Interpersonal communication skills are vital for navigating through life. Workplaces, doctor's offices and child day care centres all use communication skills to function. These skills are important to master from childhood, so students know how to relate to anyone throughout life. Learning interpersonal communication skills begins in the classroom with team activities and practicing interaction skills.
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Students each bring in a picture to share with their peers. Create teams of two people to accomplish this interpersonal communication exercise. Student A begins by telling the other person about their picture, describing details and emotional attachments. Instruct student B to use proper interpersonal communication skills in listening to their partner. Student B should lean forward, maintain eye contact and use head nods. Then student B should ask open-ended questions to create dialogue. Instruct student B to ask why and how questions. Person A and B switch roles so that both students have the chance to practice their interpersonal communication skills.
Separate the class into teams for this activity. On the board, write the terms "collaboration" and "cooperation." The groups will learn about these two important concepts for interpersonal communication within a team. Have the groups talk about the meanings of both words and why they are important in teams. Then, encourage the whole class to come up with seven interpersonal communications skills that are important in a team. List these terms on the board. The groups will come up with ground rules for their team, including how they will use interpersonal communication skills. Teams should identify how they will interact to resolve conflicts. The team rules can be used all year as part of the classroom group projects.
Solving a murder mystery requires students to communicate and work together. Separate the students into teams and give them a murder mystery scenario. Use characters with different personalities and possible weapons. The teams must work together to discuss possible motives and who they believe is the murderer. Encourage students to use learnt interpersonal communication skills such as listening, eye contact and follow-up questions. The teacher should observe the groups as they work together. Provide an evaluation for each student after the activity. Students will learn what skills are their strengths and which skills they should work to improve.
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