The importance of classroom communication

Communication skills are of crucial importance – not just for academic success but for many other aspects of life as well. To encourage better classroom communication, more and more educators are turning to technology for help.

  • Why classroom communication matters
  • Communication as a two-way street
  • How technology can improve classroom communication

Communication is an essential aspect of any social setting that we find ourselves in over the course of our lives, whether we are talking about our home, the workplace, or the classroom. Almost everywhere we go, we are required to communicate with others, which is why we need to be able to do so effectively. A person with well-developed communication skills can leave a better impression on the people they interact with and get their message across without offending the listener or leaving room for misinterpretation. To make this possible, the way you convey information needs to be clear, concise, and efficient. While having good communication skills is beneficial to everyone, it is particularly important for students.

Why classroom communication matters

Communication skills are crucial to academic success. They can help students get into their school of choice and find employment in an increasingly competitive labour market. Students with poor communication skills tend to become emotionally overwhelmed and fall behind their peers. In some cases, it may even lead to them dropping out of school altogether. “The communication skills that students learn at school are fully transferable and essential across all aspects of life”, says Olivia Hanifan. “Furthermore, it has been proven that supportive teacher-student relationships have a positive impact on class participation, engagement, and ultimately a student’s achievements.”

Several studies have shown that better classroom communication can result in improved grades and retention rates among students. It can also help foster a stronger student-teacher relationship, which can have a positive impact on student engagement levels. When a student feels that they have a good relationship with their teacher, they will be more likely to ask them questions and engage with the learning material on a deeper level. A better student-teacher relationship will also help establish a supportive classroom environment that is more conducive to learning. Poor classroom communication, on the other hand, has been linked to higher dropout rates. In addition to facilitating better learning outcomes, good classroom communication can also have a positive impact on student behaviour and attitude, and enable educators to detect potential social problems early on, before they turn into something more serious. A good communicator will also be able to speak for their own social and emotional needs more effectively, making them less likely to act out or resort to other types of undesirable behaviour.

Communication as a two-way street

One of the biggest issues associated with traditional teaching methods is that they typically involve a teacher standing in front of a class delivering a lecture. In this scenario, students are merely passive recipients of information and are rarely invited to take a more active role in the process. Unfortunately, this happens to be the least effective way of transmitting information. For classroom communication to be effective, it needs to be a two-way street, with information flowing freely not just from the teacher to their students, but also the other way around. To encourage classroom communication, teachers need to create a safe environment, in which students will feel free to take part in discussions, ask questions, and share their views and opinions. This means that a teacher should never shame or ridicule students when they get an answer wrong. Of course, that doesn’t mean they should tell them they are right when they are not just to spare their feelings either. What they need to do instead is correct them in a way that will inspire them to get it right the next time. One possible way to approach this is to first point out the things the student did right before turning their attention to the areas they need to improve.

Classroom communication can take many different forms but typically consists of verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication, which is the primary method of conveying information within the classroom, can be either spoken or written. The tone of voice and articulation are some of its most important components, and can have a significant impact on student engagement and participation. That is why teachers need to pay special attention to this aspect of their delivery if they want to achieve the best possible results. Although it usually doesn’t get as much attention, non-verbal communication can have just as big of an impact on the classroom atmosphere as verbal communication. In fact, it’s entirely possible to get your message across without uttering a single word. Teachers need to make sure that their body language is in line with their spoken words. If they are saying one thing and their gestures, facial expressions, or posture are conveying something different, students will surely pick up on it. In fact, this may even have a detrimental impact on their learning.

How technology can improve classroom communication

Technology can be a very helpful tool in improving classroom communication. According to a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, 79 per cent of teachers say that digital technology allows for greater collaboration between students, while 78 per cent say it supports greater personal expression. Furthermore, as many as 96 per cent of respondents say that digital technology enables students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience. The same survey reveals that data projectors and internet-connected screens have proven to be the most effective at increasing student engagement and attainment levels.

At Freedom High School in Tampa, Florida, teacher Brandon Haas has been using an app called IWitness to facilitate classroom communication. The web-based application enables students and teachers to communicate through a social-media style message board. Its similarity to popular social media platforms makes the app more attractive to students and encourages them to use it. However, unlike social media platforms, the app cannot be accessed by students or people outside of the classroom setting, providing students with a secure and controlled communications forum.

Some educators, like Monmouth College’s Bridget Draxler, who is an English and communications professor, actually use social media platforms to communicate with their students. Among other things, she uses Twitter to post paper proposals, delivers feedback in the form of YouTube videos, and conducts student interviews on papers through Skype. Sarah Brown Wessling, an ELA teacher at Johnston High School, provides students with personalised feedback by recording individual podcasts, in which she also suggests revisions on their papers. “When I first started teaching, I spent all this time writing on these papers”, explains Brown Wessling. “I decided I can change how I do this. It takes the same amount of time, but I can say so much more in 15 minutes than I could ever write”.

It cannot be overstated just how important communication skills are in today’s world. In addition to facilitating better educational outcomes, good communication skills can also be highly beneficial in many other aspects of life. That is why schools need to encourage better classroom communication, and ensure that students aren’t merely passive recipients of information but take a more active role in their learning. Technology can be a helpful tool in this regard, enabling students to communicate with their teachers and peers more freely, without the fear of being shamed or ridiculed. In addition to increasing student engagement and participation, this will also help them become more effective communicators, significantly improving their chances of becoming productive members of society.