, and I suppose there is nothing a teacher could have done to draw me back in. It had to be a “me” thing that got me back on track. However, I still feel this burden that there is something more I can do that I just do not know about that I can build stronger rapport with such students so that they may truly engage and have joy in the learning process.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been in the same situation, and know how frustrating it can be. When I first started in education, I really had to keep myself in check from pandering to these types of students if an effort to get them involved. As you mentioned, you take the time to get to know your students. As an ESL teacher odds are you'll have the same students year after year, and will really get to know them well. I try not to let them off the hook with a blank stare or an "I don't know". Maybe call on this student to come up with a topic for a group project. When they try and shut you down, continue with their personal intertests. For example, "I know you play soccer on the weekends, and are a very good player, maybe we can talk about that." Also, if they truly are a "cool kid" never underestimate their desire to remain so. If you're doing a particular fun activity that the rest of the class is really enjoying, they may look for a way to join in as not to lose their status among peers. After a while, hopefully, it's no longer an issue and they may begin to participate.
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