Thinking About Communication Opportunities

students work togetherStudents need the opportunity to practice communication skills in the classroom. If you are having difficulty coming up with communication-type activities for your students, the following list may help:

Oral Communication

  1. “How To” Speeches – Let the students teach you something like making a peanut butter sandwich or tying shoes. These are more powerful when a student tells you how to do something and you must comply verbatim on the spot. Students will very quickly see which details they left out.
  2. The Elevator Speech – Students have an elevator ride (usually 30 seconds or so) to introduce themselves or their ideas. They have to be specific and succinct.
  3. Give A Famous Speech – Students simply give a famous speech (or segment). Try Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Written Communication

  1. Print Ads, Posters, and Flyers – Have students develop written print media to support their speeches.
  2. Essays, White Papers, and Research – Have students pick a topic of interest and write, write, write!
  3. Questions – Have students write questions during presentations and use those to guide further discussion and/or research.

Interpersonal Communication

  1. Dear Sir or Madam – Have students write letters or emails to one another, other teachers, or places of interest.
  2. Develop Collaborative Teams – Have students work together on projects and presentations, so that they learn to communicate well with others.
  3. Practice active listening – Teach students to engage in active listening through eye contact, nonverbal cues, and restatement of the ideas articulated.

The possibilities for student communication in the classroom are endless. This list was informed and inspired by the work of Alexandra D. Owens’ article Building Communication Skills in Your 21st Century Classroom ( Generate your own list and start exploring communication with your students.

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