Effective Communication Tips for the Classroom

... George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Effective communication is essential for a well-run classroom. Although this sounds simple and obvious, it requires much more than a teacher saying something out loud to a student.

1 Communicate Respectfully

... Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Respect is the foundation of effective communication, especially in the classroom. Teachers and students demonstrate respectful communication in the following ways: - Use a tone that is honest and tactful, choosing words that are appropriate to the situation and noninflammatory. - When taking on a listening role, make eye contact and focus on the speaker.
- Speak in turn, never interrupting the speaker. Teachers who model respect with their students have more respectful classrooms overall because students learn how to communicate respectfully and see its effectiveness.

2 Repeat Your Message in Different Ways

... BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

While most communication in a classroom starts verbally, many students don't take in what they hear the first time. Effective communication requires using different techniques in communication. When you want to make a point, consider what visual tools can help you in addition to your verbal communication. For example, if you are discussing rules of conduct, have a chart handy with graphics to help students remember. In a lecture situation, offer hand-outs that outline the points you are making. Give the students something to do that reflects the idea you are communicating. Repeat yourself at least twice verbally and offer something for students to look at, hold, or do that will also reinforce your message.

3 Check for Understanding

Teacher student
... Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

A teacher should always check for understanding. The simple question, "Do you understand?" will not result in much information, as most students will either nod or sit passively. Students can write down one sentence that summarizes what they think the lesson or lecture was about, or they can write a question they have about the lesson. In a one-on-one conversation, a teacher should ask the student to repeat the main point or outcome of the conversation.

4 Nonverbal Communication

... Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Everyone communicates nonverbally through facial expressions and gestures. Effective communication in the classroom requires careful use of these nonverbal cues. A teacher who rolls her eyes at a student's question sends a louder message than her careful and expert verbal response. A disapproving stare can work wonders on a student who is off task. A bright smile for a student who is having a bad day means more than he will ever reveal. Gestures and animated facial expressions also give weight and enthusiasm to what a teacher has to say. Students who see a teacher actively engaged in what she is teaching will be much more engaged themselves.

Sarah Peterson has been a classroom teacher since 2002. In addition, she has been writing freelance articles about spirituality, recreation, nutrition, and fitness since 2004. Her work has been published in "The Boulder Daily Camera," "Fun Trips Live," Demand Studios, and non-profit publications. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from Augustana College.