Monday, February 1, 2016

Communicating In The Classroom

The world is becoming more multilingual  and miscommunication can be avoided if we begin to break down the language barriers.  

Communication is the key to success in the classroom.   For most children, communicating with their families, classmates, and teachers is an easy process.  However, communication may be difficult and challenging for children who are learning a new language or for children who have learning disabilities.  

Reasons Children And Adults Need To Communicate
  • To learn
  • To satisfy a need
  • To express thoughts and attitudes
  • To form relationships
  • To develop social skills

Through my experience as an ESL teacher, and a special education teacher I have learned through trial and error several effective strategies to use with students who need extra support understanding verbal and non-verbal communication.

Cultural Awareness

Teachers must understand Cultural Awareness and learn about different cultures.  Encourage all cultures to share and celebrate their similarities and differences.

As a classroom teacher communicating with families who speak a different language can be a challenge.  It is important to help multicultural families unite and work together.  When teachers and the community work together children are more successful in the classroom.

Children need academic content in both their native language and the language they are learning.  

As a classroom teacher, I know that it can be frustrating to try to communicate with a parent who does not speak your language.  

Empathize and Keep A Close Eye On Unspoken cues from the student.

Teachers can assign a buddy or another students who speaks the same language as the second language learner to help the student transition and feel safe.

Use Visual and Pictorial Representations

Using pictures to teach can help children understand what the teacher is communicating. Teachers can use pictures for social situations and academic skills.

When teaching students vocabulary words I allow them to view pictures of the term. Giving students the opportunity to illustrate the word will also help them make a meaningful connection.  I modify my instruction to meet the needs of the learner.

For the general education student, I may use the following lesson:

For the ESL learner or special education student, I may shorten or highlight the text, and depending on the needs of the students I would allow them to illustrate the word, or I would provide an illustration for the student.

The pictures below illustrates how I may modify for my students who are learning a new language or have communication disabilities:

Manipulatives and Hands-On Assignments

Provide students manipulatives and lessons that allow the students to draw, create, paint.  Use a variety of sense of styles when teaching content and skills.

Create a Safe Environment

Children learn best when they feel safe and secure.  Allow your students the opportunity to make mistakes.  Let them see you make a mistake.  I always call my students my classroom family.  In my classroom family we take turns, share, learn, make mistakes, and help each other along our educational journey.   

There are many ways to help foster communication in the classroom.  These are just a few of the things I do daily to help my children become successful lifelong learners.