Effective Communication in Primary Schools

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Concept Paper
Strategic Model for Effective Communication in Primary Schools With Focus on the merger between Erdiston & Carrington Schools

Colleen J. Inniss-Gittens
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill
PSYC 2016: Communication Psychology


It is critical to consider the efficiency of design, layout and staffing as it relates to successful communication in schools from a psychological perspective. If the design or layout of the building is not conducive to learning, then the objective of having the school would not have been met. Similarly, if the staff is not trained in the effective use of communication, especially nonverbal communication, then the purpose for which the building is being constructed will be lost. It is imperative that the importance of areas which contribute to effective learning such as class layout, design and colour, staff competence and discipline be understood, so that this project achieves its overall objectives.

As Erdiston and Carrington Primary schools prepare to merge in 2009 and become one school, there are several factors which must be considered, if this new school is to be a productive learning institution. To provide education is not just to provide a space in which students learn, it is also to provide the right environment and resources to facilitate learning.

The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to provide the Ministry of Education with the information necessary for them to make sound decisions in a. Contracting the building to ensure that the design, layout and use of colour is conducive to learning and

b. Selecting and providing teachers and other relevant human resources with the knowledge and understanding of nonverbal communication, use of the new layout, positive discipline and overall development of the students.

Our objective as Communication Psychologists, is to enable Government to provide a strong and practical foundation for these students by removing the barriers to effective interaction.

While this document does not aim to provide a background on Educational Psychology, it does aim to give its reader a clear understanding of the impact of non-verbal communication in a learning environment and its relevance to the objectives of the proposal. There are several different learning strategies which, if applied correctly, can be very effective in the classroom. However, correctly, is the operative word; most good strategies require an environment which will allow successful communication to take place. Although generally people interpret communication to mean verbal forms of expression, for learning to take place successfully, we must consider non-verbal communication as well.

Verbal communication takes place easily and with relative control over what is said, read or even sung. However, this type of communication accounts for only 7% of all forms of communication. (Galloway, C. 1972). It stands to reason then, that this form of communication does not contribute to the learning process as significantly as we traditionally believed. On the other hand, the non-verbal form of communication represents 55% of the communication process and requires more effort to control, given the numerous ways in which it is delivered. (Mehrabian, A. 1968). It is imperative that all the stakeholders in the establishment of the new school understand that the success of this type of interaction between student and teacher is influenced by both the physical design of the classrooms and other learning areas.

The theory of Proxemics shows how intimate, personal and social distance varies according to culture. In a Barbadian school setting, one should be mindful of the types of spaces that are created. The classrooms should be spacious so that pupils can interact with one another in their informal space. This comprises the personal space around the body that travels around with a person...
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