Fundamental to a student and teacher relationship is rapport. Pupils want to feel like their teachers know them and are engaging in a meaningful dialogue, rather than being talked at. But how do you do that? Extracurricular activities are a great way to build rapport with students.
Extracurricular activities help you get to know your students
When you’re in a classroom following a set curriculum and lesson plan, it can be difficult to really get to know your students. What are their interests? What are their ambitions? What makes them happy? Through extracurricular activities it is possible to ask more questions and engage them in more relaxed conversations that enable them to open up and tell you more about themselves. This level of understanding can help you when you get back in the classroom, as you’ve formed a relationship and have more knowledge about how they work best. You can get inspiration for the kinds of activities to do by asking students how they like to spend their spare time.
Extracurricular activities let all students shine
Not all students are academically minded and some are not as able as others. A structured curriculum can mean that not everyone feels included or like their skills are being used. Through a variety of extracurricular activities, those who are more creative or practical for example can be given an opportunity to use their skills. This is crucial to make sure that no student is left behind. This enables you to hear from and build rapport from even the quieter students.
Extracurricular activities make students feel more relaxed
To build rapport it is important to break down perceived barriers. Students should feel comfortable enough to ask questions, push boundaries, and go for it. Through extracurricular activities they can become more confident and feel comfortable to take risks and strive forward. It’s crucial as teachers that we think more about the outcome than the process. And the outcome should always be preparing students to be the best person they can be, in all those facets.
Extracurricular activities help with broader learning
As well as hitting the beats of the curriculum and getting exam results, great teachers take a rounded approach to learning. Building character, discussing big issues and supporting navigating through life are all essential for helping students grow up to be well rounded young people. Different activities help them build confidence, practical skills, and ask questions of the world, enhancing their knowledge in all sorts of areas beyond the subject specific. If you show that you care about them as an individual, rapport will be greater.
Extracurricular activities let you try new ways of teaching
You might find that particular activities really engage your students. Great! Bring them into the classroom. By mixing things up a bit you can find ways to make learning more meaningful and relevant to them. A varied approach to learning engages students and keeps them interested, and we all want students to be interested in learning. Interested and engaged students are likely to respond better and enable you to build a rapport.
How do you build a rapport with students through extracurricular activities? We’d love your techniques! Share them below.