EFFECTIVE CLASSROOM COMMUNICATION
Classroom communication will be effective only when there is a two-way flow of communication. If there is only one-way communication, such as in lecturing, then it will not be effective, as students will not be able to share their queries and clarify their doubts. There is scope for immediate feedback in the classroom as the teacher and students are in direct contact with each other. This feedback can be used to plan future activities and make improvements. A teacher has to play different roles—of being a facilitator, mentor, motivator, guide, etc. With the changing world and increased use of technology in every sphere, there are changes in classroom communication as well. It is purposive, pragmatic, and positive. It can take place in the form of lecturing, explaining, demonstrating, discussions, presentations, debates, dialogues, etc. For effective communication, a teacher has to be a good speaker as well as an active listener. There can be individual talks, small group interactions, or large group interactions, depending upon the size of the class and need of the hour. Traditional techniques like blackboard and modern technology in the form of slides, graphs and charts, projectors, working models, videoconferencing, live sessions, documentaries, audio lectures, podcasts, etc., can be used to make learning and classroom communication interesting. Barriers in classroom communication can arise due to disruptive behaviour of students, indiscipline, overload of information, lack of clarity, use of complex terms, level of students, weather conditions, surroundings.
How to effectively manage classroom communication
1. Be clear
When communicating with students, try to be always clear about what you want to say. If there is any ambiguity or lack of clarity in the choice of words, then the message will be misinterpreted by students. Students should also try to be as clear as possible during interaction with their teacher and classmates.
2. Keep it precise
There is one another principle known as K.I.S.S., which stands for ‘Keep It Short & Simple’. To maintain clarity, the message should be conveyed in a simple and short form.
3. Take artful pauses
For becoming an effective communicator, one should know about the time to talk and time for staying silent. A teacher should take a pause after finishing the unit or topic, so that students can revise it once and share their queries. To develop critical thinking, decision making, and creative thinking in students, the teacher should take pauses or short breaks instead of teaching continuously.
4. Know your students
The teacher should invest time in knowing about the prior knowledge, potential, talents, and needs of the students so that he/she can plan the classroom activity according to the requirements of students.
5. Be humorous
A teacher should be humorous so that students can enjoy learning. If a teacher is too strict, then students might sit silently in her class due to fear of punishment, but they will lose interest in class. So, a teacher needs to know when to be strict and when to have fun with students. Humorous nature of students and teachers facilitates learning and makes it enjoyable.
The teacher should be empathetic. Empathy and sympathy are two different emotions. Sympathy means feeling pity or sorrow on seeing a person’s situation, while empathy means to feel the pain of another person.
7. Promote equity
The teacher should not be biased towards students and favour any of her students due to any reason. Rather, for a teacher all students should be equal. If any student needs help of the teacher, then it should be provided without any sort of discrimination.
8. Let students ask questions
Some teachers insult or criticize students who ask questions in class. Such behaviour adversely affects the confidence of students. Once insulted the student will not ask any question next time, even if he has doubts. So, students should be encouraged to ask questions and teachers should welcome these happily. Asking questions develop the thinking ability of students and also it shows their clarity of topic. If the teacher does not know answer to any of the questions, he/she can tell students that’ I will check it and discuss with you later’. Later, it should be discussed also.
9. Encourage students’ participation
The class¬room environment should be such that it encourages students to participate in learning. If students are to act only as passive listeners, then they will lose interest in the class. Activities should be chosen in such a way that participation of students is maximized.
10. Understand facial expressions of students
Some students may not be able to share their queries and problems with the teacher. So, the teacher should have the ability to read their faces to know if they are able to understand the topic or not. Facial expressions can also show the level of interest of students. If they are getting bored or losing interest, then the teaching activity or method needs to be changed. For effective class¬room communication, the teacher should be able to understand facial expressions and body language of students.
11. Ask questions
As discussed above, students should be encouraged to ask questions. On the other hand, the teacher should also ask questions to students while teaching to test their understanding of the topic. Questions can be asked before starting a topic to know their prior knowledge so as to know if beginners’ level or advanced level teaching is required. Always spare five to ten minutes during the lecture for question-answer session. If students know they have to answer questions at the end of lecture, they will listen attentively.
12. Motivate students
The teacher should make sure that classroom communication is motivating and not discouraging. Devote time in class for discussing about great personalities and their experiences. A teacher should share his/her own experiences to motivate students. This will help him in developing cordial relations with them.
13. Plan classroom activity
For effective classroom communication, the teacher should plan the activities, use of teaching aids, evaluation, etc. in advance. The course plan should be communicated to students. They should know about the test schedule.
14. Do not tolerate bad behaviour
A teacher should have cordial relations with students but that does not mean that he should tolerate bad behaviour in class. Once tolerated, students will think it is acceptable in class. The purpose of teaching is all-round development of students. To attain this purpose, make students learn about good and bad behaviour. If need arises, punish them appropriately.
15. Give students choice
Students will enjoy learning when they have a choice. They will be doing things as per their own interest. They can be given options of different activities, or it can be like ‘what would you like to do first, solve questions or prepare for project?’, this way students will have a choice about what they want to do first, but they will also know that they have to do both.
Respect is very important for effective communication. If the speaker and receiver do not have respect for each other, then they will not listen to what the other person is saying. Students must respect their teacher. The teacher should welcome questions from students.
17. Use different techniques and aids to break monotony of lecture
Lectures can become boring and students will lose interest in it. To keep it interesting, different aids can be used.
18. Reinforce learning
After teaching a topic or unit, the teacher should assess the learning of students by asking questions. If they have any doubts, queries, and problems, then the teacher should explain it again. For effective classroom communication, reinforcement of learning is very important.
19. Active listening
Active listening is a must have for effective communication. There will be problem in understanding the message if it is not listened to actively. It is also important for responding back and providing feedback.
There are the two wheels of effective classroom communication, those are the teachers and the students. A teacher with a ‘blazing character’ and freed from commercial faint can be expected to command the respect and admiration of the pupils and produce the necessary effect on their minds by way of helping them manifest the perfection that is already in them. According to Indian tradition, student-teacher relationship was inaugurated by the religious ceremony called Upanayan. It is not like the admission of a pupil to the register of a school or a college on his payment of the prescribed fee. The spiritual meaning of Upanayan is that the teacher holding the pupil within him as in a womb, “impregnates him with his spirit and delivers him in a new birth. The pupil is then known as a Dvija” (born afresh). In the home of the teacher, the students were treated like his own son. Here the personal touch and living relationship between the pupil and the teacher make education. The students belonged to the teacher and not to an institution. In the modern school system, the teachers teach the pupils by class and not as individuals with their differences. Like an automation, the teacher enters into the classroom at the appointed time and delivers as best as he may on his intellectual load. At the stroke of the hour he mechanically walks out. Thus everyday the teacher-stranger meets the student-strangers only in the classroom. As a rest of which life does not come in contact with life. Indian tradition proves that education becomes effective and fruitful only to the extent to which there is personal touch between the teacher and the taught. While in the classroom, the teacher is a master, off the classroom, he is a companion, while looking after their personal needs, he plays the role of a matter. He is a playmate on the game field. Such varieties in their relationship keep the position of teacher high. To the pupil, it is a rare privilege to be with a teacher whom he observes in various roles. Therefore, those who work as teachers should have a natural feeling in respect of student-teacher relationship. Consequently, students become humanized and learn to live and act like normal human beings. They become thoughtful, concerned, courageous and dedicated men and women in future.