Improving Communication: Developing effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills

Yerkinbekova Akmaral

The present article offers a practical and detailed guideline on how to foster students’ communication skills through diagnostic assessment that can be integrated into any lesson regardless of the subject one teaches. The implementation of such diagnostic activity provides a baseline for identifying current state of students’ knowledge. In doing so, it gives teachers an understanding of how they can adjust their content to better meet students’ needs. This diagnostic pre-assessment is best executed in pairs which are easier to manage as students usually sit in pairs.

To identify the common pitfalls that students usually fall into trap of while communicating, start a lesson with any warm-up question that you find suitable. Prepare two different cards for each pair containing a specific task to complete. Ask Student A in each pair to examine the body language of their partner while they are responding to the warm-up question posed earlier ,and put a tick in the box against the body language signals that he/she is making, i.e., avoiding eye contact, focusing on a single point, fidgeting, standing still, touching his face/neck/hair, or leaning on a table or a chair. Then ask Student B to detect the speech fillers that the student A is using such as “umm”, “uhh”, “like”, “you know” and/or “so”. However, upon giving instructions, do not disclose the real purpose of this activity. Students shouldn’t be aware that they are being evaluated against certain criteria to exclude any possibility of a pretentious speech. Upon realization that they are being assessed, they might become more conscious about their mistakes. They will try to avoid them at any costs whereas in their natural speech, errors of this sort might surface more. After they finish, collect all of their cards, go through the common mistakes and develop your further course of action based on the results.

Yerkinbekova Akmaral
Social Studies and Theory of Knowledge teacher
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Nur-Sultan, International Baccalaureate

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