It’s not about trying to get down with the kids. Chose your opportunities to build a relationship with a student carefully. Open up casual conversation when the student appears relaxed and unguarded. Try asking for help or advice, giving the student something you know they are interested in (a newspaper cutting, web reference, loan copy of a book) or simply say hello and pass the time of day. You may choose to wait until you find a situation that is not pressured or time limited. Aim for little and often rather than launching into a lengthy and involved conversation.
Remember, your intervention may be unwelcome at first. Your aim is to gently persuade the student that you are committed to building trust. Be prepared for your approaches to be rejected. The student may be testing you to see how committed to developing the relationship you really are. He may not welcome any informal conversation with you because it is easier for him to deal with a conflict than a relationship of trust. Or quite simply, he may have decided that all teachers need to be given a wide berth.
Give your time freely and expect nothing in return; in time and with persistence your reward can be a positive relationship that others will be amazed at… “How do you get him to behave like that? In my lessons he has made a home under the table and is refusing visitors.”