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Developing effective communication skills

      MODULE   

4

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About the Module 4

• Verbal communication – in an educational context is the ability to solve problems, to resolve conflicts, to dictate, to choose, to recognize a person in his or her own right, to impel a dynamic.

• Non-verbal communication – in an educational context is the ability to observe, to be inspired, to cooperate, to be guided and to be guide, to lead, to command, to entrust a feeling through observation.

• This module intends to increase mutual understanding between teachers, parents, educators and children through various forms of communication.

Who are the targets

• This module is designed for Youth Workers who work or will work with Teachers, Parents, Carers, Educators. It can be used by different facilitators and trainers who want to conduct trainings with this specific target group.

Objective 1

Objective 2

Objective 3

Objective 4

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The usage of verbal and nonverbal communication

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Recognition of emotions and development of empathy

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To reformulate words and sentences to communicate better

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To cooperate do to better together

Learning objectives

SOME ACTIVITIES YOU WILL FIND IN THE MODULE

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It is an adventure activity that helps participants to listen to each other. This can be important tool to use for building social skills and even in counselling

Broken Phone

An activity that helps on developing skills for a clear and concise communication. Being concise is a valuable tool nowadays as everyone is inundated with communication

Paint the Described Object

The idea behind the whole discipline of debating is to teach or to perform the approach to a certain topic from different points of view

Debates

Increases the communication and conversation among all participants, build trust within the team. Sometimes even silent can solve the tasks.

Cross the minefield

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Evaluation and test

Closed question test

Evaluation of the module

Description

Competences for Verbal CommunicationIn an educational context: the ability to solve problems, to resolve conflicts, to dictate, to choose, to recognize a person in his or her own right, to impel a dynamic

Competences for Non-verbal CommunicationIn an educational context: the ability to observe, to be inspired, to cooperate, to be guided and to guide, to lead, to command, to entrust a feeling through observation.

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For whom is designed this Module?

This module is designed for Youth Workers who work or will work with Teachers, Parents, Carers, Educators. It can be used by different facilitators and trainers who want to conduct trainings with this specific target group.

What is the goal of the training?

The training goal of this module is to increase mutual understanding between teachers, parents, educators and children through various forms of communication.

What are the learning objectives and learning skills?

After this training module, the learners will understand:

  • The usage of verbal communication

  • The usage of nonverbal communication

  • The Recognition of emotions

  • The development of empathy

  • To reformulate words and sentences to communicate better

To cooperate to do better together

The Trainer welcomes the participants and proposed two Ice-breakers

  • Game of the Rope – Activity 8

  • Broken Phone – Activity 1

The trainer makes an introduction and starts with the presentation of module, Module’s objectives and theoretical background. (check Presentation for Module 4)

Then, the trainer or the facilitator, runs a set of chosen activities:

  • Activity 2 – aim to promote communication and helps in a team building;

  • Activity 3 – aim to develop skills for a clear and concise communication;

  • Activity 4 – aim to empower students to speak, explore, show, analyse and transform the reality in which they are living. It is a tool for social change;

  • Activity 5 – aim to encourage students to think positively and with energy about what makes them who they are;

  • Activity 6 – aim to help you express yourself in a way that is clear to those around you;

  • Activity 7 – aim to help you develop skills to be clear and concise when giving and receive feedbacks;

  • Activity 9 – this activity is related to cooperation and helps the group to develop an inner communication between them.

The designed activities are for different range of groups, so be aware when you prepare it for your session, adapt it to your needs and circumstances. In this document you will find different activities, it is not necessary to use all of them but some of them are worth it.

Discussions after each activity, it is necessary because participants will get to know the moral of the activity and they will share the gained knowledge with each other. Always use evaluation is in the end so you can do better next time.

 
Activity 1 - Broken Phone.jpg

For whom : 6 – 14 or 14 - 19

Duration : 10 – 20 minutes

No. of participants : 3 – 20 participants

Place : Classroom, room, hall

Characteristic : To help participants to develop listening among each other

Materials : No material is needed

Goal : Students learn about the pitfalls of listening to and believing gossip. After several people have told a tale, the story often twists and evolves. 

Type of the activity : It is an adventure activity. Adventure activities are set-up as a single player format (*protagonist) in an interactive story with a series of puzzles and problem-solving tasks. Players usually unlock the game piece by piece. 

Pedagogical appeal

 

  • ListeningBy taking part in this fun game, their job is to be a good listener so they can pass on the correct words. If they are not attentive, they may not be able to repeat the phrase to the next player.

  • Patience and Taking TurnsPart of the socialization process is learning to take turns and wait for others. This game helps youngsters practice these skills.

  • MemoryWorking memory is an important cognitive skill that you can practice through this game. Children listen carefully and keep the words in mind long enough to repeat them.

  • Vocabulary When talking with kids, we often use the same sorts of words from one situation to the next.

  • CooperationWhen you present this game to children, stress that the goal is for the message to remain “unbroken” and make it all the way to the end in its original form. Build upon the idea of this being a team effort to see if they can do it! Each student then feels a certain responsibility to do their best for the good of the group.

  • Having Fun If the message is “broken,” urge the players to smile, laugh and try to listen more carefully next time. Above all else, have fun and enjoy the experience.

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Instructions box – Broken Phone

The person starting the game thinks of a word or phrase and whispers it into the next player’s ear only once, with no repeats allowed. That listener tries to correctly repeat that same word or phrase into the next player’s ear. The last person in the line or at the end of the circle repeats the phrase or word aloud. Allow a moment for giggles if the message is “broken” or changed. The player who started announces the correct word or phrase. Players take turns thinking of the next phrase or word to pass through a whisper.          

 
Activity 2  - Charades.jpg

For whom : 8+

Duration : Approximately 30 minutes

No. of participants : 3 – 6 participants per team

Place : Indoor or Outdoor

Characteristic : To improve better non-verbal communication skills, because non-verbal signals often strengthen the conveyed message (for instance, eyes can sometimes convey much more than words) and add extra information or make a verbal signal complete.

Materials : Timer, a notepad and pencil for score keeping

Goal : Help pupils to improve their non-verbal skills, introduce them and advice how to use body language to convey a message without speaking. Also, explaining how beneficial right facial expression and gestures can help them communicate and explore different aspects transmitting the information.

Type of game:  Team-building, get to know game

Pedagogical appeal

To communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and enjoy solid, trusting relationships in society it’s important to understand how to use and interpret body language and improve non-verbal communication skills. Non-verbal gestures, posture, eye contact has an impact on the better mutual understanding. This is an important aspect to properly express thoughts, also, look and sound more confident. Encourage pupils to use all spectrums of emotions using only body language to portray the message and then have a discussion was it hard to convey the information and for the others to understand the describer.

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Instructions box – Charades

Charades is a game of pantomimes, where one selected student has to "act out" a word without speaking, while the other members of the team has to guess what the word/phrase is. The objective is for the team to guess the word as quickly as possible. Also, choose a timekeeper – to check the time and to keep the scoring, this person could be teacher.

Divide players into two teams. Agree on how many rounds to play, for example the number of players on each team. It can also be discussed should you be using words or phrases from certain topics, because it gives more excitement and fun.

Each round of the game proceeds as follows.

A player from Team A receives a word or a phrase from Team B. After he/she has had a short time to review the word or a phrase, the timekeeper (could be a teacher) notes the time and tells the player to start acting out the word without speaking. The other members of Team A then have three minutes to guess the word or phrase. If they figure it out, the timekeeper records how long it took. If they do not figure it out in three minutes, the timekeeper announces that the time is up, and records a time of three minutes.

Then Team A generates a new word for the player from Team B, and play proceeds as above.

Normally the game continues until every player has had a chance to "act out" a word. The score for each team is the total time that the team needed for all of the rounds. The team with the smallest score wins the game.

 
Activity 3 - Paint the described object.jpg

For whom : 14+

Duration : 15 minutes

No. of participants : Several groups with two participants in the team

Place : Indoor, with a possibility to play outdoor too

Characteristic : Developing skills for a clear and concise communication. Being concise is a valuable tool nowadays, because everyone is inundated with communication.

Materials : Paper, coloured pencils/markers

Goal : Better mutual understanding in general, also, development of valuable experience which helps to transform pupil’s communication, among different environments and in day-to-day situations. 

Pedagogical appeal : It is a Team-building activity. This is a simple, yet effective, game for more efficient and focused communication. Practicing this type of communication module will help pupils to be clearer and more concise in their language and firstly think before conveying their message. Try to teach pupils to get to their point by using expressive and precise explanations, because it will help them to focus their mind and crystallize the message. By doing so, pupils will get more influence with their communication and will make it sound more confident and clearer. React and observe how this method helps them to improve their skills. Discuss the faced challenges.

Pedagogical appeal : The children can develop and carry out a survey of how other people, children and/or adults, in their community respond to the same pictures. Based on their findings, they can decide how to address stereotypes and prejudice.

 Instructions box – Paint the described object

Have two pupils sit in front of each other. One pupil has an object and the other has coloured pencil/or marker and a blank paper. The pupil with the object must describe it in as much detail as possible (the positioning of the object in the paper, its form or shape, lines, etc), without directly saying what it is. This activity should be done by precisely portraying the given object.

The second one must draw the object as best as he/she can, based on the communication of the pupil with the object without asking any questions.

Then discuss the results and mention what were the challenges on describing and portraying the object.

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Activity 4 - Forum Theater.jpg

For whom : 14+

Duration : 45 minutes

No. of participants : Up to 25 participants

Place : Indoor

Characteristic : Forum Theater is a type of theatre created by the innovative and influential film director practitioner Augusto Boal. This type of theatre empowers students to speak, explore, show, analyse and transform the reality in which they are living. It is a tool for social change. Theater can be a great outlet for students as individuals to communicate their feelings and process their understanding of things that are happening in their lives. It can also generate conversations between groups of people and lead the way to create positive social change.

Materials : Props for acting (optional)

Goal : Encourage to start a conversation among students, help them to recognize toxic environments, stereotyped thinking, by finding compassion and voice to speak up and try to make a difference by vocalizing own point of view.

 

Pedagogical appeal : Forum Theater is a great way of uniting individuals for a common cause. It welcomes people who may have different perspectives on the same issue. Some students may have lived experiences of what is being shown onstage. There is no easy route to social change, but through platforms like Forum Theater we can start conversations, because the topics will be shown from different perspective, as a play, and it takes away the pressure from individuals that this is not their experience particularly, but the simulated situation they can relate. Also, it is a good platform to discuss socially sensitive topics relevant to the students (bullying, stereotypes, addictions, bad habits, behaviour, etc).

 Instructions box – Forum Theater

Joker (could the teacher) pics several students that will perform the play. Then Theatre begins with this live performance which shows how a character is being oppressed in some way. For instance, there may be a scene where a character is treated unfairly by the adult or another student. The piece could include scenes where one challenge dominoes on the character’s future situations. The character could have difficulties at home... and suddenly the situation has spiralled out of control.

Afterwards, students will watch the performance again and this time they can stop the piece at any point and replace the oppressed character in the play and try to change the conversation (this person from the audience who is replacing the oppressed character is called spectator).

The audience then watches the spectator, who swaps in with the protagonist’s story and is invited to try a new way of responding to a situation or obstacle to see if their actions can result in a different outcome.

The beauty and the challenge of Forum Theater is that there are no answers. Even though spectators might try different ways of tackling an issue, sometimes the structures in society mean we end up with either the same outcome or face different oppressions which are still very difficult for us to overcome.

 

Example : Forum Theater in a school setting: Imagine a grade 7 classroom. The new teacher asks the student to take out their maths textbooks. The students open their bags and take out the textbook. C (a student) cannot find his textbook and asks the student sitting on his right to share it with him. He refuses to do so. The student on C's left also says no. The teacher's attention is drawn to that section of the classroom. “Hey, you, fat boy, what happened?”, he asks. The whole class giggles. C weighs more than most students of his age. C is embarrassed. He fumbles with the pencil on his desk and mumbles something. “We don't have whole day, what happened?”, shouts the teacher. “Sir, he is always like this, he always forgets...”, say some of the students in a chorus. One can also hear words like “fatso” and “Dumbo”. Most students are laughing now. The teacher just stares at C, waiting for a response. C begins to cry and rushes out of the room.

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Activity 5 - I AM.jpg

For whom : 7 – 19 years old

Duration : 2 - 5 minutes

No. of participants : 5 – 20 participants

Place : Classroom

Characteristic : No one finds it surprising to know that middle school is the period in which preteens and teens experience their most formative years. What they learn, how they behave, and how they interact with others during middle school can carry on into adulthood—whether positive or negative. Teachers have the opportunity to facilitate positive thinking and actions in their students, even when it comes to building self-esteem in teens. Self-esteem is an incredible component of successful performance in life, so teachers should be concerned about preparing them in this respect as well as academically. Self-esteem is both a recognition of self-worth and a healthy love of the self. It is the ability to know the self and to take actions which preserve, improve, and foster the self and one’s relationships with others.

Materials : Sheet of paper, a pen or pencil, some magazines or stencils, scissors and glue

Goal : To encourage students to think positively and with energy about what makes them who they are.

 Pedagogical appeal

Encouraging public speaking, Creative writing

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 Instructions box – I AM

On the paper, students create a list of “I am”. Some examples include: “I am a hard worker.” and “I am good at basketball.” Each sentence must begin with “I am…” The student writes down as many positive attributes and qualities about him or herself as he or she can think.

Then the students may decorate their list by adding magazine cut outs of things they like or by drawing, etc. The idea is that students will either keep these throughout the year, or they will be hung up in the classroom so they and their classmates remember to be positive throughout the year. Other option, which makes pupils build self-confidence – presenting these presentations by standing on the table in the middle of the class and talking about what they done.

 
Activity 6 - Debates.jpg

For whom : 7 – 19 years old

Duration : 45 minutes

No. of participants : 10 – 30 participants

Place : Classroom

Characteristic : A debate is an exchange of arguments between two teams or individuals. Meetings take place on regional, national and international levels worldwide, mostly in educational environments such as schools and universities. The idea behind the whole discipline of debating is to teach or to perform the approach to a certain topic from different points of view. The side one has to debate on is drawn by tournament organizers, so personal opinions are secondary.

Materials : Notebooks and pens

Goal : The educational goal is to be able to understand the motivation of people who may think otherwise while still respecting their different views. The purpose of debating is to succinctly express yourself in a way that is clear to those around you, using arguments that are persuasive. It aims to help you refine and hone your arguments so they are more acceptable to those listening.

Pedagogical appeal

  • Improved critical thinking skills

  • Pupils acquire better poise, speech delivery, and public speaking skills

  • Increased student retention of information learned

  • Improved listening note-taking skills and increased self-confidence

  • Enhanced teamwork skills and collaboration

  • More confidence to stand up for the truth when a discussion is promoting falsehoods or inaccuracies

  • Learning better ways to graciously state one’s point with gentleness

  • Helping students identify holes in their theories and concocting more balanced arguments

  • Helping students better structure their thoughts

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 Instructions box – Debates

  1. Each team will discuss two topics. One team has the affirmative role (defends “pros” of the topic) and the other negative role (defends “cons” of the topic).

  2. All teams will have at least two weeks to prepare for the topic(s) they will discuss.

Rules

  1. The two teams will discuss with each other and which role (affirmative, negative) each of them will have.

  2. Before the opening of the debate both teams will have 5 minutes to get ready for the debate. They can write some notes and questions on a piece of paper and use them during the debate. Using a dictionary during the debate is not permitted

  3. Before each debate the team will choose one speaker who will present his/her ideas and opinions of the topic. The speakers should change for each debate (pros/cons).

  4. The “affirmative” team will start discussion with their speaker. The speaker´s speech should be about 7 minutes long.

  5. The “negative” team will ask questions and the “affirmative” team answers them. All members of both teams should involve into asking and answering questions. Asking and answering questions should take 3 minutes.

  6. The speaker of the “negative” team will present his/her ideas and opinions. Their speech should be about 7 minutes long.

  7. The “affirmative” team will ask questions and the “negative” team answers them. All members should involve into asking and answering questions. Asking and answering questions should take 3 minutes.

  8. The debate ends after 20 minutes.

Point System:

Each team will get points for:

  1. Relevance - speaking to the topic, using strong and persuasive arguments;

  2. Promptness - quick responses to all questions;

  3. Fluency - speaking readily without pauses;

  4. Engaging of all members in the debate;

  5. Correct grammatical structures;

  6. Vocabulary - its richness and width;

  7. Pronunciation.

MORE ABOUT DEBATES:

https://www.schoolsdebate.de/pdf/DSGIntroductionToDebating.pdf

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Activity 7 - I noticed, I suggested.jpg

For whom : 14+

Duration : 15 till 30 minutes

No. of participants : 3 - 15 participants

Place : Indoor, with a possibility to play outdoor too

Characteristic : Developing skills for a clear and concise for generalization. Give and receive feedback about activity, lesson or day

Materials : Papers and pens (If they would like to write them down)

Goal : Inspiring growth; Giving people purpose; improving teenager’s engagement and of course nurturing and solidifying relationships.  Also, development of valuable experience which helps to transform pupil’s communication, among different environments and in day-to-day situations.

Pedagogical appeal : Giving and receiving constructive feedback is a part of good communication in healthcare. The following guidelines for giving and receiving feedback in the workplace are helpful for building trust, contributing to healthy workplace cultures, and honouring privacy.

General Guidelines for Giving Feedback :

Kind and helpful Check in with your own intentions around offering feedback. Helping someone grow and learn is much different than a put-down.  Accept some discomfort in the process.

Check to see if feedback is wantedKeep in mind that timing and location are crucial. "I have some feedback for you. Are you open hearing it?" (If no, respect the person's decision). If you are in a leadership position and giving feedback that you must give, don’t offer an option. If there is room for choice around time and place, it can be helpful to honour those.

Look for opportunities to include ownershipKeep in mind that your feedback is based on your observation and to some extent what it means to you. Notice the difference.

Be specific & don't judge or exaggerateDescribe what you want to feed back without using words that indicate judgment. Don't use labels and don't exaggerate. Avoid loaded expressions such as "never" or "always."

Focus on your concern for the person and behaviors that can be changed : Monitor your attachment to "being right" or for the person changing in ways that you think they should.

Perception check : Ask question to see if your message has been accurately heard, remembering that the message sent is not always the message received. You may need to present the feedback differently.

Ask questions : In addition to sharing your thoughts, ask the person their opinions. Allow the receiver to suggest changes in behaviour before offering options.

General Guidelines for Receiving Feedback :

Breathe : Remember you are a worthy person, separate from your actions and behaviours. Feedback is from the giver’s perspective and you can choose what to take in.

Consider your choices : Is it a good or at least reasonable time and place for feedback? Is there a way to schedule a dialogue soon, but allows you to honour any needs you have around time, vulnerability, place or other issues?

Listen carefully & try to drop your defensiveness : Paraphrase the information you are receiving to make sure you understand the information. Validate them and ask questions for clarity.

Acknowledge the feedback : Let the person know you have heard them and that you will consider their feedback.

Take time to sort out what you have heard : Give yourself time and space to assimilate and evaluate the information. Remember that it's not necessary to agree or disagree with the feedback. It is simply information. Let go of the need to justify, defend, or explain your actions. Don't over-internalize the feedback (assume it is all true).

Be honest with yourself : Use feedback as an opportunity to create greater awareness. Explore any feelings created by the feedback.  Accept some discomfort in the process.

Give yourself credit : Receiving feedback is hard work.

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 Instructions box – I noticed,I suggested

 
Activity 8 -.jpg

Pupils sit in a circle. In the middle of circle, on the ground there is a sheet of paper with the word "I noticed". One by one pupils should say, what they noticed carrying out activities. The notice could be about yourself or others in the group.

For example, I noticed that I found it difficult to concentrate “or” I notice that we are so friendly us a group.

After all the pupils’ speeches, the last opinions said teachers (leader). After that, the leader, on the ground put other sheet of paper with the word “I suggest”. Again, one by one pupils should say, what they suggest carrying out activities.

For example, I suggest these kinds of activities to do once a week “or” etc.

For whom : 8+

Duration : 10 minutes

No. of participants : 10 - 25 participants

Place : Indoor and Outdoor

Characteristic : Funny and interactive

Materials : A long chain / rope / fabric tape or a ground line

Goal : To help the participants to feel comfortable with other people inside the group and get to know more about each other. In additional, to help the group work as a team.

 Instructions box – Activity of the rope/line

All participants stand in a line. The task of this activity is that they have to line up in alphabetical order of their first name without any space between them. They are not allowed to talk to each other.

They can also line up in: – The facilitator could create other ones:

  • Age order (the oldest one in the beginning and the youngest one in the end)

  • Years of experience in work/non-formal education/trainings

  • The size of the animal they like

  • Countries visited, number of shoes, places lived and so on …

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Activity 9 - Cross the minefield.jpg

For whom : 10+

Duration : 20 - 30 minutes

No. of participants : 8+ participants

Place : Indoor or outdoor

Characteristic : Team working; Team building; Strategically thinking

Materials : A normal tape so you can draw the minefield on the ground

Goal : Find a strategy to pass the minefield, work in a team! Otherwise, you will fail to complete it!

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 Instructions box – Cross the minefield

  • Draw the minefield in the ground and don’t tell the group where are the mines;

  • Give them 5min to think for a strategy how to pass the field;

  • Talking is not allowed after the activity starts;

  • After each participants mistake, when a participant steps on the mine the group needs to start from beginning;

  • Activity ends after all team members pass the field without stepping in mines.

 Tips for facilitator/Trainer

This white board should be drawn on ground (you can use tape, rope or even a marker to draw the board)

Example how can a minefield looks like! This board only facilitator has it! He/she can have it in a paper and check if the participants make any mistake!

  • The black fields are the places where participants have to step; there are no mines on those squares. All white squares all with mines and if participant step on it they start all over from beginning;

  • Facilitator checks carefully every participant and make sure they don’t make mistakes;

  • Group have to come up with a solution to remember the way and find a way to tell the others without talking.

Values:

  • Team working as a way of solving the tasks;

  • Building trust and trusting the team while completing a task;

  • Increasing the communication and conversation among all participants;

  • Even in silent, the tasks can be solved!

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