3 Quick Tips for Teaching Communication Skills to Students

Learn how to best teach communication skills to your students
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Andrea Casper

Writer and Editor

3 Quick Tips for Teaching Communication Skills to Students

Posted in Pro Tips | September 23, 2019

Our modern world is full of technology, and students are likely to be the most aware of it since they always seem to have some type of device in their hands. With the rise of phones and social media, it is even more essential that students learn how to effectively communicate with others. They must learn how to communicate digitally as well as in person. Without both types of communication skills, they will struggle in the adult world as they apply for jobs, interview, and manage their lives. Check out these 3 tips for teaching communication skills to students.

1. Give Presentations to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking has always been an important skill, because it’s one of the biggest fears amongst humans overall. Giving presentations has helped students face and conquer some of their fears of presenting to others, but it can also be used to teach students how to communicate more effectively. In a presentation, students must know what ideas they want to communicate with others, develop a powerful plan to get those ideas across, then share those ideas with fellow classmates. 

Students should also give presentations in a variety of ways to practice a variety of communication skills. Giving a video presentation can provide students with the knowledge of how to use digital tools to communicate their ideas. They can record themselves talking or create digital displays with their own narration throughout the video. Video presentations can help ease anxiety and nervousness for students who are hesitant to get up in front of the class.

Presentations in groups, as well as individuals, develop different communication skills. For individual presentations, students must develop their plan on their own, but it can help them build confidence in their own skills. Group presentations force students to communicate with each other. They have to use each other’s strengths and sometimes confront each other’s weaknesses, or their own. All types of presentations help students improve their communication skills.

2. Employ Student Collaboration

As students move on into the adult world, they will have to work with all different types of people and personalities. In the classroom, teachers can give students a taste of those collaborative communication skills. Collaborative assignments do not have to be large projects; teachers can pair students up for an in-class assignment. Most of the time students will choose a friend to work with if given the choice. This is still important because they are learning about friendship and how to handle conflict with a friend when it arises. For example, when friends work together, how do they work on the assignment? Do they divide it up and check answers, or do they work through each problem together? Working with a friend can be problematic if they disagree about an answer. How do they solve it? How do they talk to their friends about the disagreement? Should they tease each other and call each other names? Should they calmly work through it?

Likewise, students should also work with people they would not normally work with. This develops interpersonal skills as students work together. They must think about how someone they don’t know works with the material. They might also have to figure out how to work with someone they may not necessarily get along with. This is an essential skill for students to be able to manage throughout their lifetimes, so having students work together in any capacity benefits them.

3. Use Social Media to Teach Digital Communication 

Students need to learn how to not only interact and communicate with others in person, but they should also look at how they communicate digitally. By using some type of social media in class, the teacher can model how to use those tools. There is definitely a difference in how people should communicate in different digital settings, so teaching this to students is extremely beneficial to them. 

Teachers can send emails to students to demonstrate how to communicate effectively while keeping the tone of the message in mind. Students can even send emails back with a format that is teacher-approved. Sending emails to parents or businesses in the community can also help students see how to write professional emails and how to assess their intended audience.

Using Twitter or Instagram or text-messaging service within the classroom shows students a different way to communicate. Kristina Smekens discusses special attention to conventions in different types of writing and communicating. Students can and should use different conventions when writing a text message. When a teacher uses social media to communicate with their students and parents, it demonstrates how to interact with that digital tool appropriately. Text messages and Twitter can use abbreviations. Instagram uses more pictures than text, so it teaches students how to choose the appropriate image to communicate their ideas. Using social media also demonstrates what not to share with the digital world. Students can see teachers positively sharing information and helpful information instead of airing dirty laundry or frustrations within the classroom or their own personal lives. This in itself is a very essential lesson for students to learn and master.

There are so many ways to teach students how to communicate effectively, and most teachers probably teach those important skills without even realizing it. Hopefully, these tips can give you a new perspective on teaching communication skills. 

Do you have an awesome way to teach or improve students’ communication skills? Share it with us on Twitter @Schoology

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