Online learning environments quickly became the new normal because of COVID-19. Learn how to build a rapport with students virtually with these simple best practices.

''For interactions between students and teachers to be successful, a rapport must be built. And these meaningful relationships aren’t just limited to brick-and-mortar classrooms—in fact, it’s more important than ever to understand how to connect with students in an online environment as virtual teaching and learning becomes more prevalent. Surprisingly, many of the tactics teachers use to engage with students in person can be transitioned to the online classroom. Below, we outline three ways teachers can build a rapport with students in a virtual learning environment.

Personalize Your Lesson Plans

One of the best ways you can nurture a rapport with your students in an online learning environment is to create personalized lesson plans. By developing lesson plans that reflect the interests and learning styles of your students, you not only show that you are listening but that you value what is being shared. For instance, you may get a sense that a core group of your students enjoy a competitive atmosphere and decide to incorporate friendly head-to-head games into your curriculum, such as trivia. Perhaps you notice some students prefer a quieter, more controlled learning environment that you can honor and build coursework around periodically as well. Creating lesson plans that center on what your students love and can engage with more easily is a staple of being an effective and impactful teacher.

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Share About Yourself

In addition to encouraging students to share their thoughts and preferences so you can get to know them (and thereby inform your teaching strategies), you should also offer information about yourself. Take the time to talk about some of the shareable aspects of your life, such as your favorite food, hobbies, and any pets you may have. Not only does getting to know your students help create a closer, more harmonious relationship, but allowing them to get to know you can do the same. These moments humanize you and give students the opportunity to see that you are not just their teacher, but a person who shares some of the same values and interests that they do.

Exhibit Enthusiasm

Though always an important part of teaching, exhibiting enthusiasm in an online classroom can be challenging. That’s because it likely doesn’t come as naturally—and may feel a bit more forced—to demonstrate enthusiasm over an internet connection. With face-to-face interactions, enthusiasm can be perceived more readily through our body language and tone. With online learning, students won’t be able to rely on a teacher’s expressions in the same way. Still, it’s important to show excitement, so coming up with ways to do this more effectively while teaching online is key. Switch up your routine by adding games, props, or music into your lessons. Keeping things fresh and stimulating will help showcase your enthusiasm, which often is contagious and will be mirrored back to you by your students.

Learn How to Make a Difference in the Lives of Your Students When You Earn Your Teaching Degree at Walden University

Whether you’re considering pursuing a teaching career or have been active as a teacher in the field for years, earning an education degree is a good next step to take. At Walden, you can choose from an array of education programs—including the BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) and MS in Education (MSEd) programs—to gain greater knowledge and a deeper understanding of the teaching strategies you need to improve student outcomes. And thanks to Walden’s online learning platform, getting your MSEd or other degree is more convenient than ever. That’s because you can complete your coursework from wherever you have internet access and attend class at whatever time of day works best for you—a convenience that makes it possible to earn your education degree while you continue to work full time. If you want to become a teacher who makes an impact in the field, Walden’s undergraduate and graduate programs for teachers can help you develop the skills you need to succeed.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of education degree programs online, including the BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) and MS in Education (MSEd) programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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