Creating dialogue between your students can be a challenging yet fundamental part of teaching. Effective communication can help to build and foster a safe learning environment where students can thrive, prosper and learn.
The importance of establishing good communication at a young age is critical in a child’s development and future learning. The communication skills that students learn at school are fully transferable and essential across all aspects of life. Furthermore, it has been proven that supportive teacher-student relationships have a positive impact on class participation, engagement, and ultimately a student’s achievements.
Communication can be described as the process where people exchange thoughts or ideas with one another. The benefits of fostering such relationships enable students to freely discuss thoughts and ideas and create an open environment in which questions can be asked without the risk of being judged or humiliated.
Poor communication is the main reason why students lack motivation, perform badly, and consequently drop out of school. According to many studies, the success of students is directly related to the effective communication of their teachers. Nurturing this kind of interactive and engaging teaching environment demands regular and effective communication. We have compiled our top techniques to create a positive dialogue between students and teachers.
So let's see what you can do.
Create a safe, inclusive and supportive environment where students feel comfortable to open up and express their thoughts and ideas. An atmosphere that allows students to ask if they need help is crucial to their academic success. It is important that at all stages of the teaching process you nurture this kind of non-judgemental environment.
Having an open door policy and allowing students to pop in and talk about anything that may occur is a great way to promote good communication. Giving students extra support, tuition, or explanations before and after class helps shy students that don’t feel comfortable in class to ask questions to learn. Check out our inclusive teaching course to go in depth.
Doing more team activities, and group work is a great way to take the focus off competing with one another and concentrate more on working together to get the best results. It can encourage communication, cooperation, and collaboration and help students talk more and effectively express themselves with their peers.
Teamwork and collaboration are skills that are transferable across all aspects of life and will be particularly important in their future working lives. Consider incorporating some games and even some quizzes into your lesson plan. Split students into pairs or small groups and tell them that they need to work together to play or have a chance at doing well. Pair and group work will also have the added benefit of encouraging students that may not hang out together regularly to interact more; to ask questions, talk about themselves, and listen to others.
We have plenty of classroom games and quizzes you can easily arrange that are sure to get students communicating with you and one another.
Often teachers forget to mention when a student has performed well and instead focus on the negative aspects such as bad behavior. This can have significant effects and demoralize students. Although negative feedback can create positive outcomes by helping students to improve, giving positive feedback is a necessary part of promoting effective communication in the classroom.
It has been shown that students that receive praise are more likely to believe that they can accomplish tasks and be successful. Other benefits are that it can help to build a student’s confidence, create a good rapport and supportive environment. Why stop giving feedback to students yourself? Why not teach students how they can provide positive feedback to one another, the importance of showing gratitude, recognition, and appreciation.
Conversely, it can be beneficial to encourage your students to give you feedback. Allowing them to share their feedback on lessons or teaching styles shows that you appreciate and value their opinion as well as helping to improve learning.
If you are looking for an easy way to get started with a lesson on feedback then we have put together a template on that very topic that you can download and use with just a click or two. Here everyone can submit anonymous feedback and give some well-deserved praise to their classmates.
Moving around the classroom, and getting involved with the students will create less of a student-teacher feel. Moving away from the front of the classroom and joining them either at their desks to discuss ideas and getting involved in small discussions will help them feel more comfortable and more likely to open up.
Moving around the room also has the added effect of changing students’ points of focus. By moving towards students who usually don’t speak up you can encourage them to participate by simply being in closer proximity. Some may not want to raise their voice around their classmates and simply being close means they can contribute without the added pressure that speaking aloud may bring.
Listen to hear your students, not just to respond and give an immediate answer. Sometimes just lending an ear can be extremely useful in promoting a supportive and caring environment. Other times, students have a question about homework or need some clarification about a topic that has been discussed where an answer is needed.
Listening to your students enables you to provide better assistance and consequently a better education. Likewise, helping to teach your students both the value and the skills of active listening will both help to improve their ability to understand instructions and lessons as well as their ability to connect with their peers. These are skills that will be invaluable throughout their time in education and throughout their lives.
Another important aspect of improving communication in any setting, but especially in the classroom, is to make students feel safe and comfortable contributing. We mentioned earlier about the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment, students will naturally develop communication skills but some will do so more gradually than others as they may have a fear of speaking in front of a group or lack confidence in what they have to say. A tool like Mentimeter can help to alleviate and remove these fears and blockers.