DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES FOR DEVELOPING COMMUNICATION SKILLS

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1 DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES FOR DEVELOPING COMMUNICATION SKILLS MALA JAIN Department of Humanities Truba Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Bhopal (M.P.), India Abstract Communication is an integral feature of human activities. It is a pillar which maintains the structure of peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding. Communication can be described as the process of transmitting and receiving ideas, information and messages. It is not surprising that communication, and how to communicate is so important to daily life that it has spawned an entire industry of books, articles and seminars explaining how to do it better. Communication is a process of sharing information through speech, writing, gestures or symbols between two or more people. The focus of the present paper is oral communication and the language under consideration is English. The teacher should adopt a student centered approach. The learners should be encouraged to do things in the class which result in developing their communication skills. The trainer has to focus on both the linguistic and paralinguistic features of the communication process while enhancing learners communication skills. These features involve effective use of words, forming grammatically intelligible sentences and an appropriate use of voice and intonation. The teacher should encourage and train his students to use positive body language while listening and speaking. In order to improve the communication skills of the learners, it is very important to make the learners comfortable with the language they have to communicate in. Shedding their inhibitions is also one of the pivotal areas of concerns. This paper explores different techniques that could be useful while training students in communication skills. Key words: Linguistic and paralinguistic features, English communicative ability, Communication competence, Communication and personality, integrated skills Introduction Communication is an interactive process and it is crucial to teaching and learning in general. However, it should be noted that ineffective use of communication contributes significantly to the problems that occur during instructional process. Without a framework or methodology to follow and practice in developing communication skills in students, improving academic performance becomes much more difficult. The efforts that students put into becoming more effective communicators and developing the skills associated with communication will be of great value to them in personal, social and academic contexts. The teacher should adopt a student centered approach. The learners should be encouraged to do things in the class which result in developing their communication skills. In order to hone the communication skills of the learners, it is very important to make the learners comfortable with the language they have to communicate in. Shedding their inhibitions is also one of the pivotal areas of concerns. The trainer has to act as a facilitator of the activities which would result in 78

2 making the learners comfortable with the language and minimize their hesitation. The teacher can divide the class into groups and ask them to engage in free talk i.e. informal talk. They have to communicate only in English. One can get comfortable with the language only if he speaks that language with the people he is comfortable with. We all acquire our first language by listening to and interacting with our parents, siblings and friends. The more you communicate in English with the people you are confident while speaking, more is your comfort level with the language and it results in acquiring fluency. Fluency cannot be taught, it has to be caught and one can catch fluency while communicating in such informal situations. Realizing many benefits that can be derived from possessing good communication skills, A suggested framework for developing communication skills is: Identify Audience - Define the characteristics of your audience Select Topic - Define the topic, purpose, and scope of your communication. Set objective and criteria- Set objectives to measure the outcomes and effect of your communication. Gather information - find sources and gather information for your communication. Select medium - Decide what you will use to deliver your communication. Develop structure of message - Create your message and determine how it will be best communicated Test and Revise - Practice, test, and revise communication Deliver communication - Send the communication What are the Strategies for Developing Communication Skills in Students? Improving English communicative ability is about first knowing goals for learning English and then establishing clear steps for reaching those goals. Once it has been done focus on fluency rather than accuracy; then work on skills that will help to convey exactly what the purpose is behind it. The trainer has to focus on both the linguistic and paralinguistic features of the communication process while enhancing learners communication skills. These features involve effective use of words, forming grammatically intelligible sentences and an appropriate use of voice and intonation. The learners can be made to read a dialogue in which the focus is on the use of one particular grammar topic. Then the students are given situations where they need to use this understanding of the grammar topic. For example, the students could be made to read the following dialogue where the focus is on the use of quantifiers before countable and uncountable nouns. In an attempt to promote communication competence in students, communication skills teaching should focused on the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and breaks each skill down into its component micro skills. For instance, the teacher may break down the skill of listening into the following micro skills: Recognizing keywords in conversations Recognizing topic of a conversation Recognizing time reference of an utterance Following speech at different rates of speed. Identifying key information in a passage. 79

3 Words are the building blocks of language. The world perceives people with rich vocabularies to be more creative and more intelligent. Such people use right words at right place. The trainer can encourage the students to speak better words than they use. The trainer can train his students to get rid of the hackneyed and overworked words in everyday speech like said, have, good, bad etc. by replacing them with appropriate synonyms. In addition, trainer should make use of integrated skills approach to the teaching of the communication skills since in real life the skills often occur together, they should also be linked in teaching. The overarching principles of teaching communication skills can be summarized as follows: 1. Make real communication the concept to be learned. 2. Provide opportunities for learners to experiment and try out what they know. 3. Be tolerant of learner s errors as they indicate that the learner is building up his or her communicative competence. 4. Provide opportunities for learners to develop both accuracy, and fluency. 5. Link the different skills such as speaking, reading and listening, together since they usually occur together in the real life. In applying these principles in the classroom teacher should make use of activities that requires learners to negotiate meaning and interact meaningfully. The teacher should focus on classroom activities that could be used to implement a communicative approach, such as group work, task work, and information gap activities. These could be achieved through the following activities: Task-completion activities: puzzles, games, map-reading and other kinds of classroom tasks in which the focus will be on ability to use communication skills to complete a task. 1. Information gathering activities: student will conduct surveys, interviews and searches in which they will use the communication skill to collect information. 2. Opinion-sharing activities: activities where students compare values, opinions, beliefs. 3. Information-transfer activities: these require learners to take information that is presented in one form, and represent it in a different form. 4. Reasoning gap-activities: these involve deriving some new information from given information through the process of inference and practical reasoning. 5. Role plays activities: activities in which students are assigned roles and improvise a scene or exchange based on given information or clues. 6. Therefore, for teacher to ensure effective communication skills among students, the teacher should make use of the following core activities 7. Discussion/debate: This core activity should run frequently. The students should engage in a formal/informal discussion/debate activity on an assigned topic. This activity is completely student-led, students will play all the roles (conductor, observer, group presenter, and participating members). 80

4 The discussion/debate activity includes both group discussions and debates, including a little bit of oral presentation. After performance, students will be given feedback individually. They should be informed about the errors they committed. So that they take care of the errors committed in the next performance. In this way they improve a lot gradually. 8. Oral presentations: in between the discussion/debate activity, the students are asked to prepare a topic assigned to them and present in the class. Students will make formal presentations. Each presentation will be followed by a question/answer period and concluded by the teacher s comment. 9. Role-play: For this activity, the students will be asked to make group of three or five students. They will be given situation and will be asked to perform the role in the class. 10. The students will find all these activities to be rewarding, intrinsically interesting and educationally beneficial. Oral communication makes possible for a man to develop their skills, express their needs, motivations, interests and aspirations in the communicative act, interacting in the social environment, because man is communicating himself, while differing from you customize others. Despite all the scientific and technological level, human beings continue expressing their goals and aspirations, through the development of verbal communicative activity, because any human action involves talking, trying to establish communication, that is why to ensure that students to communicate orally in English communication activities must be conceived in which the manifestation of the principle of unity between the activity, communication and personality. This principle means that the personality is formed and developed in constant activity and in the process of communication. Since the birth of man and throughout his life, it performs a number of activities and are constantly engaged in them, these two elements are essential in the process of character education, as there is no communication activity, or activity no communication, they constitute a dialectical pair interaction and exert powerful influences on the development of man s personality. Recommendation and Conclusion Communicative activities should be attractive and interesting to facilitate better communication, where among other issues, students learn to listen, to say, to ask questions and interact in situations related dialogues with their daily activities, their preferences, their views on various topics the objective of promoting the development of oral communication in English.Every communicator must know the significance of language which is essential for effective communication. There is no life without communication and communication flows like a river. Hence communication is the life line of management and it is vital for good management. Unless and until one should master the communication skills, he/she cannot get employability. He/ she should develop communication and language skills practicing the following: 1. While interacting with someone, give importance to the message. 2. Do not be pre-occupied with grammatical accuracy. 81

5 References : 3. Once you become fluent, you should try to improve grammar. 4. Accept yourself as you are. 5. Practice is very important. Whenever you get an opportunity to speak in front of others, make use of it. Face the audience boldly. 6. Keep a good dictionary with you as your companion. 7. Read newspapers, read stories, articles, news-items, watch news on T.V., Radio, Develop your listening skills. 8. Mingle with others freely; it helps you to develop interpersonal and group skills. 9. Cultivate habit of reading books. By reading books, you can improve and develop 'Creativity'. 10. Selection of right books, good books to read is the key factor to success. 11. Motivate the young minds and activate to learn subject and language. 12. The great ideas will definitely help the reader in his later life. So read, Mark, learn and inwardly digest what is there in the books. 13. Books are temples of knowledge. Visit the Library regularly at fixed hour. 14. Now-a-days, knowledge is open for all in so many forms. You need to acquire desired knowledge from vast sources available. Bamgbose, A. (1984). Mother tongue medium and scholastic attainment in Nigeria.Prospects, 16(1), Bruthiaux, P. (2002). Hold your courses: Language education, language choice, and economic development. TESOL Quarterly, 36, Bunyi, G. (1999). Rethinking the place of African indigenous languages in African education. International Journal of Educational Development, 19, Cleghorn, A. & Rollnick, M. (2002). The role of English in individual and societal development: A view from African classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 36, Cooke, J. & Williams, E. (2002). Pathways and labyrinths: Language and education in development. TESOL Quarterly, 36, Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rural areas." 82

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