Home > Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > Building Rapport with Students by Sharing a Piece of Yourself

Building Rapport with Students by Sharing a Piece of Yourself

By Leslie Wooten-Blanks

Teaching at a historically black university can have its obstacles; especially when you are not African American. One of the main obstacles for me was how I was viewed by the students — I often felt that students did not or could not relate to me. Standing before them, I did not have the appearance of one who has ever encountered any difficulties in my lifetime or career. As a result, my students did not find me very approachable in spite of the fact that I had mentioned many times that I was available during office hours and would be happy to speak with anyone. Once the students would make the effort to stop by my office, it seemed that they would learn that I am much more approachable than they had originally imagined.

I found that self-disclosure bridged the gap between the students and me and led to increased student engagement. In my case, I told them my educational history. I told the story about all of the failures, mishaps and bad decisions. I showed them the real me in a presentation accompanied with real photographs of key individuals in my life. My intentions were to let the students know that they can succeed, no matter how insurmountable the obstacles may seem. At the end of the story, I realized that my story had impacted the students. Further, grades increased in my courses by about 20% after the talk.

Continued at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/building-rapport-with-students-by-sharing-a-piece-of-yourself/

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