The Teaching Professor blog (a really useful resource for new and for experienced faculty) offers reflections on why it’s important to build rapport with students. When students feel that they connect well with faculty members, the result is higher student motivation, better quality work, and more trust between student and faculty member.
The post offers suggestions for building rapport, including telling faculty members to have a sense of humor and to be approachable. It advises faculty members to cultivate an atmosphere of respect.
What the article doesn’t do is offer details about what kinds of classroom actions might produce these results. What do you do in your classroom to create the kind of climate the Maryellen Weimer is promoting in this article? What has worked for you in the past? What has fallen flat?
Rapport does not result in learning, but it certainly helps to create conditions conducive to learning—things like higher motivation, increased comfort, and enhanced communication.