As a teacher, having a strong communication strategy is a vital part of the learning process. Conveying information that can sometimes seem dull to students in an exciting and inspiring way can be challenging. While communicating in a way that develops respect and strong relationships is no easy feat. But effective communication between teachers and students has the potential to improve the learning experience and create a positive inspiring environment. Building an engaging and connected teaching environment requires continuous and effective communication, which is why we have put together our top tips for implementing communication techniques that really work:
1) Be an Active Listener
A large part of developing strong communication levels is by actively listening to your students. It is vital that teachers listen to their students and understand their thoughts and ideas. By actively listening, they will develop empathy and understanding for their students and be able to assess if they understand what they are being taught. Students will feel heard and this will go a long way towards strengthening relationship bonds.
2) Create a Supportive Environment
Creating a supportive environment where students feel their needs are being met and they can get help is vital to classroom success. This includes showing students that you are approachable and if they need additional support you have an open door policy. All students will have different intellectual capabilities and learning speeds, so recognising this and providing extra support when needed is fundamental. During classes, this also means making students feel comfortable to ask questions and ensuring they know it’s a safe space where they won’t be ridiculed. Another great way is encouraging group projects where students work together rather than compete for grades and recognition. You will find this approach fosters teamwork, cooperation and open dialogue between students and teachers.
3) Practice Positive Reinforcement
As the saying goes, “credit where credits due” and this is especially important for young learners. It’s easy for teachers to become frustrated with student behaviour and emphasise the things they do wrong and forget to highlight their achievements. But this really serves to demotivate students and can totally derail their learning process. Focusing on small or large achievements can really help to build students confidence and encourage them to keep trying. Maybe they came top of the class in a test or helped another student in some way, whatever it may be, your commending their efforts will not go unnoticed. It will strengthen your rapport and develop a mutual appreciation.
4) Use Visual Stimulation to Nurture Creativity
Children’s imaginations run wild during the early developmental phase and so it is no wonder studies have proven that younger people respond better to visual representations than just written information. A highly effective strategy is to install school notice boards in your classroom and display pictures, artwork, school projects and anything else that will liven up the room. This will nurture a sense of creativity in students, spark enthusiasm and potentially open a dialogue between them and their teachers. Students who are inspired will be more active in the learning process and this will strengthen communication with their teachers.
5) Challenge Students with Interesting Work
Nothing will break down communication more than an uninspired and bored student. Naturally, their enthusiasm levels will increase exponentially if they are excited by the topic or task and it challenges them. Giving them challenging tasks is a great way to develop problem-solving and analytical skills needed in future life. It will make them an active participant in the student-teacher interaction process, with discussions and questions creating a vibrant communicative environment.