Explain and evaluate how you use at least three appropriate communication strategies/theories to enhance teaching/learning experiences in your own subject specialist area. This assignment will discuss and evaluate how I communicate effectively with my learners to ensure their understanding. In particular I will focus on Chanson’s and Ashrams model to illustrate how communication takes place and how the communication strategies I use within my own teaching, Q and body language, enhance learning.
Communication is the process by which a person sends a message which is received by another person with the intention of the message being understood. In teaching this is what happens between the teacher and the learners. Messages can be sent in a variety of ways: through speech, written format or body language. One of the earliest models of communication theory was published by Shannon in 1948. The model shows how communication takes place, through the source, but also factors in how communication can go wrong (see appendix A). Chanson’s model describes how a message begins with the ‘source’, in this case, the teacher.
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The message is then transmitted through different means, for example the phone, an email r direct speech. This is known as the ‘encoded stage. The message will then be understood, known as the ‘decoder’. Eventually the message reaches its destination or ‘receiver. In an ideal learning environment communication would pass through this process without any interruption. However, as noted in Chanson’s model, noise can act as a barrier to good communication and distort a message resulting in the intended communication being misinterpreted.
A number of factors can influence this noise barrier in a teaching environment, such as poor classroom layout, the learners not being able to see or hear the cheer, or the teacher could be pitching the level of learning too high or low for the learners. This model is said to have ‘laid the foundation for different communication models we have today, and has greatly helped and enhanced the communication process in various fields’ (Tutorials Point, year unknown).
Indeed, other theorists, Ashrams (1954) have developed Chanson’s model further, taking into account factors such the type of relationship and the need for feedback between the sender and receiver of the message. In my subject specialist of Logon Waxing the learners I teach are attending for a one day course and he noise barrier is significantly influenced firstly by the individual learners and secondly, their previous experience in the beauty industry. Each individual learner’s willingness to learn can differ greatly in the classroom.
The learners attending the course may have paid for the course themselves generally meaning their motivation to succeed is high and open to communication. Other learners may have been sent by their employer. This can sometimes result in individuals being closed to learning. Through my own teaching experience I have learnt to accommodate all individual learners by keeping the ways I communicate varied. Pep the role of me acting as the sole facilitator to a minimum to avoid learners from switching off. I also provide frequent short demonstrations with the main emphasis being on the practical application and removal of the wax.
In addition, there are practical sessions where all learners are involved, peer feedback, targeted Q and written feedback. This results in learners feeling more engaged and motivated to learn as interested is kept through the varied forms of communications. Previous experience in beauty industry will also act a noise barrier when delivering my course. More experience learners will pick p all communication with ease compared to other, less experienced, learners. To accommodate these different abilities I ensure that I pitch my teaching at the right level for all individuals in the group.
The groups I teach are kept to a maximum of eight learners. This enables me to establish which learners require more time on certain topics on a one-to-one basis with myself. More adept learners can progress at a quicker rate and spend longer practicing their waxing skills. Ashrams (1954) expanded on Chanson’s communication model adding that communication must be a two way process; both the sender and achieve must take turns in sending a message. This is shown in a circular model allowing for the feedback messages to influence the communication (appendix B).
Ashram’s theory is incorporated within my own teaching as I strongly agree with Rogers that ‘Feedback matters, because without it the learner is unlikely to improve’ (Rogers, 2007, p. 59). Feedback is vital in my Logon waxing course, both from myself and the learners, as it confirms that my teaching communication has been understood. If there is still confusion, I try to communicate using a different manner to achieve learning. The methods I use to feedback to individual learners within my teaching are targeted oral Q and peer assessment. I provide each of my learners with their feedback as soon as possible.
This allows me to correct mistakes straight away so that mistakes don’t become learned and practiced. If learners are progressing well I praise their answers and waxing results. From my own teaching experience I have noted that frequent positive communication with learners keeps their motivation and desire to learn high. The learners attending the courses I teach are post-degree level. As such, there is no summarize assessment to ensure that I am communicating effectively. Instead I formally assess each learner throughout the day with targeted questions and note their answers.
The use of Q&A allows me to establish if communication has been effective and learning has been achieved, as Race et al (2008, p. 281) states ‘oral questioning is a very powerful way for you, the teacher to interact with the students; it involves the student in the sessions through thinking and provides you with feedback on the level of learning’. The use of Q&A within my teaching supports Ashram’s model of communication being a two-way process. Q not only allows me to assess my learners individually but also encourages the learners to communicate with me, any issues in my communications methods, or if they require further clarification.
This process also helps break down any barriers to communication, or ‘noise’ as referenced in Chanson’s communication model (1948), allowing me as the teacher to be more approachable and empowering the learner to feedback during the course. Body language is a form of non-verbal communication. ‘Body language helps you to get your message across, it lets students know that you want to create a supportive, productive earning environment’ (Roland, date unknown).
Logon waxing involves sensitive content, it is therefore very important to build a rapport with my learners so they feel at ease with the course and effective communication and learning can take place. The strategies I adopt include standing up straight avoiding crossing of the arms, upbeat clear voice, being aware of my facial expressions, smiling, eye contact and allowing for wait time giving the learners to comprehend and respond to my communication. This provides a positive and confidence presence with my body language. To conclude, the learners who I teach attend a one-day euros.
It is therefore essential that a good rapport is established quickly and that all learners, regardless of their motivations and experience, are comfortable in my lesson. Demonstrating positive body language and an awareness of noise barriers, as referenced in Shannon model of communication (1948), and how to combat them allow me to maintain high motivation from all learners. As stated by Ashrams (1954) communication must be a two-way process between the teacher and learner to verify that learning has been achieved. In my teaching I do this mainly through the use of targeted Q&A.