Communication is key in the classroom successful teaching is generally considered to require only 50% knowledge to 50% communication skills. As a result, a teacher should be proficient in all four modes of communication: listening, speaking, reading and writing and should know how to utilize this proficiency effectively in a school environment. Being able to do so has been proven to impact the success students achieving their academic lives as well as the teacher’s own career success. This article will outline some of the
strategies you can use to help your students.
What we classify as “good” or “effective” communication depends on the context but we can see how some basic strategies can always help:
Creating a safe learning environment with supportive relationships between students and teachers have a positive impact on class engagement, participation and the students’ achievements. When students feel supported, they are more comfortable expressing their own thoughts and ideas in class discussions attempting challenges an asking when they need help.
Teamwork and group discussions contribute to making the classroom a more comfortable environment by working in small groups. Students are able to share their ideas more easily and improve their own communication skills. These activities also give them a good opportunity to ask you questions and get feedback on their work leading to effective communication between you, a better understanding of the lesson, and academic benefits.
Body language or using gestures to emphasize your words increases the interactive activity of the lesson making it more visually interesting and hence more memorable. Keep your arms open, do not fold them. Use smiles, nods and thumbs up to encourage students when they participate. Moving around the classroom while you teach can help to remove the barrier between you and your students and gives them less opportunity to get distracted.
Active listening involves listening carefully to what your students say, checking that you have understood them correctly, building on their ideas and challenging them or questioning them. It is the best approach to use to foster understanding in the classroom and is an excellent example of effective communication.
A sense of humour in the classroom has been found to increase learning self- motivation and positive relationships between students and teachers. It allows you to establish a rapport with your class and keep them interested in the lesson. For example, you might tell jokes or funny anecdotes, give lighthearted personal examples or laugh at students’ own jokes.
Being clear is also having good communication skills. When you ask your students questions, use appropriate scaffolding to ensure that they understand exactly. Asking yes or no questions are adaptable to children whereas with teenagers we can ask more open questions like, “What do you think of…? or How do you think…? or Tell me about…
Effective communication should not be underestimated. It can have an impact on your students’ academic progress feelings of self worth, perceptions of school and his or her own career. Using communication strategies, could allow you to become a more successful teacher who better meets your students’ needs.
Teresa Platì – JUMP Trainer