Collaboration among teachers, and school administrators, is
extremely important when it comes to effectively engaging with and reaching students
in the classroom. In fact, to truly be an effective teacher, educators first
need to be effective communicators.
“There is a
growing body of evidence that suggests student learning improves significantly
when teachers collaborate and collaboration depends on clear,
consistent, and open lines of communication,” says Michael Linane a technology
and engineering teacher at Old Rochester Regional School.[i]
So the question is – how do you go about improving
communication between staff and faculty members at your school?
Pay Attention to
Different Communication Styles
It doesn’t matter if you are in the initial planning stages
of a new project or completing the final tasks on a project you started 3
months ago, the first order of importance is to clearly communicate team goals
and expected outcomes. A great way to effectively deliver your message when
speaking to others is to pay attention to their style of communication.
Some people are
more detailed oriented while others may prefer a general overview of each task.
It’s not that any style is more successful than the others, it just helps you better
engage with your peers and colleagues when you have an idea of what type of
communicator they are.
To effectively communicate
with your fellow educators and staff members, try to determine their preferred communication style based on these clues:
- Personal communicators value one-on-one connections and do best
when there is an emphasis on personal relationships. They may seem over
emotional at times, but this is due to their great compassion for everyone’s
feelings which also makes them great listeners.
- Functional communicators focus more on the specific,
step-by-step tasks and processes needed to complete each project. In fact,
functional communicators often make great project managers!
- Intuitive communicators are quick and to the point and prefer
a big picture, general overview of projects. They tend to be very creative,
often thinking outside of the box, but may get overwhelmed if you give them too
- Analytical communicators are extremely logical and may appear
cold or unemotional at times, but this is most likely due to them being laser
focused on the specific facts and figures for each project. They dislike vague
language without supporting data and do best when you give them lots of detailed
The Importance of
The next thing to concentrate on once you’ve determined
everyone’s communication style is to practice your active
listening skills. There’s nothing worse than someone talking over you when
you are trying to get your point across, don’t be that person!
Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert at The Balance Careers says, “Good
listeners always strive to fully understand what others want to communicate,
particularly when the statement lacks clarity. Listening demands the attempt to
decode and interpret verbal messages and nonverbal cues (e.g., the
tone of voice, facial expressions, physical posture). Great listeners also
show their curiosity and ask a lot of questions. Do this, and you will make a
Here are some top tips to help you become a better active
- Face the person who is speaking
- Maintain eye contact without staring
- Pay attention to what is being said
- Keep an open mind and don’t judge
- Give occasional feedback without interrupting
- Really listen and try to picture what they are
- Ask questions, if necessary, for clarification
- Pay attention to nonverbal clues
You can learn how to become a better listener by practicing
these active listening skills. This means putting down your cellphone, so you
not only hear the words as they are being spoken, but you also comprehend the
complete message being conveyed by the speaker.
The final piece to this communication puzzle is finding and using
the right tools and technology to foster continued collaboration among staff
Using Tools to
Encourage and Foster Collaboration
Another key to improving communication among colleagues is
to work diligently on creating and developing a strong district-wide strategy
that can be implemented at every school. Things like team planning sessions and
scheduling regular collaboration opportunities are a few methods to try out.
In a recent Forbes
article, the Forbes Agency Council mentioned that, “Poor communication is a
constant problem in companies. You can have three diligent people all working
to get something done, and all operating on completely different
interpretations of what that task is supposed to be. Team leads can miss
internal memos about problems or updates, and staff can become frustrated by
vague or contradictory messages coming from different sections of the
If regular face-to-face meetings aren’t always possible, due
to staff being spread out at various facilities in your district, then using
tools that allow for remote communication becomes extremely important. This can
include things like a district website, weekly emails, official school social
media sites or video emails. Even using an online
organizational tool like Trello or Slack, goes a long way in keeping
everyone current on the status of all projects, news and current events.
If your school lacks the necessary tools to effectively
communicate on a local or district level conferences, such as FETC®, are the perfect way to help
you stay on top of the latest ed tech news, trends and ideas.
Great Ed Tech Products at Industry Events
colleagues at Future
of Education Technology® Conference may have different experiences and expertise, but they all share common
challenges and goals. School and district administrators, classroom teachers,
IT professionals, special education directors, curriculum and media
specialists, and other educators with roles or interest in ed tech, attend FETC® year after year to
find the professional learning, technology solutions and connections they need
to transform learning in and out of the classroom.
The 40th anniversary of the conference is scheduled for January 14 – 17, 2020 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla. Registration opens in June – join the FETC® mailing list to be the first get the inside scoop on industry news, conference highlights and more. Sign up today!
Liane, Michael. EdSurge. How to Improve Your School Staff’s Communication: Tips
and Tricks from the Classroom. Retrieved from: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-09-02-how-to-improve-your-school-staff-s-communication-tips-and-tricks-from-the-classroom
Doyle, Alison. The Balance Careers. Types of Listening Skills with Examples.
Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/types-of-listening-skills-with-examples-2063759
Forbes Agency Council. Ending Confusion: 15 Ways You Can Improve Internal
Communications. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/11/08/ending-confusion-15-ways-you-can-improve-internal-communications/#d93304e44f03