According to Communication Skills World, teaching is only 50 percent knowledge; the rest is presentation and communication. You can know more than anyone on a subject, but if you can't communicate effectively, you can't teach anyone anything. Having a strong set of communication skills can help you deliver your message, build comraderie with co-workers, and handle conflicts with ease.
Effective Body Language
Your body language matters a great deal in a lecture or a class discussion. The way you use your hands and move your body can either motivate or shut down students. For example, when working with a students, crossing your arms may signal that you are unapproachable or shutting down. According to "Entrepreneur's Organization," you can project authority by standing with your feet at shoulder's width and keeping your hands free rather than shoving them in your pockets.
Your voice is your main tool in communication. Make sure your voice is stable and projects across the room at an adequate volume. Conor Neill at "Entrepreneur's Organization" suggests that relaxed breathing, pauses, and resonance on important points can help you project power and deliver your message more effectively. If you finish a sentence with a raised tone rather than a downward inflection, you indicate that you've asked the audience a question. Remain aware of your tone and pitch while teaching a class, and you'll have a more fluid class session where students are not distracted by your speech habits.
Communication skills are possibly most helpful in handling conflicts which will surely arise during your teaching career. If a student acts out or disrupts your class, communication skills can help you deflate the situation and save face. A disruptive student should be asked politely to leave the room, and you should never show any sign of agitation, upset or worry. This gives the student power and also indicates to the others that you do not have control. Remain calm and handle conflicts with firm questions, statements, and a stable voice.
As a teacher, you'll want to build relationships both with your students and colleagues. Other teachers can offer valuable input, and you should consider yourself a resource for your colleagues as well. Active listening, and "you attitude," will go a long way in helping you develop relationships. The "you attitude" involves putting yourself in the other person's shoes and considering what they'll hear from your message. For instance, if you deliver criticism and begin your sentence with "You did this incorrectly," you're focusing the blame on the individual. By considering the "you attitude" and what it feels like to hear that criticism, you might revise your statement and begin with, "This can be done more effectively by...."
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.