Communication – “The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.”
The single most important tool in a teacher’s repertoire. Effective communication equals a greater understanding and therefore increased student learning, which can be applied to all learning areas. Communication is not just about verbally explaining procedures, rules and information to students, it is about a teacher’s whole demeanour and interaction with their classes.
I use effective verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student understanding, participation, engagement and achievement.
Examples of non-verbal communication I use during my classes include:
- positive gestures, posture and positioning
- appropriate facial expression and eye contact
- proximity and physical setting
I have found that non-verbal communication can play a very important role in behaviour management and student/teacher relationships. With the intention of always remaining positive and creating a happy demeanour including positive gestures and facial expressions, I have found that students respond more favourably in all situations, even when being disciplined.
Student feedback forms also provide students an opportunity to communicate with me in the written word, rather than having to explain things to me verbally, which some students can find difficult. Two examples of feedback forms I have used can be found below:
Examples of verbal communication I use during my classes include:
- Using a loud and clear voice, which is vital in the physical education setting
- Giving concise and easy to understand instructions to enable more time on learning tasks
- One on one individual instruction and demonstration
- Setting up routines early in the year
In order to manage the learning environment effectively, I have introduced certain routines, rules and expectations that students must abide by or consequences are put in place. For example, at the beginning of every class, I ask for and expect complete silence whilst I’m explaining the layout of the lesson and taking the roll. This allows the class to settle and begin to focus on the lesson at hand. My students now also understand the consequences for talking or incorrect behaviour whilst I’m taking attendance.
In physical education I have set up a consequence of 5 push ups for whoever speaks out of turn. This consequence isn’t necessarily seen as a negative, however it creates an opportunity for students to stop, listen and focus with verbal communication and questioning such as “Ok who’s next for 5 push ups?”. This approach maintains a positive learning environment whilst still correcting any low grade behaviour.
Setting up these expectations early with my students allows me to establish and maintain orderly and workable routines to create an environment where student time is spent on learning tasks and not behaviour management.
This article relates to the following Professional standards: