Research has shown a consensus that positive professor-student relationship makes meaningful contributions to academic outcomes such as faculty effectiveness, increased motivation, enhanced learning, and excellent teaching. Employing a qualitative research design, the authors of this study examine the conceptualization of one specific aspect of faculty-student relationship; namely, rapport, which they believe is particularly salient in college classrooms characterized by effective teaching and a positive interpersonal climate. The data were collected through in-depth interviews with 26 Iranian foreign language professors who were selected through snowball sampling. A hybrid thematic analysis of the data revealed two core themes of rapport antecedents: (1) connectedness, and (2) professionalism and professorial ethics. The two themes and their sub-themes will be elaborated upon in this article. The article concludes by discussing the purposeful insights into the antecedents of rapport to provide concrete aspirational advice on how to potentially improve the higher education process.


rapport, professors, students, higher education, foreign languages, hybrid thematic analysis

Author Bio(s)

Maryam Roshanbin holds an MA in TEFL from Iran University of Science and Technology in Tehran, Iran. Her research interests concern issues related to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching and learning, second language teacher education, and computer-assisted language learning. She has been teaching English to (young) adults for the past decade. Please direct correspondence to maryam8194@yahoo.com.

Musa Nushi is an assistant professor in TEFL at Shahid Behehsti University in Tehran, Iran. He teaches Academic Writing, Discourse Analysis, Psycholinguistics and Technology in Second Language Teaching and Learning at the graduate level. His research interests lie mainly in the interface of instruction and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning, with particular emphasis on the role of technology and corrective feedback. Musa spent the 2005-2006 academic year teaching Persian as a heritage language at Portland State University, Oregon, the USA. Please direct correspondence to m_nushi@sbu.ac.ir.

Zahra Abolhassani holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Tehran. She has been teaching in different Iranian universities at graduate and postgraduate levels, with a specialization in sociolinguistics. She was also a lecturer in Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic, from 2011 to 2013. She is currently an associate professor at the Institute for Research and Development of University Textbooks in the Humanities, SAMT. Dr. Abolhassani is also head of the Language Studies of the SAMT. Please direct correspondence to zabolhassani@hotmail.com.


The researchers wish to sincerely thank the foreign language professors who took time off their busy schedule to take part in our interviews.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




https://orcid.org/ 0000-0003-1917-5372



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