For teachers, learning how to communicate with students can be a skill with a steep learning curve. However, fostering effective communication can be one of the most rewarding parts of the teaching experience.
Communication is important in the classroom for many different reasons, and many experts consider it to be an essential element to good teaching. I have found that there are many types of communication you can have with your students.
During my teaching experience, I have discovered that communicating well with students and parents of students can increase motivation and engagement in the classroom. I wanted to create an ultimate guide for communicating with students so teachers everywhere can have all the best tips in one place.
In this article, you will find a collection of all the best tips and tricks for communicating with your students and their parents. I have hand-picked all of these tips using my many years of experience and incredible sources with expert research.
If you’re looking for advice on communicating with students, both online and in the classroom, you’re in the right place! After reading this article, you will know all about:
- The reasons why communication is important in the classroom
- The types of communication to use at school
- Communicating with students in the classroom
- Communicating with students online
- Communicating with parents of students
And always remember that…
— MindShift (@MindShiftKQED) October 27, 2018
Why is Communication Important in the Classroom?
To communicate effectively with your students, you must first understand why communication is important in the classroom. Successful communication is actually said to be the best strategy for improving student behavior.
Teaching is based around your students: you can’t effectively teach unless you are able to communicate with students and understand their needs in the classroom. Studies have actually found that students are more successful when their learning environment is interactive and engaging.
Additionally, communicating well with students can increase their self-esteem. That’s right, students tend to be more confident and willing to speak up in the classroom when they feel like their voices are heard. If students feel that their instructor understands and respects them, they will be more likely to return that sentiment.
There are many reasons why communication is a crucial component of a successful classroom. Overall, good communication can establish a trend of respect, good behavior, and good performance in the classroom. While good rapport can be difficult to achieve, the tips we have in this article are fantastic for achieving open communication with students!
Check out this video on YouTube for an in-depth lecture on communicating in the classroom if you want to become even more of an expert in communication!
5 Communication Types to Use at School
There are many types of communication you can use at school and outside school hours to establish a connection with your students. If you are looking to cover all your bases with your students, there are five main types of communication that you should know:
1. Meeting in Person
The first way to communicate with your students is simple: meeting in person! This can take place during pre-arranged office hours, before or after class, or during another time in the school day. Having a one-on-one meeting with your students in person can help them trust you and feel that they can share their thoughts and ideas with you as an instructor.
2. Phone or Video Call
If meeting in person is not possible, you can also communicate with your students by phone or video call. These both give similar benefits to a one-on-one meeting in person and can help increase your students’ trust. Additionally, if students are having any problems, they might be more likely to tell you if they feel you are open to listening to them in a confidential setting.
3. E-mail and Online Messaging
Another way many students feel comfortable communicating is through email or online messaging. These are great because they can be implemented on both an individual and a group basis. An individual can message you if they are having trouble or have a question, but you can also email the class as a whole or post in a group message board.
4. Traditional Mail
While this one will probably be used more occasionally, one type of communication you can use with your students is good old-fashioned snail mail! If you have younger students, this can be a fun way to get your students excited and familiar with the conventions of letter-writing. This can also be great for students in areas with limited internet access or supplies.
5. Open Discussion
One final way to communicate that you don’t want to forget is through simple open discussion. If you set aside class time for group discussion with your class, your students will feel that they have a forum for communicating with both you and each other. Don’t underestimate the power of this one!
If you want a quick refresher on how to use communication in the classroom as a teacher, check out this video:
4 Tips on How to Communicate with Students in the Classroom
If you’re planning to teach students in a traditional classroom setting, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you establish a relationship with your students. It can be difficult to have all eyes on you but rewarding if you use it as an opportunity to create a safe learning environment!
1. Active Listening
One of the most important strategies you can employ in the classroom is active listening. Students can tell the difference when you’re going through the motions compared to when you’re actually listening to what they have to say. Make sure that the responses you give your students when they communicate with you are well thought-out and show that you care.
If you want to learn even more about active listening, check out this video:
2. Speak Mindfully
Any seasoned teacher will tell you that it’s immensely important to think before you speak when you’re in the classroom. What might seem like a simple comment to you can be influential to a student, so mind what you’re saying at all times. Make sure that your speech is supportive and creates a safe environment for your students.
3. Ask for Feedback
Feedback is super important for improving your teaching, and students aren’t always willing to offer up issues they are having with your methods without being asked. Asking your students for feedback shows them that you care and gives you a way to know what is and isn’t working in your teaching strategy. Set aside time each semester for students to give anonymous written feedback for your course!
4. Rethink Where You Stand
Teachers traditionally stand at the front of the classroom, but this isn’t always the best option. Many effective teachers like to move around the classroom to better create an open dialogue with students. This way, you can some points in the lesson where you are addressing the class and other points where you are attending to individual questions.
If you or your students want to see some examples of healthy dialogue and conversation taking place in the classroom, check out this video!
Document cameras can be an important part of the classroom.
5 Tips on How to Communicate with Students Online
It can be a little more difficult to connect with students online, but there are many tools you can use as a teacher to help your students feel supported. Teaching online has become much more common recently, and many teachers are finding that they have to adapt their communication styles to suit the new circumstances. If you’re setting up for an online semester, here are five of the most important tips to keep in mind!
1. Consider a Blended Learning Platform
One way to get to the next level with communicating your students online is by using a blended learning platform such as Google Classroom. An application like Google Classroom will allow you to do all sorts of education-related functions, such as creating assignments and sharing files. These types of platforms are revolutionary in creating opportunities for teacher-student communication in an online setting.
To learn even more about communicating with your students using Google Classroom, check out this video!
2. Make Sure Your Students Can Hear You
Another thing to keep in mind when teaching online is making sure you and your students have the correct equipment for conducting online class. Make sure that your camera and microphone are high quality and function well. Check-in with each of your students and make sure that they have the right equipment to properly attend class.
3. Communicate Regularly
If your class isn’t meeting in person, it will be easier for your students to forget about or neglect if they haven’t heard from you in a while. Make sure you address the class as a group regularly in short emails or memos where you update the class on important dates and upcoming assignments. This also gives your students a natural opportunity to ask questions or reach out with individual concerns on a regular basis.
4. What Goes Online Stays Online
It’s always important to remember that pretty much everything you say online is public. While it might seem like you’re emailing or messaging with an individual student, anything you write can be screenshotted, forwarded, or otherwise shared with other members of your community. This shouldn’t be something to cause you alarm, but it’s still good to keep in mind that nothing is private or confidential when it comes to online communication.
5. Don’t Go Too Far
While it’s important to be available to your students it’s possible to overdo it, especially online. Make sure that you are maintaining boundaries and answering emails and questions from students during work hours as opposed to 24/7. With an online classroom it can be easy to start working during your personal time, but it’s important to maintain balance.
Watch this YouTube video for even more tips for communicating successfully with your students online!
How to Communicate with Students’ Parents
Your students aren’t the only people you’ll have to establish good communication with as a teacher. Often in teaching roles it is important to have a good relationship and open line of communication with your students’ parents as well. Thankfully, we have a few tips and tricks for you in this area as well!
Especially with remote learning being more common these days, it can be difficult to find ways to communicate with the parents of your students. Make sure that at the start of each semester you establish multiple means of communication with the parents. These means of communication can include email, video conferencing, phone call, or any other way.
Something that is important to remember with your students’ parents is to keep it light. A good relationship with the parents of your class often involves light and little communication. If you’re talking to the parents in your class a lot, it could be a sign that they don’t trust you to teach their child without intervention.
One simple way you can improve levels of communication with parents is to CC them on your weekly email or memo to your students. Especially if you have young students, doing this can be a good way for parents to be adequately informed about what’s going on in the class without overwhelming them or making them go through any extra effort.
If you establish a good relationship with your students’ parents, it will go a long way in helping your students to respect and trust you. Plus, there can sometimes be surprise benefits to this relationship, too. Maybe a parent wants to lend a helping hand or donate materials to your class!
For more information on how to communicate and build a relationship with your students’ parents, check out the video above!
- Five communication strategies I already know – but forget to use
- Communicating with students without E-Mail or text messaging
- Effective communication with parents and carers: for professionals
Overall, communicating with students is a difficult but essential aspect of teaching that some teachers can find difficult at first. It’s important to remember that you are always being watched in the classroom and that your behavior and the way you communicate with your students directly affects your classroom environment. Students who feel that their voices are heard tend to have better performance and behavior.
In this article, you were presented with the ultimate guide on how to communicate with students. Here, all the top tips for communication are gathered in one place!