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A+SEL, C.A.R.E.S.

Ways to display effective communication skills – looking ahead to the new school year

07/16/2021
Ways to display effective communication skills – looking ahead to the new school year

Communication is the process of sharing and transmitting information and/or meaning between individuals or among groups of people. It is an active process that involves exchanging information, receiving feedback, finding understanding, and making meaning of the exchange.
The nature of communication is contextual, and how and what we choose to communicate is informed by our environment and the person(s) with whom we are communicating, the feedback we receive, and any interference during communication (Business Communication for Success, 2015).

Strong communication skills help individuals interact productively with others, work collaboratively, and maintain healthy relationships and friendships (Bucăţa & Rizescu, 2017; CLIMB, 2019). To help students communicate effectively with their peers, consider the following strategies:

  • Create classroom norms that encourage strong communication skills including taking turns speaking, looking at the speaker, and listening for understanding (Seefeldt, n.d.). This allows students to internalize effective communication behaviors and provides many opportunities for them to practice such behaviors with their classmates.
  • Validate all different communication styles. Remind students that not everyone will be outspoken or outgoing, and that’s okay. Use activities like the telephone game, which incorporates listening skills, or show-and-tell, which incorporates observation skills, to help students explore different facets of what it means to communicate well (Waterford, 2020). This helps students respect their peers’ methods of communication and creates opportunities for meaningful connections among all students.
  • Utilize peer learning activities, which can help students practice communication skills and learn more effectively (Boud, 2001). Peer learning can include creating learning pods and study groups, in which students help each other learn content, or having discussion-based instructional sessions. Leaderless group discussions, where students work together to deliberate on a topic/problem (Costigan & Brink, 2019), are another useful tool for implementing peer learning activities.
  • Practice restating what another person is saying (Rogers & Roethlisberger, 1991). For younger students, they can work with partners to practice the process of pausing before repeating what their partner said and then stating their own point of view. For older students, consider having groups research topics they care about and present the information to a partner or small group. Everyone in the group restates the information and asks a follow-up question before responding with their thoughts or ideas.
Ways to display effective communication skills – looking ahead to the new school year

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