Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elementary Communications

Objective of Elementary Communications Class
This class would cover all the basics of communication, as pertaining to this age group (such as arguing with parents, and which arguments work best and why, and which approach would only aggravate the matter, and how to find a reasonable compromise). It would also cover all the different channels one can use to send a message, and when each one is most appropriate.

Why I Feel This Class Is Necessary
This material applies directly to all aspects of each student’s life, and might even relieve some stress at home and in the classroom. Students need to understand the importance of communication, given it’s something we’re doing constantly, unlike algebra or bio, no offence to math or science, but like I said, we cannot not communicate.

Possible Assignments, Lessons & Activities
Perhaps an illustrated children’s book would be effective for depicting different methods of delivering a message--sending a letter, text message or email, leaving a voicemail or post-it note, giving a gift, etc. (or, god forbid, speaking in person--a channel of communication I fear technology deems obsolete).
As a subsequent assignment, each student could come up with another way to send a message, one that isn’t in the book, and they could all turn in a page for their own class picture book of different ways to send a message. You could simply say it, you could say it with a song, you could bake it in a cake, etch a message in the skin of a banana, carve it into the bark of a tree, draw it in chalk on someone’s driveway… There are infinite ways to deliver a message. Each student could submit an illustration or a photo of them using their method.

Students could study comic-style illustrations depicting different scenarios involving kids their age, in which the children interact with parents, bullies, peers, or teachers, for example. There could be several versions, using several different methods of approaching  each interaction, some of which are more effective than the others, and the class would then discuss which method is the most successful. These lessons could be easily implemented into students’ lives outside of school. Plus, the comic-book-style-illustrations are visually appealing and can be easily presented on a smartboard, or simply in a picture book.

Lastly, and most importantly, I recommend excessive show & tell--I’m talking daily. Not even show, necessarily. Just as long as the students get up in front of the class and talk about anything, answer the question of the day. This would desensitize the students to the fear of public speaking that plagues our generation early on. It would instill a sense of confidence when addressing a crowd. This would make a world of difference in every aspect of each student’s future life--romantic, social and professional--because in any circumstances, confidence is key, and so is communication.

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