Cultures provide people with ways of thinking, seeing, hearing and interpreting the world. Even if we all speak the same words they can mean totally different things based on a person’s culture. When a person must translate for understanding and to communicate effectively the potential for misunderstandings increases. Understanding behavioral and emotional constraints can also assist in the communication process. For example, teaching in a Title 1 school where the student population is mostly free and reduced lunches a teacher must remember that most communication must be basic and to the point. We cannot “speak over” the parent’s head or misunderstandings are a definite occurrence. The use of appropriate spoken and written grammar is essential for a teacher so as we don’t offend some parents by making them appear or feel inferior or as if they are incapable or “beneath” us. Spoken and written grammar also allows the teacher to expand a student’s written and spoken vocabulary. Allowing parents and students to feel comfortable to question when they might misunderstand also allows them a greater understanding of individual expectations, educational expectations, and allows a “comfort zone” to understand everything more clearly. When teachers understand behavior and emotional constraints tensions ease, communication becomes clearer and everyone is more satisfied. When my arms are folded my students know that I am serious and mean business. I have also sat in meetings where I have folded my arms and the parents have assumed that I am upset with their child. Oral and written communications have had to become more basic and not include words that could lead to a misunderstanding. As a teacher, I need to be more aware of my behavioral constraints so that they aren’t interpreted in one way or another to prevent misunderstanding.
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