While we may be confident in our abilities to communicate in our personal life, communicating in a professional setting might be a different story altogether. It’s true that after a long day of work, it may be difficult to stay positive when you just want to go home. But it’s important to remember the benefits of keeping a positive attitude in the workplace.
Positive communication in the classroom and with students improves learning and increases community. It’s important that you take the time to foster positive communication in all that you do, especially in the classroom.
Positive classroom communication all begins with a positive attitude. A sour attitude is like a virus. It infects those around you and brings them down. However, when you are positive, the people around you will be positive too. So when you talk to your students, start on the right foot with a positive attitude.
Also, it’s important to remember: Keep it professional. This can be hard to do because relationships are so important in education. However, it’s critical to draw the line of professionalism. SPED educator Ayo Jones had a student who called her classroom hundreds of times a week after he graduated. Students need to know that we are working, and that while we care about them and their learning, we are not their best friends. Students with special needs may take a little longer to learn these things, so it’s really important that we keep our relationship and communication with students professional.
And perhaps one of the more important things to remember: Offer specific positive reinforcements. When students achieve their goals and behave well in class, it’s important to let them know that. Just make sure it’s specific to what they achieved. Don’t just say, “Good job.” Instead, say, “I noticed you cleaned your workspace! Great job.” Or, “I see you brought up your grades in math. Nice work!” Being specific clarifies what target behavior is being seen positively and also being reinforced. Make sure to use that specificity to your advantage to target the behavior you want to see.
As a quick reminder: The words you speak are only part of what you are saying. Non-verbal communication methods can convey more than words, so you need to be conscious of both your verbal and non-verbal communication in everything you do.
If you think you need help facilitating positive communication, you’re not alone. We created this course, SPED Paraeducators — Positive Communication, with SPED educator Ayo Jones to help educators who may have trouble communicating in a professional setting.
In the course presented by Noodle Nook, participants will learn:
- Positive communication with coworkers
- Positive TEAM communication
- Positive communication in the classroom
- Communication for students using AAC & VODs