Communication has always been the key factor behind the rise of human civilization. To give an example from the pre-historic times, compared to other human species such as Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and others, who were at one point more capable and powerful than ourselves, the only skill which allowed us, homo sapiens to seize control of the planet earth was our better-developed communication skills. Even today, behind most accomplishments that hold some value, there is a team of literally thousands to even lakhs of people from across the world working together in close coordination; and well-developed communication skills are a prerequisite to teamwork and coordination. Especially in this era of globalization and economic development, it is integral that teachers should work on improving communication skills of their students from a young age. In a bid to help students develop indispensable skills of communication, you should follow the strategies mentioned below.
Make ample use of Technology-
In this era of online teaching, technology has become an indispensable part of the education system in particular. Online education apps provide flexibility of time and space, both for teachers and students. Even audiobooks are a viable option for improving communication skills in students, students can listen to audiobooks even while they are busy with some other task and read along with it. Audiobooks are especially beneficial in teaching students the correct pronunciation of the words which reading sometimes fails to do. You can search for online resources for improving student communication skills from among the best software for online teaching available today.
Encourage Active Listening-
Speaking is one half of the communication process, the other important aspect of effective communication is listening and understanding. Active Listening means that the listener is trying to understand what the speaker has to say as opposed to just listening to reply. A teacher can reinforce the practice of active listening in his students through several ways such as by reading an excerpt out loud and asking students in your class to listen carefully to it before moving on towards a group discussion about the same and self-reflection. A teacher should also encourage his students to ask questions in order to resolve any doubts and dilemmas and to fully understand the intended message of the writer.
Asking Open-Ended Questions to Your Students-
Open-Ended questions are the best way to get students to speak up their minds. As open-ended questions inevitably encourage students to marshal a response, even the generally reserved students will open up to communication if you put the right questions in front of them to initiate a conversation or discussion. A teacher could time his students during informal discussions and challenge them to ask more open-ended questions of each other within the set time limit. For instance, you could demonstrate the utility of open-ended questions to your students by telling them the distinction between asking someone, “Did you like the school picnic we went on last week?” and “What did you like the most about the school picnic that we went on last week?” and how they could gain more information about the topic of their interest by changing their question ever so slightly.
Encourage and Give opportunity to Reflect-
Recording group presentations on online teaching apps or recording students while reading is quite helpful in assessing their strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis communication. A teacher shall provide time for students to reflect upon their oral performance in groups. Once that is done, the teacher can ask the group members to critique others so that students can learn to accept constructive criticism which is a vital element of good communication skills.
Teach through Films-
Conversation is the most fundamental communication skill. It allows individuals to share their concerns, thoughts, ideas, and opinions with each other. Even though it might appear a no-brainer, an effective conversation involves various verbal and non-verbal elements like eye contact, the body language of individuals, facial expressions, speaking, thinking, and responding. A great way of teaching your students the art of striking effective conversations with people is by making them watch videos and films of these conversations as they take place.
These are five ways in which you can help your students in developing effective communication skills which will be of immense help in their careers as well as make every sphere of their lives more joyous and lively.