As teachers, you might have often seen many introverted and extroverted students. In class, the communication of different students differs from one another. For example, an introverted child would barely speak until spoken to, whereas an extroverted student would love to talk all the time.
However, as a teacher, you would like them to pick up communication skills that would help them in future and help them sustain a good life. It is a tad bit difficult to bring a student out of their shell that too within a time that is so restricted. Thus, you need to look at various ways to make them communicate well ad allow them to pick up social cues.
Importance of acquiring communication skills
Communication skills are extremely important in life, and as teachers, it is thus important to look at ways to help your students out. This set of skills helps the students out by bringing down the language barrier and allowing them to communicate freely. They are able to communicate their thoughts, feelings, ideas through this which allow them to progress further in their career.
Developing communication skills helps them interact with their colleagues and employees better and helps them build leadership skills along with it. It also allows one to understand and read body language and pick on social cues to carry on a good conversation which impresses your employer during an interview.
Thus, possessing communication skills is of vital importance irrespective of whether you want to maintain a social life or whether it is for your career.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
How to help students develop effective communication skills?
Because communication skills are so important, it is important that as a teacher you get your students involved and look at ways that will allow them to develop effective skills.
Most students are shy to speak up in class as they think they might be wrong. You need to instil in them that it is ok to be wrong sometimes. Many also fear to speak up because they think they don’t know the answer or they are unsure of it.
For such cases, you might want to help them out. However, within such a constricted time, it is difficult to do so. So, you can suggest some other means like an online educational site that might help them understand and strengthen their foundation for a certain subject. However, you need to employ different tactics as the class consist of a number of students with different capabilities.
Listed below are some such ways that will allow you to work with your students and help them develop communication skills:
- Establish some rules in class
The first thing that you need to do is put down some rules in class for discussions. You need to ensure that everyone participates in it and so, make your rules accordingly.
You need to make them understand when to speak, how to speak and what kind of tone they should use. You need to establish the right kind of atmosphere for the students so that they can volunteer to speak. This allows the students to understand their role able and helps them communicate better.
- Make them use the right words
As a teacher, you wouldn’t want your students to speak incorrectly and use all the wrong words or colloquial words which are trending now. So, communicate the same to them. Correct them whenever they are using some colloquial terms and explain it.
Correct their grammatical mistakes and suggest them some better words. Playing word games helps as well. Eliminate the use of the word ‘very’ in class. For example, if a student says that they are ‘very sorry’, then correct them and ask them to say ‘extremely sorry’ instead.
- Increase students’ talking time in class
Usually, in a class, the teacher speaks a lot as they have to convey the lessons. However, you can reduce your teacher talking time in class and listen instead. Increase the student talking time by different methods.
Ask them to read the lesson prior to the class and ask them to explain it while you listen. Ask them to answer the questions their classmates have and interrupt only when they are wrong. As a teacher English, this is an effective way to help students communicate better.
- Encourage participation
Encourage all students to participate in the discussions. There will be many students in class who would be enthusiastic to answer and participate all the time. Don’t concentrate or pick them always. Make the entire class participate and pick the ones who are silent as well, occasionally.
- Make good conversations
Pair students up and exhibit how to hold a proper conversation. For students who are willing to enhance their communication skills, this is an efficient way to do so as through conversations they can address their issues.
Start with the basics. Ask them how they are doing, what they like, what interests them and so on. Tell them a bit about yourself as well. This helps students who struggle with conversations and doing this at least twice a week improves their communication skills.
- Discourage monosyllables in class
There are many students who would answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and such other monosyllables. Discourage the use of such syllables in class. They do not facilitate a conversation or a discussion and brings one to a standstill. Make them use other words instead. If they fail to think up other ways, then make them explain why they think it is so.
- Encourage and raise thinkers
As a teacher, you must have encountered countless number of times when a student would say ‘I don’t know.’ Well, a fitting response to that would be ‘what do you think?’ In order to be good at communication, the students need to be able to think before they speak and as a teacher, you can help them do that. Make them think aloud if need be, make them guess and so on.
- Use effective methods
Sometimes, you might not get enough time within the class hours to talk to the students or make them talk. However, you can use effective communicating methods to do so.
You can pair students up and tell them to share everything with each other. Or you can ask them to work on a word game together, and you would like to see the results. Or you can arrange for some extra classes where you sue a baton which is passed around and which allows the students to speak.
- Arrange group discussions
Group discussion iseffective way to make those who are shy really talk. So, divide your class into various groups and make them speak their mind. Tell them they can speak about anything, be it comics, books, video games or any such other things. This allows them to converse with ease and you can supervise and pick on the problems they are facing and correct them later.
- Provide feedback
Feedback is really important if you are teaching a class about communication skills. Tell them what they are doing wrong, how they can improve and what’s the right way to talk. This will allow them to improvise as and when needed and help them be better at communication. However, you need to give the feedback in a more sensitive manner so that none of the students is offended.
Empathizing with your students is of utmost importance. Communication is a kind of partnership. You need to be able to understand the problems of your opponent who’s speaking and help them out. Many students are anxious when they converse, and you need to pick up on those silences and understand them better in order to help them out.
So, employ these methods and make your students’ converse better. Suggest them how to search for help that they might require to combat their confidence issues and speak better.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”