Sunday, April 3, 2011

What makes a good communicator?

A good communicator is...

  • knowledgeable
  • charming
  • animated
  • uses hand,body gestures well to persuade the other person
  • does not invade another person's space
  • giggles politely when s/he does not agree :)

Watch the video

Teachers need to emphasize to their students what a good communicator looks like. I wish my teachers had in elementary school. Some things I had to learn really late in life.
Broadly speaking, students need to understand that rules change when they communicate within small groups.
Respect, eye contact, personal space,the ability to listen to another's point of view, and making "relevant" contributions.These could be put up on a chart as a visual reminder. Discuss with the students if they come from different cultures, what constitutes respect. A great way to bring internationalism into the classroom. Otherwise connect with another classroom through Skpe.
With a larger audience in mind, they would need to throw their voice, hide their unease and "pretend" to be confident.(This helped me a lot), look at the audience and consciously control what they do with their hands or feet. I sometimes tell the students to pretend that the audience consists of a large family of hippos! It works. :)
I know some teachers say that it is okay not to push the student if they are uncomfortable communicating orally. Yes I am aware that there are students who could communicate better through art, dance or music. However, oral skills are vital if we wish to convince, befriend or simply belong.
Lastly, body language! I teach nine year olds who love rolling their eyes and picking up gestures from various sitcoms!(hands on hips, toe tapping etc). Analysing what each gesture means and letting them become conscious of it is a good way to start. Good body gestures such as nodding, leaning towards the speaker or listener are some skills that need to be practiced in class.

Sp next time you see a student mumbling an answer or shuffling and biting their fingernails...:)

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