Researched and Written by David Watters
To communicate effectively is to give and receive appropriate, accurate information. The elements of the information chain are linked together.
action –> outcomes –> beliefs –> feelings –> intentions
Actions by one person typically produce material outcomes for the other. In response to these outcomes, the second person develops thoughts about the first person, typically about their motives. There is then some emotional response to this. The second person forms an intention to act, arising partly from the emotional response.
Strength of Communication Skills
Skills developed in teacher training/ working as a teacher or personal tutor can usefully be transferred into other areas.
My background is in performing and this too has aided my ability to communicate effectively; developing listening skills, reading body language and seeing from a variety of perspectives.
As a teacher, I use expressive skills to give others information about their behaviour, and my beliefs, feelings and intentions.
Emotional skills enable me to say those things which need to be said, but which are difficult to say. For example, when conflict arises or when change needs to occur.
One such time was when a member of my team was not fulfilling his role; not writing appropriate Assignment Briefs or meeting Assessment deadlines. I made every effort to communicate my concerns, in a supportive manner, to uncover the underlying reason for this.
Support and guidance were offered and this was followed up, by mutual agreement, through email correspondence and one to one training. I find that I can postpone my own concerns/ emotions until I understand the perspective of my student/colleague.
I use Listening Skills to obtain information about the student/colleague. Mediation Training with LEAP has helped me to listen effectively and Cognitive Behavioural knowledge has given me a better perspective on how a person’s “truth” is shaped by their interpretation of the world and sense of self. This allows me to listen with greater understanding and compassion.
Dealing with Stress
Although I have high standards and in all areas of my life aim for perfection, I realise that this is never entirely possible. I am able to manage stress better now that I allow myself to fail. I look at the worst case scenario and put this into perspective; then I look at how to avoid this scenario.
I think before I react to situations, I am as prepared and organised as I can be in all professional situations and in using clear communication skills I can avoid conflict which may have arisen from misinformation.
Stress in itself is not a bad thing; it is important, however, to deal with stress appropriately and professionally. Personally, I believe that stress can be a motivator and, if correctly handled, can produce good results. I do, however, understand the need to create a balance between work and my personal life, where all aspects of my character are fulfilled. This in itself reduces stress.
Good Time Management is vital with regards to dealing with stress. It is vital to organise and prioritise tasks. I have developed a system in which I list tasks to be done and set targets for achieving these goals. Targets need to be manageable and achievable; much like setting SMART targets for our students; I use this technique to ensure that work is covered and that no one task dominates my time.
In any given working week, I will be teaching each day, will have meetings with colleagues, communication with external colleagues/creative partners, support and guidance time with individual students – so knowing how best to prioritise work is vital.
Good preparation of Schemes of Work, Lesson Plans and creation of resources will mean less time worrying about what needs to be done from a teaching point of view. This creates time for unexpected guidance sessions with students who are in need of support or for time with staff to discuss any issues or concerns
In conclusion, as a Team Leader or Manager, managing YOUR time effectively can reduce the instances of stress that YOU might face. This means that YOU are in a better position to support YOUR team and, through clear communication, achieve YOUR desired outcomes for the team (learners and colleagues), the department and the business.