It’s always at the end of the school year that I spend a lot of time reflecting on my own communication skills as a leader. There is a lot of information to disseminate to teachers and everyone is tired so there are gaps in understanding. This year, the team and I have used a combination of our instructional website, smores, youtube videos, remind 101, and the traditional email and phone calls and it leaves me wondering what worked, what didn’t, where we need to streamline and what needs to change.
Then taking it deeper I wonder if I struggle this much, what’s communication like in the classroom and how can we best help our team of teachers to develop deeper more meaningful communication. All of us, including students, are inundated with various communication streams on a minute by minute basis and we need to consider how to manage and analyze this communication for effective life management.
I was privileged enough to have met Lisa Johnson, as she is a fellow Texas educator. Not long after we met, she sent me an advanced copy of her first book and as I read it I knew I needed to connect more with her, allowing our PLN to learn from her and soak up all the tips that she had for better educational practices that enhance communication. Lisa graciously hosted #K12ArtChat in April and has agreed to follow up the chat by doing a quick interview with us.
Lisa, thank you so much for spending a little more time sharing with us and sharing your knowledge with our community.
One statement from your book that stood out was “If we are truly teaching learners and preparing them for a future not yet written, then we need to consider the need for all students to receive a viable education that not includes core content but also purposeful integration of the 4 Cs ( critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) .” Our education system is in the midst of a transformational time, in which educators are searching for innovative methods to educate students. We as educators should also work to practice the 4 Cs with our community and colleagues in order to enhance our classrooms, strengthen our teaching and model for our students.
What suggestions do you have for educators to provide and model purposeful integration of the 4 Cs?
Well, I could write 194 pages on that… but seriously. ;) The avenue I took was focusing on communication and threading the other 3 Cs through it. For example, once students know how to effectively communicate in a group and in written communication, then they can start collaborating and creating things together. And once they are aware of how their online communication and preferences impact others and are viewed by others, they are more apt to use tools like social media and curation effectively and think critically about what they post and create online. I have also compiled a quick reference of a few of the ideas and strategies within the book into an infographic… “21 Communication Skills Every HS student should have before College and Career.” I also don’t want to leave out social emotional learning which is clearly a big buzzword right now as well. But honestly, I think if you are focusing on communication, than self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills will ultimately follow.