Communication is a crucial part of the learning and teaching process. In fact, effective learning and teaching would not be possible without the sharing of knowledge and ideas, either through verbal or non-verbal communication. Furthermore, using sound communication strategies will foster increased learner investment and motivation, ultimately leading to improved performance. The following are ways in which learners can use communication to get actively involved in their own learning:
Collaborative, cooperative group work guided by careful planning and structure
Group work facilitates independent, critical, and creative thinking. To make the most of this type of learning, it is important that groups are carefully selected either by the teacher or learners, and each learner within the group should be assigned a role. Mind mapping or association activities should be used to facilitate blue sky thinking in which ideas can be shared freely.
Regular feedback, either through self-assessment or peer review
Learners should be encouraged to continually receive feedback, either from themselves or from team members. It is important for the teachers to provide learners with the reasons as to why feedback is important, to increase the motivation to conduct these activities properly. Thinking through their own performance (communication with themselves) or through peer feedback sessions (communication with others) is critical and will be useful in driving intrinsic motivation.
Emphasis on active learning and active listening
Questions should be posed regularly, however, teachers should avoid the temptation of always providing the answers. Instead, main questions should be followed up with sub-questions to guide learners to an answer rather than giving them the answer. Using the Socratic approach to learning helps to form the critical links between important concepts and improves retention of the information, boosting the impact of learning for the learner.
Innovative use of technology
Technology offers countless opportunities to improve the learning process. Furthermore, it makes the process more efficient for teachers, while allowing room for enjoyment through exploration for learners. There are a number of benefits to the practical application of education technology, which include:
- Learners are not restricted to the school day
- Learners are provided with individualised instruction
- Learners are free to exchange ideas with other learners, even beyond their own classroom
- … (I could go on and on)
Think of the learner engagement that could be facilitated by giving them a task like “Create your own podcast series”, “Develop your own picture quote” or “Create your own YouTube video” as opposed to the traditional essay writing, oral presentation and group assignments.
Keep on challenging the status quo and developing more innovative approaches to learning and teaching through communication…
The above serves as a brief overview of some of the methods that could be used to facilitate effective learning through communication strategies. This is by no means a comprehensive list and there are a variety of other innovative methods that could be used to drive learner motivation and performance. For a great outline of some of these methods, with a strong focus on embracing technology, read this. Remember to spread the love and leave some comments explaining your tried and tested innovative communication strategies to foster active learning. You may also be interested in reading up on some of the tips and tricks when it comes to effective communication in teaching remotely (click here if your are).
The former Kearney strategy consultant is currently an educator at St David’s Marist Inanda in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Passionate about education, Disrupt Tutoring is the culmination of Jedd’s dream to provide access to quality education to everyone with the burning desire to learn.