8 ways to build your students’ communication skills

By | 2017-09-22T08:32:38+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|6 Comments

Communication skills are essential for every student, not only in the course of their studies but throughout the rest of their adult lives. With the ever-changing landscape in jobs, technology, education and society, the ability to communicate proficiently gives your students leverage as present and future candidates in these spaces. Sure, as with other skills, effective communication can be acquired, but building natural communication skills allows students to utilize them organically. Here’s some approaches to build your students’ natural communication skills.

1. Use collaborative projects to make students aware of their own communication skills

Each student has their own unique set of natural communication skills. Whether they tend to be more vocal or introverted, all of them communicate in their own way. For example, some students may thrive when asked to present or speak in front of the class, whereas others may shrink back at the thought of public speaking. Some students have excellent communication when writing, rather than verbally. Others can gauge a situation and know what needs to be said in that moment, while some are precise and logical, which may come across cold.

That is why it is important for teachers to assign projects that reflect each of their student’s communicative approaches. Collaborative projects are great for building natural communication, patience, empathy and problem solving. Students can discover for themselves, which types of communication they intrinsically succeed at and which aspects need to be sharpened.

“Making #collaborative ATCs” was shared by Teacher cwalker in the US. It was submitted to the BGAHS Art Gallery. Visit the gallery to see more students’ art.

2. Teach active listening to your students

A great deal of communication consists of listening. Many of us are guilty of being eager to reply before truly listening. Teachers can help students build active listening skills by listening to a section of materials (via audio book, television, or another student can read aloud) and dissecting the information they’ve heard. Students can also practice asking questions to clarify the new material being presented.

3. Model conversational skills

The most natural form of communication is conversation. Get your students to watch or listen to programs, movies, audio books, debates and engage in active conversation. This will enable students to learn skills, such as body language, questioning, responding, eye contact and so on.

Students can, then, create their own conversational projects. For example, students can make their own news segment, in order to practice discussing, interviewing and debating topics learned in class. They can also create their own stories or movies to record over, and share on multimedia-sharing platforms, like Creatubbles, to compare inflections, intonations and mannerisms.

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4. Assign activities that allow students to think creatively

An integral part of communication is for students to problem-solve creatively and organically. There will be times when students aren’t completely prepared for a specific question or task, and they must “think on their feet.” For example, perhaps a class of students is tasked to complete a book report. A group of students might create a talk show scenario, where the moderator asks the protagonist questions regarding the story, and the assignment is carried out through constructive, conversational communication.

5. Allow students to follow their interests

Students will gravitate to topics and projects that they are most interested in, and in turn, become more likely to participate in active communication. When planning lessons, try to frame lectures and activities that are relatable to your students’ age groups and social dynamic. If students can approach material in a way that is socially relevant and well, fun, they will be keen to participate in discussion.

6. Use tech to help children’s communication skills

By now, we all must admit that technology is an integral part of our everyday lives — and teachers are putting it to good use as educational tools for their classroom. Communication relies heavily on interacting with other students and teachers, but tech can also play a huge role in developing natural communication skills for students.

From audiobooks, podcasts and web series and apps, there is an enormous number of digital resources out there for teachers to introduce to their classrooms. Younger students can listen and read alongside audiobooks, and organically learn how to use intonation and tempo. Teachers can choose between a wide range of podcasts and web series’, depending on the skills they want students to harness: such as political debates, formal lectures, conversational dialogue, reporting and so on. Apps, like Paper Telephone, provide a fun variation on the traditional game of Telephone but written digitally on “paper.”

7. Educational games help students to think critically and communicate solutions

Digital games are also a fun and engaging way for students to hone in on their natural communication skills. For example, students can work collaboratively to create Minecraft worlds, based on current lessons, events and so on. With the Creatubbles Minecraft Mod, students can even insert their own original creations into their Minecraft builds. For instance, if math students were tasked to create their own city’s infrastructure, students could create images of their neighborhood’s billboards to add into their Minecraft builds. In planning, designing and creating, students can share the learning experience, ask each other questions, provide their own point of view and, together, construct creative solution from their collective knowledge.

“af” was made by 16 year old creator ZskyBlood in Peru, using the Creatubbles Minecraft Mod. ZskyBlood inserted an original photograph of a, rather, cute dog into their very own Minecraft Build. You can download the app for free to decorate your own builds with your authentic creations.

8. Teach your students global communication through Creatubbles

Creatubbles is a great creative tool to help build your students’ natural communication skills. The platform allows students to contact and connect with other students from around the world, give encouraging feedback and ask questions.

Teachers can use Creatubbles as an educational tool to introduce creativity to any kind of communications lesson plan. Students can also collaborate over the platform with each other, other classes and schools to complete creative projects. For instance, take a look at Owen’s Minecraft Schoolyard!

If you’re curious to see how you can build your students’ communication skills through Creatubbles, why not set up your account right away?

Tish Seabrook. Copywriter at Creatubbles. Writer and former university lecturer. Interests: edtech, STEAM, arts integration. https://ctbl.es/tishseabrook