“…effective communication requires more than an exchange of information. When done right, communication fosters understanding, strengthens relationships, improves teamwork and builds trust.” -Liz Papodopoulos, OCT
Truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to classroom communication. We’ve all had that brilliant teacher who bored us to death. What caused the disconnect between their ability and our engagement with the subject matter? Poor communication! Good communication can foster a fun learning environment and is crucial for student engagement. So, how can you improve communication with your students to get the best from them and create a great learning environment? Below are 8 simple things you can start doing right now:
Stop and Listen
When we say listen, we mean really listen. When mediating classroom conflicts, it’s always a good idea to take a step back to ensure you’re “hearing” what students are saying. Never make assumptions when sorting out a classroom issue. Make sure you don’t overlook something important: ask questions and keep an open mind as you help students resolve their issues fairly and maturely.
Outline Concise Goals
To avoid confusion when giving an assignment, it is important to set clear, concise goals and expectations. If, after doing this, you find yourself looking at a sea of puzzled faces, that’s a clear indication that you need to go over your instructions again. It can be helpful to ask a student to repeat your instructions. This will allow you to quickly gauge the class’s understanding and take appropriate steps as needed.
Everyone Loves Praise
It’s a known fact that everyone loves praise. In fact, most of us thrive on it. A little bit of praise can go a long way, often giving students the boost they need to keep trying. If you have a student who’s struggling, praise them for even the smallest successes, your praise will spur them on and prevent them from giving up. Never underestimate the power of praise and keep it going!
It’s a great idea to let your students know you’re there for them if they need you. This shows students you care and is a great way to build strong relationships. Be accessible – we’re not talking 24/7 here—you do need to set limits, but make yourself available to students as much as reasonably possible. You can schedule a meeting, a Skype call, or even create a special email address where students can get in touch with you when they need questions answered about school work. Your students will love the extra effort.
It’s All About Teamwork
You need to create an environment that encourages teamwork. You can do this by helping students realize they’re all working together toward a shared goal. This understanding will build camaraderie, and students will begin working together and helping each other out. This in turn improves morale and creates a fun learning environment. A bonus is that this type of atmosphere makes classroom management a breeze!
Bring On Your Funny Side
A little bit of humor can go a long way. It not only makes learning more fun, but you might find your students are more positive about the work they consider “boring.”
Inject Some Variety
Doing the same thing day in and day out can be a real mood killer, not only for your students, but for you as well. A steady diet of monotonous lectures will make your lessons forgettable. So, try something new or different: use role-play, bring in an expert to do a talk, interview someone, get a debate going, or have a student teach a lesson (after doing some research, of course!). Use your imagination and mix it up!
Keep It Real
Studies show that students retain more information when it relates to real-life scenarios. Be sure to give examples of how things relate to your students’ lives or daily activities when introducing new lessons. Math can come alive when students realize it helps engineers design and build epic buildings; history can take on a whole new meaning when students understand how it impacts their lives, whether through influencing architecture or even fashion. The opportunities for linking lessons to real-life are endless. Get creative and bring learning alive!
Do you have any other ideas on how to improve communication with your students? We would love to hear your comments.