A classroom environment relies heavily on the quality of communication taking place within it. As an instructor, taking steps towards improving the communication skills of your students will contribute positively towards your classroom climate. Students with effective communication skills will be more likely to contribute to class discussions, will be more productive members in group projects, and will ultimately gain more from their experience in class. The following steps can be implemented to improve your students' communication skills, with the intent of strengthening the classroom experience.
Steps for Improving Student Communication Skills.
Establish the ground rules and norms for class discussion early on. By setting the standards for class participation as early as possible, your students will be more likely to understand their role in discussion. Specific elements, such as when a speaker should raise their hand, and more intangible aspects such as the tone for the classroom environment you establish, will help your students understand how communication works within the classroom.
Encourage all students to participate in class discussion. Avoid focusing on the students that are always willing to answer. Look for responses from the entire classroom, and be willing to take the time for them to emerge.
Assign frequent opportunities for small group discussion. The more often students work together in order to contribute to the larger discussion, the more comfortable they will become within the classroom environment, increasing their willingness to communicate.
Adopt a policy of openness with your students. When you make a change to the class structure, or give an assignment, be open with your students about your intentions, and seek their feedback. By treating them with respect and openness, you will help foster an environment of trust with your students, increasing their likelihood of open communication.
- "Communication Counts: Getting it Right in College and Life"; David Worley, Debra Worley, Laura Soldner; 2009
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