The present comparative study explores the perceptions of both students and teachers towards rapport-building behaviors, including the similarities and differences in their respective perceptions of such behaviors. Previous research posits that building rapport in classrooms has been correlated with deeper student engagement and higher motivation towards the course, thereby enabling students to enjoy the learning process itself. An array of rapport- building strategies has been explored, including learning students’ names, showing respect towards the students, and using humor in the classroom. A total of 129 students and 51 teachers filled out a perception questionnaire consisting of 26 teacher traits and behaviors in relation to their importance in building rapport; in addition, the researcher conducted interviews with six language teachers to gain in-depth insight into rapport management in classrooms. Results identified three trends within these 26 behaviors: first, specific behaviors that students perceive as more important than do teachers; second, those behaviors deemed important by both students and teachers; and, third, the behaviors that students perceive as less important in building rapport than do teachers. The results of this study may benefit educators and other stakeholders by raising teachers’ awareness about building rapport in classrooms. The study may also encourage teachers to invest time and effort in activities that students perceive as conducive to rapport- building. In addition, this study could guide program directors to make informed decisions about the hiring of new teachers and renewals for current ones, based on the interpersonal communication skills of each teacher.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date

Fall 7-1-2020

Submission Date

July 2020

First Advisor

Gebril, Atta

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Bassiouney, Reem

Committee Member 2

Al-Sabbagh, Rania

Committee Member 3



86 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Teaching English as a Foreign Language


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item

Streaming Media