With the 3rd years gone and a new wave of 1st grade students, it’s time to connect and re-connect with students. For I’ve learned that bonding with my students in these first few weeks and months is actually one of the best things I can do to ensure their success in English and my success in teaching it to them. Students that feel connected to me learn so much more than those who aren’t. So I got to try hard to bridge those divides, even if it means I speak more Japanese with them than I’d like. Let me tell you some of the strategies I use to connect with students.
-Learn names. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times busting out a student’s name has helped give me credibility with a student so they listen to the advice I have to share.
-Insist on big greetings and big reactions with students in the hallway, even when it isn’t reciprocated. Over time, everyone knows that when they see me it is time to wave and say “Hello!” to me in a big, cheerful voice.
-Speaking Japanese with students *gasp* during lunch time. I know it has its pitfalls, but if I can tell students more about me, how I learned Japanese, how I love travel, etc. I know that students feel more comfortable because they know a bit more about where I’m actually coming from. Understanding like this builds the foundation for trust, which is essential in teaching.
I’m always searching for other ways to connect with students. How do you connect with students?