Communication is an essential aspect of our lives. It helps to express ideas and feelings. Right from birth babies communicate through sounds (crying, cooing, squealing), facial expressions (eye contact, smiling, grimacing)/gestures/body movements and as babies grow into children and then adults their communication skills grow too.
For a child to achieve academic success, well-developed communication skills are vital. School going children run the risk of falling behind their peers or becoming emotionally overwhelmed or withdrawn at school if the communication skills are not well developed. Therefore academic success depends on good communication skills and begins with spoken communication. At a personal level too as adults, we need communication skills to communicate our needs, concerns and the difficulties we face in our daily lives, and it is communication that helps us build healthy relationships. In other words a student’s academic success and future career prospects depend on good communication skills. Here at GIIS, the main focus is on communication skills right from the time the student joins in kindergarten all the way till Grade 12.
In today’s global environment, students should not only possess academic expertise, but also the requisite skills to enhance their learning and employability prospects in the future. Therefore it is important to teach children from an early age to communicate well. The GMP Plus Program lays the foundation and provides a strong foundation to young learners to develop strong communication skills through reading, listening and speaking activities. As the student progresses to higher classes the school environment takes the learning a notch higher by teaching them how to interact with peers and teachers alike. The 9 GEMS™ framework, an award-winning holistic teaching methodology grooms students, hone their inherent strengths and enhance their personalities to make them well-rounded citizens and good communicators. The quality of communication in a student’s life will help eventually define their professional communication. In short the 9GEMS™ framework is the stepping stone to good communication skills and academic success.
With the vision to become a global role model for teaching and learning and its 9GEMS™ framework the students at GIIS are nurtured to become global citizens. Academic Excellence, Personality Development, Entrepreneurship & Leadership are three of the 9GEMS that act as a scaffold to good communication skills and the keys to successful communication. The activities that are conducted under these 3 GEMS include theatre, music, writing & public speaking, laying the foundation to strong communication skills. But building good communication skills does not end there, the GIIS Leadership Series and the GIIS Entrepreneurship Programme gives exposure to students through interaction with experts from various fields and industry leaders at the highest level. This gives strong insights and prepares students for the competitive world that awaits them once they graduate. These leadership series also inculcate skills and professionalism in speaking styles, different ways of self-expression and attitudes towards others. These traits would hold students in good stead in their professional lives.
The activities conducted under the 9 GEMS lay a strong foundation to build communication skills from one grade to the next. As the student progresses to higher grades they are guided to master the art of preparing, organizing and delivering successful oral presentations. Thus good communication helps students to assimilate information and empowers them to be articulate.
As we all know the hallmark of a good communicator is self-awareness. A person who is aware of his strengths and weaknesses can put in the required efforts to improve communication skills. Here, students at GIIS are given regular feedback on their areas of strength and weakness and are guided accordingly.
A good communicator is one who knows what his audience needs by observing the body language and adjusting his approach accordingly. Body language too is an important component of effective spoken communication. A speaker at all times should be aware of his posture and establish eye contact with the audience. All these skills are instilled during various activities ranging from Debates to Student Exchange Programs at inter school level to the class assemblies at the school level. These activities are conducted throughout the academic year.
Students are guided from early years to be good listeners as spoken communication is not merely the ability to speak but also the capacity to listen. Teachers and parents must collaborate and assume the role of mentors, working towards the common goal to help and guide children in improving their communication skills.
Some key points to keep in mind to improve the communication skills in children especially when they are young:
1) Encourage the child to initiate and engage in conversation: Parents as well as teachers should encourage children to express themselves and create an environment that supports communication skills.
2) Model active listening and reflection: Show a child that they care by listening to what they do say and repeating back part of what was said and then asking a relevant follow-up question. “It sounds like you were really interested in visiting the museum? Do you think there might be another place that you would like to visit?”
3) Teachers give feedback to parents: - Teachers share with parents where their child needs focus and provide them with the skills and opportunities to help the child in improving their communication skills. Teachers and parents working together open various opportunities to parents to help their children to improve communication skills.
4) Help students to conquer stage fear: Teachers and parents can help the student to master the art of spoken communication by providing opportunities to participate in real and mock presentations and speech based activities. This holds good in children as they go to higher grades.
It takes time and energy to become a great communicator. Though some people start out better than others, one can improve as long as one puts in the effort. As said by James Humes, “The art of communication is the language of leadership” and this goes well with the vision of GIIS Abu Dhabi.