Teachers require experience in communication theory and an understanding of the basics of communication: questioning, reflecting, listening, focusing, and influencing scaffold solid communication skills to effective teaching. Communication is an important part of teaching. Effective communication with students increases rapport and motivates students. Communicating appropriately increases both basic skills and higher level thinking skills as well as student achievement. Successful communication with parents and guardians ensures the best possible education for students. Practical and proper communication with colleagues and the public is essential as well. Teachers must develop an ability to discern and to respond sensitively to nonverbal messages used in a communicative transaction, rhetorical skills and delivery of specific knowledge and skills, and grounding in group discussion skills and collaborative practices. This interdisciplinary course attends to both the theoretical and the practical aspects involved in the communicative act, since communication is the very core of teaching. Communicating with students, parents and guardians, staff and the public all play an important role in the education of our students. The major purpose of this course is to focus on one of the most neglected aspects of teacher training thorough preparation in the diverse communication skills that are needed by good teachers in today's schools.
As a result of participation in this course, students should:
1. Develop six keys to effective communication in and outside the classroom;
2. Identify the principles of quality learning and how they apply to instruction;
3. Identify relevant differences among students that impact learning i.e. understands cultural variations
4. Use a variety of exercises and assessments to identify levels of performance in reflective listening skills, focusing skills, leading and influencing skills, and problem solving skills in the classroom;
5. Analyze and create a new understanding of collaborative practices for educators;
6. Evaluate and critique differentiated classroom scenarios and recognize nonverbal cues that are barriers to students;
7. Integrate listening proficiency into instruction, parent conferences, administrative/collegial meetings; and
8. Identify 100 communication ideas to reduce stress and increase productivity in your daily teaching life.
The required reading is found in two texts and four journal articles. The required texts are:
Lee, Patty. (2006). Collaborative Practices for Educators: Six Keys to Effective Communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Morse, Philip S., & Ivey, Allen E. (1996). Face to Face: Communication and Conflict Resolution in the Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.