In the primary grades -- kindergarten through third grade -- communication skills vary from student to student. Improving communication can lead to better inclusion of all students as well as better communication skills throughout a student's learning career and life. Communication goals are important to meet for teachers, who have several tools at their disposal to do so.
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Often teachers expect total silence in the classroom. Being quiet has its place, especially when students are working or studying; however, allowing several minutes of time for students to chatter amongst themselves about anything gives the impression that communication is important. Allowing students to talk to their neighbours while doing art projects or hands-on learning activities mimics the way in which communication is used in real life. Teachers who allow students time to talk to each other will be rewarded with students who are more willing to be silent when it is necessary.
Talking and Listening
Communication is twofold -- students must know how to talk and how to listen. However, often only listening is practised in school. Teachers should provide their students with ample time to talk on their own, and should listen to them. As teachers demonstrate how to listen to students while students talk, students get a chance to practice their communication skills and have a model for what it means to listen.
Some students are hampered by simply talking, and would prefer to be quiet. However, when it is time to share something special, such as in Show And Tell, students might be more willing to do some talking. Give all students a chance each day to share something in front of the class. This promotes self awareness, especially in the primary grades, and gets students used to talking in front of groups.
Assign groups of students to teach other groups specific facts or research they have done. As students teach one another, they are already using communication without even knowing it. When they focus on something else, like the particular task they are teaching, they don't even realise that their communication skills are growing.
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