Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the details. In addition to being able to convey a message clearly, you also need to listen in such a way as to gain the full meaning of what is being said and make the other person feel heard and understood. Effective communication sounds as instinctive as it should be. But all too often, something goes wrong as we try to communicate with others. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, resulting in misunderstandings, anger, and conflicts. This can cause problems in your relationships, with your home, school, and work. A necessary condition for academic achievement is successful communication between teachers and students. Effective teaching is a prerequisite of effective communication. The teacher enables effective communication by identifying students’ needs, addressing these needs at the appropriate level, and creating a relaxed atmosphere where free, democratic discussion flows are possible. However, active participation in the classroom is not sufficient in itself; cognitive processes need to be brought into play. If the students’ needs have been accurately identified, and if adequate verbal and non-verbal communication is used, the chances of success are high.
Effective teacher communication can be learned, and teacher training institutions and supervisory bodies, as well as teachers themselves, are responsible for ensuring adequate awareness of modern communication theories. Some teachers like talking and expect the students to write down what they’re saying and learn it (this style encourages superficial learning and quickly forgetting ). Other teachers see their role as helping students learn more deeply-understanding new ideas and concepts so well that they can apply them in a work situation. Either way, if they interact well with their students, these teachers will do better work. The use of teaching aids is an important element of communication in teaching. We all heard the saying: ‘I forget what I hear; I remember what I see; I know what I do’. Pictures, posters that have been written and practical demonstrations enhance communication and we should use them as much as we can. Most of us have access to paper, posters, a limestone board, or an overhead projector. These can be used to prepare support for lessons: summaries of important facts, or pictures and diagrams. Particularly useful is the overhead projector as it allows us to face our students while using it. Communication is a skill and by receiving feedback on how we do it, we develop our skills. By asking an experienced colleague to sit in on our teaching and give us feedback, we can get such feedback. We can also ask someone to record us as we teach on a videotape, which we then critically inspect later on. In either case, if we use a checklist to measure our results, the feedback will be stronger. We also reflect on what we should say when interacting with others. Effective communication, however, involves less talk and more listening. To listen well means not only to understand the words or the information being communicated but also to understand the emotions that the speaker is trying to convey.
There’s a big difference between listening engaged and just listening. When you really listen — when you’re engaged with what’s being said — you’ll hear in someone’s voice the subtle intonations that tell you how that person feels and the emotions that they’re trying to communicate. Not only will you better understand the other person when you’re a committed listener, but you’ll also make that person feel heard and understood that can help build a deeper, stronger connection between you. You will also undergo a cycle of engaging in this way that reduces pressure and encourages physical and emotional well-being. For example, if the person you’re talking to is relaxed, listening dedicatedly will also help you to calm down.
Likewise, if the person is agitated, by listening attentively and making the person feel heard, you can help calm them down. If your goal is to fully understand and connect with the other person, it will often come naturally to listen in a committed way.