Communication skills and collaborative learning are two areas that are changing the phase of modern education. The practise of grouping a large batch of students into smaller units, where they work on projects and answer questions, has become a core philosophy in classrooms today. Whereas, the advancement in digital media, changing career prospects, and greater competition for better work opportunities have made communication skills a top priority in modern times.
As far as teachers are concerned, initiating a conversation between students can be a rather challenging task. Effective communication can foster better learning skills and aid in creating an interest in learning among students. In classrooms with a lack of communication, the students are also less motivated to engage in new learning experiences. According to a lot of studies conducted, the success of students is directly related to better communication between teachers and peer groups.
We shall look at a few tips from around the globe, the techniques which prove to be constructive for teachers to inculcate good communication skills among their students. Ultimately, great communication will raise confident students, hence benefiting the teachers too!
- Be an active listener
Create an environment where the students can turn to teachers for help, not just by giving one-word answers or casual solutions. This will ensure the students a safe space where they will be free to voice out their opinions or concerns. Listening to students will boost teacher assistance and consequently, better education.
- Better together
Teach students to work together as teams and take up projects in groups so as to improve healthy competitive mentalities among one another. Grouping students together will enhance their communication skills and confidence, hence allowing the teachers to help the students who have trouble cooperating with their peers.
- Applaud the good performers
Teachers should give positive feedbacks when students do noteworthy actions. In most cases, teachers point out mistakes and demoralise students for bad behaviour. This can help students to learn from their mistakes, but it also has a repercussion of making them less confident to communicate further.
- Move around
While teaching students, interact on-the-go! Not only does it help students to be alert, but gives them a chance to speak to teachers too. In this way, students will be able to speak their minds as tasks are given.
- A bit of technology
From using audio lessons to video applications, there are numerous options to improve student communication skills. Teachers can make use of these skills for improving language subjects. This will also enhance a student’s desire to learn.
To establish a deeper learning experience, teachers should root for collaborative classrooms. Students should have the interest to ask questions and listen effectively to develop a meaningful collaboration in classrooms. Here are a few tips that teachers can follow to support students in meaningful collaboration.
- Teach students to ask relevant questions. Tell students to think about the nature of the question, which can probably get the best responses. The answers may be thought-provoking, open-ended, or even daring. Explain to them about the ‘wait time’ required to answer, when they can take time to think about the outcome.
- Group students who can work together, who can help each other to finish projects and assignments, keeping track of time. In this way, ideas and innovative solutions can be discussed with students who need more time to learn.
- Teach students to work around real-life problems rather than creating imaginary situations. In this way, students can research different projects and form real opinions. An example is to discuss environmental issues and how students can help.
- Using the jigsaw technique is another useful tactic to build collaborative skills. It improves social interactions in learning and supporting different diversities. Students assigned similar topics from diverse groups can discuss together their ideas and take back their thoughts to the primary group. This sort of discussion allows them to become experts in their tasks.
- Promote open communication between students. Interpersonal communication should exist in teams. Students who provide and receive explanations gain most from collaborative learning. Hence, open communication is key.
Collaborative learning has its tangible merits, such as improved academic performance in students, embedded learning, confidence building, improved psychological health, and inclusivity.
Learning itself is social in nature. When we use different mediums to enhance our learning skills, the thirst for knowledge increases. Collaboration is a learned process, and communication if managed correctly, can allow educators to tap new ideas. With the current world demanding skills such as these, teachers have to mould their students to face future challenges.