Student Engagement and Rapport in Higher Education: The Case for Relationship-Centred Pedagogies

  • Leonie RowanEmail author
  • Peter Grootenboer


Literature relating to student satisfaction with university teaching has increasingly drawn attention to the impact of positive staff-student relationships on how students rate the overall quality of their learning experience. These positive relationships are characterised, we argue, not by excessive friendliness or “dumbed-down” courses, but rather by an academic’s social presence, opportunities for enjoyable interactions and a respectful connection between staff and students and amongst students themselves; a combination which can be described with the overarching term, rapport. This chapter outlines the design and conduct of a research project which explored the ways rapport could be developed in diverse learning environments. We provide a review of how this focus shaped an approach to educational innovation and the benefits that followed for students and for staff.


Higher education pedagogy Educational rapport Student engagement Student satisfaction Collegial conversations Relationship-centred pedagogy Teacher education 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversitySouthportAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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