We are all very well aware that communication is key in all aspects of life – whether it is in a relationship, friendship, household and most importantly – in the classroom. With the ever-changing digital era we live in, as well as the competitive career landscapes, it is so important that students are equipped with the right communication skills from a very early age. Teachers need to ensure that they establish effective communication methods in the classroom and to challenge their students on a daily basis to think critically, be solutions-driven, listen and work together as a team.
Make use of technology – since there is no way to escape technology, use it to your advantage in the classroom. From audiobooks to apps – the world is your oyster in terms of using technology to help students communicate more effectively.
Create a safe environment – students won’t feel comfortable communicating their feelings, opinions or ideas if they don’t feel safe. A classroom should be a safe haven where students should be encouraged to share whatever they like and they will be able to do so without being judged, but rather nurtured. Be the support structure that they need in any aspect.
Don’t just speak, listen! – as much as communication is about talking, it is very important to practice active listening. Teachers can help students develop listening skills by reading aloud and then have a question and answer session on the content with the rest of the class. It is important to listen to understand, rather than just reply.
Teamwork makes the dream work – focus a lot more on group assignments in class to ensure that students focus more on finding creative solutions together, rather than competing with each other. Group assignments encourage communication, listening and critical thinking.
Create opportunities for reflection and discussion – ask open-ended questions in class to ensure that students have the chance to give more than a one- or two-word answer to questions. Creating these opportunities to reflect on material and giving students the gap to really think about content in class strengthens critical thinking skills, communication and of course debating skills.
The importance of effective communication in the classroom should not be underestimated – it can have an impact on your students’ academic progress, feelings of self-worth, perceptions of school and your own career.
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