Will be discussing and reflecting within my own practice, outlining verbal and non-verbal communication, the characteristics of an effective learning environment, how to encourage autonomy and independent learning, positive reinforcement
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Introduction Communication is a basic human right and is the mean's, through which we control our existence, make friends, build relationships, become independent, make choices and is the way we learn (Gray et al 2005). Therefore, communication is extremely important in all aspects of life, but especially within the teaching and learning environment. Reece and Walker (2003) cited that 'Communication is essentially about one person who sends a message which is received by a second person; however some form of channel, or means of communication is needed'. The manner in which a teacher portrays him or herself to students and how students perceive that teacher, is critical in developing a healthy atmosphere of learning (Huddleston et al, 2003). We as teachers all want to communicate in a style, which our student's will feel beneficial, but how do we identify the 'good' and 'bad' aspects of our role as communicators? The aim of this assignment, is to discuss and evaluate the way in which I the writer, communicates with my student's and in doing so, will be discussing and reflecting within my own practice, outlining verbal and non-verbal communication, the characteristics of an effective learning environment, how to encourage autonomy and independent learning, positive reinforcement methods in behaviour, barriers to communicating and the integration of theoretical models. The style of communication, body language and the language used in our teaching is a significant and powerful factor in setting a positive and purposeful climate in the classroom. Therefore, effective learning requires that the communication is a two way process, but this is no easy matter in practise as a number of barriers present themselves which prevent or inhibit effective communication (Petty 2001).
This is very much the case within my particular learning environment, as the programme is focussed towards those, who have an array of social, emotional and educational learning needs. Negative and harmful attitudes towards difference in our society remain a critical barrier to learning and development. Discriminatory attitudes resulting from prejudice against people on the basis of race, class, gender, culture, disability, religion, ability, sexual preference and other characteristics manifest themselves as barriers to learning when such attitudes are directed towards learners in the education system. For the most part, negative attitudes toward different learners manifest themselves in the labelling of learners. This is a very prominent issue with my learner's as they are often labelled for being a burden on society, as they are pregnant teenagers and people think that they are placed in a particular learning environment merely because they belong to a category of learners, for which a particular kind of educational placement exists. Sometimes teacher's, through inadequate training, use teaching styles which may not meet the needs of some of the learners. A teacher may teach at a pace, which only accommodates learners who learn very quickly. Alternatively, the pace and style of teaching may limit the initiative and involvement of learners with high levels of ability. However, the underpinning knowledge that I have gained from doing my 7407 course has enabled me to consider all learner's abilities and therefore, when I plan my lessons, there will be attention to all of my learner's needs. In recent weeks, the implementation and application of the lesson plans that I have devised, have been an effective tool in dictating the content, delivery and pace of what is hope to be achieved, as I have considered the differentiation of the group and adapted it accordingly to their individual needs, not merely what I want to deliver and the teaching methods that suit me best.
It is important to recognise that ego states between the teacher and student are very significant, because if the teacher was communicating in a child or parent state, then the learner would respond in a child- like way. However, if the teacher were to go into their adult state, then the learner would be more likely to rise to their adult state, which is the most effective response within a learning environment. Many teachers' have an individual style of teaching that makes them unique, however not all of them might be the most appropriate and effective way for all learners'. Throughout the programme I teach on, there are regular updated handouts, which are appropriate, jargon-free and most importantly, user-friendly to the individual learning needs of the group. I use a variety of visual aids; including colourful handouts, booklets, card games etc, so that the learners' are stimulated, interested and most importantly engaged in the learning environment. Conclusion: This assignment has given me the insight into how and why I communicate with my learners on a daily basis. Throughout the last 6 weeks I have undertaken a lot of extensive reading into the dynamics of communication. The first session on Transactional Analysis first made me think, what is all this about- what is an ego state? What is the term TA everyone is using so freely within the group? Then it came to me- parent-child, adult-child relationships significantly affect the way our learners' respond. Ever since that day this theory has inspired me to think about how I communicate with my learners, not just verbally, but non-verbally in so many ways that I have previously discussed. By researching and writing this assignment, my whole approach towards my learners' has changed, so that I can effectively respond to their individual needs and provide them with an effective learning environment.
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