Principles and Strategies Effective Communication Christian Caldarera M.Ed. Of

Principles and Strategies
Effective Communication
Presented By:
Christian Caldarera M.Ed.
Goals & Objectives
As a result of this training – the educator
 Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of
communication in schools
 Demonstrate knowledge of effective communication
and listening strategies with staff and students
 Examine techniques to aid in the communication with
 Demonstrate knowledge of ways to appropriately deal
with conflicts between themselves, teachers and
 Demonstrate the ability to work as a collaborative team
with both general and special populations teachers
 Evaluate and assess techniques for communicating with
parents, defiant students, applicable campus
communication documents and FERPA
Communicating effectively is the
cornerstone of education. Without
effective communication ideas,
directions, and thoughts are lost or
misunderstood leading to serious
As a result of poor communication,
students may not understand lesson
material, paraprofessional staff may not
understand directives given to them,
teachers may not adequately express
themselves to others, meet deadlines,
In order to be understood in the
manner we intend, we must learn and
practice effective communication at
all times within and outside of the
school setting.
Teachers must be able to
communicate effectively both
verbally and in written form at all
times to all shareholders in their
class to ensure smooth lesson
transitions, proper parental contact,
administrative contact, student
interactions and teacher to teacher
A teachers most POWERFUL ASSET is
It establishes your rapport, allows for
establishes meaningful and positive
Watch your thought, they become your
Watch your words, they become your
Watch your actions, they become your
Watch your habits, they become your
Watch your character, as it becomes your
What is Communication & Why is it
Communication is the ability to share
information with people and to
understand what information and
feelings are being conveyed by others.
Communication can take many forms
including: gestures, facial expressions,
signs, vocalization (including tone and
pitch), in addition to speech and written
It is via these cues that we know if
someone understands what you are
trying to convey, if one is interested
in what you have to say, or if they are
listening at all.
Teachers on any given day WILL
communicate extensively on campus,
including paraprofessional staff,
administrators, students, parents,
community members, other teachers,
As a result of this, communication is
essential for:
Understanding roles and
Planning and carrying out activities
Coordinating approaches to students
Providing information to other
teachers on student progress and
Building a positive relationship and
interactions with students, teachers
an other staff members
Establishing your reputation
Teachers should always work to
establish good rapport and regular
communication with colleagues and
students. This rapport and
communication is especially
important when difficulties arise.
Without effective communication and
established positive rapport, conflicts
between individuals on the campus
can be destructive to the operation of
a classroom and hinder learning –
Responsiveness and sensitivity can
open channels of communication
between individuals on campus, and
teachers need to deal openly with
their feelings and attitudes towards
their job responsibilities and duties.
In order for teachers to get along
with others and to become effective
communicators and to meet the
needs of their students, they MUST
work together as a team to create a
positive and least restrictive learning
Teachers must make efforts to
communicate and coordinate necessary
information to particular parties in order
to air out any concerns they might have.
Teachers must make efforts to
communicate and coordinate necessary
information to particular parties in order
to air out any concerns they might have.
Meeting as needed and as appropriate
establishes and maintains open channels
of commmunication.
Open Lines of Communication are
imperative in order to:
Convey special interests, talents,
trainings, or hobbies that will aid
the teacher to better individualize
communication with various parties
and to improve instruction in the
2) Reach an understanding of different
backgrounds, experiences, values,
cultures, religions, and other factors
that might effect the teacher’s work
Clarify tasks and to clear any possible
misunderstandings that may have been
Ensure that there is ample time to and
attention to express any concerns one
might have and resolved them though
compromise or intervention
As a team, the educational staff needs
to WORK TOGETHER to build TRUST in
their working relationships.
Just as important as communication
skills are, listening skills are equally, if
not, more important in the process of
effective communication.
What you – say, do think, feel, create,
How you – love, give, receive, serve,
play, communicate…
That you – care, live, rest, laugh, risk,
Effective and open communication
promotes an awareness of others
interests and needs. Being aware of
the necessary skills that will
encourage open communication is
imperative when working with
Communication can be positively
promoted by understanding some
roadblocks to communication, use of
accepting languages, and listening
Each of these topics will relay
information that will lead towards
more positive interactions with
The 12 roadblocks – Thomas Gordon
– There are thousands of messages
that we send to students by HOW we
The 12 roadblocks tend to slow or
completely stop existing
communication that students need to
solve problems and learn
Responses that communicate
unacceptance in negative
Ordering, commanding directing
Warning, threatening
Moralizing, preaching, giving
“shoulds’” and “oughts’”
Advising, offering solutions, &
Lecturing, monologue with intent to
Responses that tend to communicate
inadequacies & fault:
Judging, criticizing, disagreeing,
2) Name calling, stereotyping, labeling
3) Interpreting, analyzing, diagnosing
Other messages that try to make the
student feel better or deny there is a
Praising, agreeing with sarcasm
Reassuring, sympathizing, consoling
without sincerity
This response tends to try to solve
the problem for the student:
Questioning, probing, interrogating,
cross examining
This message tends to divert the
student or avoid the student
1) Withdrawing, distracting, being
sarcastic, humoring, diverting
Many people are unaware that they
respond to students in one of these
12 ways. As a result, it is important
that we know alternative ways of
Many of the above responses have
HIDDEN MESSAGES when the student
hears the.
They may hear you saying that they
are to blame or that they can’t do
anything right when you intention for
the message was quite different.
As an alternative to the roadblocks
mentioned, T. Gordon suggests the
use of ACTIVE LISTENING to promote
Communication has several avenues
that can get crossed if the speaker is
not clear with the message or the
listener decodes it incorrectly.
When we use our OWN words to repeat
back what we think the student or
individual has just communicated, we
are clarifying the message. This
“feedback” is called ACTIVE LISTENING:
S – “ I don’t like this school as much as
my old one. People are not very
T – “ You are unhappy at this school?”
S – “Yeah. I haven’t made any good
friends. No one includes me.”
T – “You feel left out?”
S – “Yeah. I wish I knew more people.”
In this situation the teacher is
verbalizing what he/she thinks the
student is saying. This lets the student
affirm what the teacher said or explain
the meaning in a different way.
Active listening is a powerful tool, which
helps the educator communicate more
productively with the student.
It also helps the educator to more fully
understand what the student is saying
and also helps the student to articulate
their concerns.
The time it takes to learn and use active
listening provides a number of benefits.
Active listening:
Helps the student deal with and
“defuse” strong feelings
Helps students understand their own
Facilitates problem solving
Keeps the responsibility with the child
Makes the student more willing to
listen to others
Promotes a closer, more meaningful,
relationship b/w the T and S or
- Italian Proverb
Being aware of the different factors
involved in listening will aid in the
process of communication.
We need to concentrate on not only
encouraging our students, but
ourselves, to exhibit good listening
skills, behaviors, and strategies.
Is a process that involves actively hearing
what another person is communicating
and attending to that communication. It is
how we receive the verbal portion of a
person’s message.
By listening we can show care and concern
and interest in understanding both the
person and the situation.
Listening can be affected by personal bias,
environmental factors, a short attention
span, rehearsing a response,
daydreaming, hot words, and the use of
BIAS: Personal prejudice can effect
how we listen and perceive what a
speaker is saying. Anger can also
cause distortion of the message.
As good communicators, personal
bias and anger MUST be put aside in
order to interpret the message.
“No one wins an argument” on the
contrary – the T always looses.
Avoid bias by:
Being willing to listen to new ideas
2) Make eye contact at all times
3) Use non-verbal communication of
4) Show interest and acceptance –
even though you disagree with them
promotes mutual respect for one
Such as noise, temperature, and
uncomfortable seating cause us to
focus our attention on other factors
besides what the speaker is saying.
Try to control environmental factors
whenever possible, as we all know
how hard it is to focus our attention
when distracted by outside forces.
As we receive a message, we must attend
to it or we will lose it.
To focus better, try the following:
- Take notes as the speaker talks
- Use a cue to help you remember what you
were going to say
- Concentrate with focus on the speaker and
rehearse how you will answer
- Ask questions to stay involved in the
- Concentrate on the conversation to ensure
that the information received is accurate
and indicates that you are interested in
what the speaker is saying
Many times we catch the drift of what
the speaker is saying and we begin to
rehearse a response, thereby missing
parts of the message.
Other times we may be anticipating
our turn to speak and will spend time
mentally or physically reviewing
notes and will miss what the speaker
has said.
We are capable of receiving and
processing information more rapidly
than a speaker can deliver it.
This causes us to have spare time to
think or daydream, and if we don't
concentrate on the message being
delivered, we will
find ourselves drifting or
We all have certain words that we
react to such as, pay raise,
punishment, congratulations, etc.
Sometimes when a speaker uses a
hot word in his/her speech we will
concentrate more on the words
meaning or implication for us, thus
lose sight of what is being said.
Many times you will be asked to
attend a seminar where we exhibit
little or no interest in the topic. As
listeners, we tend to get an overview
of what is going to be presented and
then simply tune the rest out.
Communicating With Students
Talking With Students:
It is important that when we talk to
students, we are engaging in certain
behaviors that facilitate openness
and acceptance.
When we actively use the
recommendations listed below,
students tend to be more receptive to
listening and communicating with us.
Here are some suggestions to use
while communicating with students:
1) POSTURE: Try to make your
posture mirror that of the students. It
is helpful to have your shoulders
squared with the student's and on the
same level so you are face to face. It
is also helpful to have a slightly
forward lean toward the student.
2) EYE CONTACT: Eye contact with
students shows that you are interested
in what they have to say.
3) FACIAL EXPRESSION: What is shown
on your face should match what is on
the child's. Smiling when the child is
obviously sad would be inappropriate.
4) DISTANCE: Distance from the student
should not be too distant or too close - 3
to 4 feet is appropriate. Too close and
the student may feel uncomfortable, too
distant they may feel you are
disinterested in what they are saying.
Behaviors such as playing with your
hands, staring out the window, or
doing something else while listening
should be eliminated when talking to
students or staff members.
6) VOICE QUALITY: Your tone should
match the child's. It would be
inappropriate to be loud if the child is
in a quiet mood, and vice versa.
A few more helpful hints:
Establish a positive relationship with
your students. Focus on respect,
courtesy and equity.
 Our job is to encourage students, not
control them
 Be positive in your words and
mannerisms while speaking to
students, avoid putting them down
 When possible organize ahead of
time and think before speaking
Always address your students by name
When giving directions, get students attention
Speak in a calm manner
Maintain eye contact with students and class
Minimize distractions
Let them know why the topic is important
Let them know you are talking to them for their
Use questions to involve the student and
Include examples from the student's
Avoid discussing a student's personal problems
when you feel uncomfortable about it.
If frustration, anger or boredom occur, stop.
Reinforce and support students for listening.
B. Accepting Language:
Acceptance of another is an
important factor in fostering a
relationship where a person can grow
and actualize their full potential.
At times, young people become what
adults around them continuously tell
them they are.
A language of acceptance can open kids
up and make them feel more
comfortable and at ease. When they
know we will accept them no matter
what they tell us,
we are more likely to see student growth
and maturity.
When we communicate in an accepting
way, we are using a tool that can
facilitate positive effects in our students.
" Talk can cure, and talk can foster
constructive change. But it must be the
right kind of talk.“
- Thomas Gordon, T.E.T
Initiating and Directing Student
As educators, we ask students
questions on a daily basis every
period. As with any form of
communication, the way the question
is phrased will affect the quality and
type of answer we will receive.
The purpose of asking questions is to
gain information from others.
Informative questions usually asked in
the classroom instruction and
assessments are usually CLOSED-ENDED
question of the interrogative type, i.e.
the question requires a specific answer
Teachers should utilize to the best of
their ability, questions that encourage
thought and opinion, OPEN-ENDED
questions. These types of questions
usually indicate to the student to
express a whole range of thoughts.
(H.0.T.S.) (The 4 W's)
In order to effectively ask questions
of students, the following
suggestions are listed:
Pause before and after asking a
Pausing gives you time to properly
phrase the question and the student
time to think about their response.
Monitor the questions you ask,
review them to ensure open-ended
questions are most often asked.
Ask meaningful questions, monitor
how many questions you ask.
Could you make questioning more
effective if you asked less questions,
more questions, or different types of
Always check for student
understanding. To check this, ask the
student to repeat directions,
questions, or summarize what was
said. MASTERY!!!
By becoming a more effective
questioner, you are providing
opportunities for students to more
openly respond and relay thoughts,
be actively involved in the learning
process, and be more reflective.
Effective Communication With Parents:
Teachers can and MUST establish
rapport with parents, as they can be the
ones to cause a teacher extreme
hardship. Rapport is established through
effective and consistent communication.
Developing a parental partnership takes
two, so parents also need to work on
their skills. Many times parents blame
the teacher for their child's faults and
subsequently act and behave, as well as
communicate, in a manner that is not
conducive to cooperation. BE
Effective communication takes time,
is honest, and is open.
Good communicators listen, rephrase
and avoid criticizing and acting
Please remember to never take what
a parent says personally, and be
cautious, for it's not what you say,
it's how you say it.
Remember that you only have one
chance to make a first impression.
Teachers Who Are Good Communicators:
Give their total attention to the speaker.
Establish eye contact and clearly demonstrate
by body language that their interest is focused
on what is being said.
Restate the parents concerns. Clarify what has
been said and try to discern the speaker's
meaning and feelings.
Avoid closed responses or answering as a critic
judge or moralist.
Show and maintain respect for the other void
closed responses or answering as a critic judge
or moralist.
Show and maintain respect for the
other person at all times. Recognize
their concerns, opinions, and
questions are significant to mutual
understanding and communication.
Recognize the parent's feelings. How
much can you discuss with the
Tailor discussions to fit the parent's
ability to handle the situation. DO
NOT touch off the fuse of a parent
who might not be able to handle a
child's difficulties.
Emphasize that concerns are no one's
fault. Teacher and parent have to
work the problem together to help
the child.
Use concerns as forums for
understanding one another.
Remember that NO ONE wins an
Calmly, quietly, enthusiastically
discuss the good points of the child
before you bring up concerns.
Protect the parents' ego. Don't blame
or make the parents believe that they
are to blame for their child's
deficiencies. Focus on plans for the
Focus on one issue at a time. Be
specific about the child's progress or
other concerns.
LISTEN. Hear the feeling and
meaning of each message. Rephrase
and check out the message to be sure
that you received it correctly.
When efforts to contact parents for
student concerns fail or interactions
with particular parents are nonpositive, advise administration
This goes for any parental behavior
or communication
that may interfere with the school
and classroom environment,
especially with regards to threats,
parental child abuse, and retaliations.
Staff Relationships & Teaming:
Teachers are the lifeblood of a
campus and are the most integral
part of the school environment.
Teacher must realize, however, that
they are part of a team and that
every individual on campus is equally
Working as a team requires frequent and
open communication between the
teacher, para-educator staff,
administration, counselors, facilitators,
and teacher colleagues with the common
goal of improving instruction.
To mention a few, horizontal and vertical
alignment teacher meetings, academic
team meetings, department/department
chair meetings, SBDM Meetings, Faculty
meetings, conferences, referrals,
CAISAP meetings, campus staff and
professional development, grade level
meetings, PTA Meetings, and the like.
School staffs are made up of many
individuals with different working
styles, management styles, cultural
differences and communication
No matter these differences, a team
should demonstrate mutual respect
and good will for one another, as well
as towards the students.
To promote a sense of campus
camaraderie, the teacher should:
Ask questions frequently and as
needed. There is no such thing as a
stupid question…only the one you
don’t ask.
Attend all meetings as required, go
with your colleagues and remind
them of meetings as needed.
Compliment each other about work
that is well done. (positive praise and
Do not take each other for granted.
Show a sincere interest in one
another's work.
Adhere to the teachers standards of
classroom behavior and code of
Be loyal to teachers, students,
administrators, and para-educators.
GOSSIP WILL KILL !!! You will be
known more for your reputation by
what people say of you. Make sure
they can only say positive things.
Always discuss problems with
appropriate personnel in a timely
Always have an open door policy with
regards to your social interactions on
Always have time for any situation
and any person who needs to talk
with you. Offer your services as
Know and observe the school rules,
enforce them, and meet all required
deadlines and policies. (grade books,
write ups, reminder notices, lesson
plan books, grievances, etc.)
Avoid criticizing other people on
campus, especially other teachers
(and your administrators ).
Develop a friendly attitude, and have
Know your campus personnel, their
location, those who are in direct
contact and coordination with you
either by department or grade.
Learn their names, make a personnel
list as necessary.
Be aware
the F.E.R.P.A. law
and be sure to follow it strictly to avoid
litigation or student privacy violations.
Have fun with teaching, work together,
never bring outside issues into the
classroom, have passion…enjoy your
students and your job!