Communication & Learning
Communication is a process that involves two people.
As teachers we first need to re-look at ourselves. You cannot not communicate.
We communicate through our words, voice quality and body language, though not in equal amounts.
Our body language is always communicating; therefore how relaxed we are how enthusiastic etc will always be received by our students (as long as they know how & they are normally extremely good at this!) We can influence our own body language by creating the right environment, having an awareness of our body, role playing using specific body postures, being confident in our material, being aware of the stressors that affect us and having pre-prepared strategies to avoid or counter these.
What are the stressors that can affect you during a lesson?
What are the strategies to counter these?
How can you create the “right environment”? Brain friendly (relaxed & stimulating).
Through awareness and voice training it is possible to use the tonality of the voice and it's qualities to communicate more effectively. Is your voice normally up-beat, calm, enthusiastic, harsh, monotonous (the sleep inducer), sarcastic or? Are you able to use your voice flexibly, i.e. fast & high pitched (Visual tonality), smooth & melodic (auditory) or slow and almost ponderous (kinaesthetic).
When making a statement, if at the end the voice tone goes up this signifies a question and if it goes down a command.
It is too easy when feeling stressed for the voice tone to go up instead of down when we are intending to give a command and be in control. Voice coaching, improvisation acting and role playing are ways of improving the use of voice tonality. If you are more of a risk taker learn on the job in the classroom and video yourself for later reflection.
The words that are used make a difference. Words direct the mind and cause it to focus and at the same time; the meaning of a message is not necessarily the same as the one received. A student filters incoming information through many layers of values, beliefs, past experiences, unconscious filters (in NLP called meta-programs) and where their current focus of attention is. Our job is to grab their interest to the point where their own motivation keeps them wanting more.
Words allow us to set positive expectations, to direct their brain to focus on particular memories or to process in different ways. Questioning can make the mind search for more specific or general information, to process in a VAK or Multiple intelligence way or to process using a particular schema .
Are you a literal or an inferential speaker? A literal speaker would give specific direct instruction, i.e. open the text book at page 148, now. Where as an inferential speaker might say, “it would be a good idea if everyone turned to page 148.”
To communicate effectively speaking 'literally' is less confusing for students and least open to misinterpretation.
Both the teacher and the student communicate and then perceive their response via their own thoughts feelings in a never ending loop. It is useful to know some of the many filters and unconscious programs that a student operates from as this allows us to use language more effectively. Awareness of our own filters can allow us to become more flexible.
Some of theses are:
- Global ----Global with detail-------Detail with global -----------Detail
- Similarity ---similarity then difference---difference then similarity-difference
- People, Why?, Action, Things, Places.
- Preferred sensory language
- Which of the multiple intelligences are dominant
- Literal (direct) or inferential Listener.
- Where they have chosen to place their focus
If someone you knew quite well said to you, ''I'm thirsty,'' would you find the comment interesting, but probably do nothing about it ( literal), or would you feel really compelled to do something about it (Inferential)?
Many students are literal and take instructions literally, e.g. “focus on your writing now” , rather than “it would be good if people stopped talking”. Being literal directs there minds to the task in hand and gives specific instructions rather than let them choose whether to follow the instructions.
- Where are your instructions / communications most misunderstood or least followed?
- What could you say differently?
- What do you want them to do? Say it as it is! Be literal.