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5 Ways to Build Trust with Your Students

Sometimes, the one-size-fits-all approach applied in regular class settings may not work for particular students. For example, some students excel in classroom activities and engage with their teacher during lessons. Others don’t participate in classwork but respond to personal attention and individual assignments. 

As a teacher, you must break down social and psychological barriers that interfere with a student’s learning ability. One significant way to eliminate these barriers is to build trust with your students. Building trust generally refers to creating an environment where students can express themselves without shame and fear of dismissal. 

When you build trust with your students, it improves their relationships and boosts their confidence. Here are five ways you can build trust with your students.

1. Listen

One of the best ways to build trust with students is to listen to them. Acknowledging the influence of teachers on a student’s self-confidence is essential. Dismissing students or embarrassing them in front of other students when they make a mistake can affect their self-confidence. This also alters their perspective of the teacher-student relationship, where they treat you as an authority figure, not a confidant.

Instead of rushing to reprimand a student, listen to their perspective and offer a solution based on that information. Treating students with empathy reminds them that they are valued. Listening allows the student to be honest and vulnerable without fear.

Students also learn better when they are not afraid to make mistakes.

2. Show Interest

Learning who your students are as individuals can help you create an accepting, inclusive, and respectful classroom environment. Showing interest in their hobbies and out-of-class activities also helps you craft learning opportunities that align with their interests.

Some students may not excel in classwork but may perform well in sports, dancing, or gaming activities. Acknowledging their strengths shows them you focus on their overall well-being and not just their academic success.

Showing genuine interest in your students’ individual lives is an effective way to keep students engaged during lessons. It also demonstrates that it’s safe to be honest or seek your help when they’re struggling.

3. Show Appreciation

Sometimes a poor teacher-student relationship results from the students feeling of inadequacy. A student who doesn’t feel recognized by their teacher will likely respond with rebellion or withdrawal. A student like this will also fail to participate in class for fear of ridicule. They may also fail to seek assistance in challenging areas resulting in poor grades.

To help students overcome their fear of failure, learn to recognize the students’ efforts. For example, when you ask a question in class, thank the student for answering even when they don’t give the correct answer. This shows the student that you appreciate their effort.

Verbal praise is also essential to motivation and increasing students’ engagement during lessons.

4. Share Roles and Responsibilities

Trusting students with specific classroom tasks and responsibilities is part of improving your relationship with your students. For example, asking students to suggest assignment ideas shows that you trust their capabilities and value their participation in the learning process. 

Students are likely to respond well to a teacher who affirms their skills and offers them an opportunity to display them. Other responsibilities teachers’ can provide students with include:

  • Encouraging problem-based learning.
  • Appointing team leaders, prefects, or bookkeepers.
  • Asking students to share ideas about the roles they would like to take up in class.
  • Asking students to participate in making rules for specific activities or lessons.

Remember, the best way to get students to trust you is to show that you trust them. Letting students play an active role in classroom management creates a safe classroom environment.

5. Show Integrity and Fairness

Nothing sets a teacher apart like their ability to be honest with students and apologize when they are wrong. It’s easy to dismiss simple mistakes like being late for a lesson as inconsequential. But, when teachers apologize for being late, they set an example that students will follow.

It’s also essential that teachers practice consistency in the way they punish or reward students. Students are susceptible to reprimand when they feel undeserving of the punishment. To maintain fairness in class, show the students that they have the same rules.

Praise and reward are other areas likely to create a perception of favoritism. Even though not all students actively participate in class, you can opt for random selection when asking questions.

Written by Steve Ndar
Education World Contributor
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