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Effective Communication Strategies for Teachers/Mentors

Appropriate communication strategies are consciously and cautiously planned, adapted and chosen along the communicator’s aims, the other person perceived needs and the circumstances. The communication has verbal or written forms and adjoining non-verbal communication signs, with rules and steps of the communication strategy.

Communication strategies can differ by

  • The philosophy it is based on: autocratic, democratic or permissive

The most effective teacher-students communication strategy is the democratic and has got humanistic psychology approach.

According to this we are equal partners, and both need respect as a unique individual, whose thoughts, time and values are worth attention. The communication strategy may vary by

  • the chosen language style: formal or informal,
  • the emotional level it can handle,
  • the aim of each communication sessions,
  • the time we have for a process.

 For example: A short conversation on the phone can be informing, supporting, provide active listening, and the aim can be a short talk but focussing on the whole process, or just an in time quick help to keep functioning the other until we will have more time to have another fully acted, planned communication process. 

Roles the communicator may take:

  • The coach - best, if the other person generally has good problem solving capacity, but at the moment there are roadblocks in her/him.
  • The mentor - if the partner needs information and advice continuously and a hint of informal and friendly support.
  • The "therapist" - if the aim is to help and bring the other into an emotionally balanced status
  • The informer – the aim is to serve with appropriate and up-to-date information

Effective Communication Tools:

1. Strategies for effective listening:

  • Focus on the person-give your full attention to the speaker
  • Look for and pay attention for non-verbal messages (e.g. notice body language)
  • Listen for the essence  (grasp the essence of the speaker’s thoughts, core ideas or messages)
  • Be empathic  (imagine, how you would feel like in similar circumstances)
  • Ask questions to clarify your understanding

2. Strategies for accurate perception:

  • Analysing/checking your own perception - is it correct?
  • Work on improving your own perception (seek honest, constructive feedback for increasing your self-awareness)
  • Focus on others (develop your ability to focus on other people)

3. Strategies for effective verbal communication:

  • Focus on the issue, not the person (try not to take everything personally, use empathy
  • Be genuine, rather than manipulative (keep your integrity and be yourself honestly and openly use I-Messages)
  • Empathize, rather than remain detached (keep professional boundaries, but demonstrate sensitivity and use I-Messages)
  • Be flexible and open toward others’ point of view
  • Value yourself and your own experiences
  • Present yourself as an equal partner, rather than a superior
  • Use affirming responses (respond in ways to present you acknowledge others’ experiences, their rights for their thoughts and their feelings)

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