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Communication between teachers and students:

Effective communication between teachers and students has the potential to improve the learning experience and create a positive environment in the classroom. However, the relationship takes work on both ends. Communication barriers in the classroom certainly make it difficult for students to get the most out of their education. Many times, teachers fail to create engaging lessons and struggle to connect with their students on a one-to-one basis. Students also have unaddressed language or speech difficulties which lead to poor communication. Personality differences and peer pressure add to the mix, making some classroom interactions feel awkward or forced.

The gravity of the situation is immense. Thus it brings us back to the question. Why does this failure arise in the first place? Let’s look at the possible reasons behind the failure of communication between teachers and students.

Unknown Expectations

If neither the teacher or the student pushes the communication or expresses their expectations, both parties may stay silent. Students sometimes feel they are taking up too much of a teacher’s time with frequent communications. Teachers may assume that a child who doesn’t ask many questions is uninterested or doesn’t have any issues to address. It’s up to the teacher to set forth his/her expectations and preferred methods of communication.

Problems with Comprehending

Often, students have unaddressed learning or speech difficulties and struggle to communicate in classroom settings. Sometimes, they have trouble comprehending lessons and organizing their thoughts. Because of hesitation, students often shut down, isolating themselves out of fear or embarrassment. Whilst teachers may encourage students to talk about their work; that talk is usually about problematic aspects of work. Also, some students’ efforts to ask for help results in negative labels from some teachers.

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Uninteresting Classroom Lessons

Classroom communication often suffers when students are bored or unenthusiastic about their schoolwork. Yeah, I know it’s impossible to entertain students all day, but teachers should work hard to develop engaging lessons with interesting, relevant activities. Thought-provoking assignments, technology-enhanced lectures and creative projects spur classroom communication and interaction. On the other hand, outdated and monotonous assignments create communication barriers, and students just want the class to be over.

Personality Differences

Communication between teachers and students might also be hampered from personality differences between the two. For example, many students feel uncomfortable connecting on a personal level with their teachers and avoid communicating with them. This personality dynamic can be frustrating for teachers who attempt to bond with each student, only to find their efforts unsuccessful. Students who are outgoing and more vocal, often strive to be the teacher’s pet. Teachers and classmates might get irritated with students who brown nose for attention. Personality differences lead to frustration, unhappiness and a lack of communication between students and teachers.

Peer Pressure

This could probably be the least likely reason. However, peer pressure can create communication problems in the classroom when students respond to teachers by acting funny, cool or disengaged. Students might refuse to build relationships with their teachers in order to maintain their not-so-interested-in-school reputations. The best way for teachers to combat communication difficulties resulting from peer pressure is to reward positive behaviour.

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So, what exactly can the teachers do to improve the communication with students?

  • Encourage all talk, but particularly talk about positive aspects of learning (including what was good about good work).
  • Persuade students that communication is helpful to their learning.
  • Help students to develop productive ways both of asking for help and responding to help that was given.
  • Disentangle the underlying message in communication from students and avoid making unwarranted assumptions about the motives behind their queries.

Research says that students are less stressed because of reasons such as examinations, unstructured lectures, interpersonal issues and higher education. In fact, they find it difficult to cope when teachers come to the classroom unprepared and start teaching randomly.

A negative attitude from one or both parties often affects the relationship. If the teacher looks at students as a nuisance or a time waster, the students are likely to pick up on the attitude and limit communication. Likewise, if all communication from the teacher is negative, the students won’t look forward to attending lectures.

That’s all for today, folks!

Effective communication between teacher and students is a must for a healthy relation! Read here about how to develop a good relationship with teachers.

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