Mrs. N. Mahalakshmi D.T.Ed., M.A., M.Ed., NET., PGDACE.
Department of Education
English is being taught as a second language in our Indian schools. As it is our national language, much importance is given to this language in our education system. The language teachers are expected to be more competent to develop the basic skills of the language so as to develop the communicative competence of the learners. Now-a-days, soft skills are considered as another important aspect of the teachers for efficient teaching. Regarding the soft skills, communication skill is the most important one that is needed by the language teachers to optimize the learning experience of the students. This paper tries to reveal the need of Effective Communication Skill as one of the important soft skill for the language teachers.
The concept of soft skills
Soft skills can be said to incorporate all aspects of generic skills that include the cognitive elements associated with non-academic skills. Soft skills are identified to be the most critical skills in the current global education and the era of technology. The reorientation of education for sustainability also relates the importance of these soft skills. Soft skills in Education
Vast research and expert opinions have been sought in the effort to determine the specific soft skills to be implemented and used in higher institutions of learning. Based on the research findings obtained, seven soft skills have been identified and chosen to be implemented in higher education as: * Communicative skills
* Thinking skills and problem solving skills
* Team work force
* Life-long learning and information management
* Entrepreneur skill
* Ethics, moral and professionalism and
* Leadership skill
The important soft skill needed for the language teacher
Communication is as important aspect of language teaching. Effective communication skills are required for effective language teaching. Teachers of English are expected to have good command over the language and possess excellent communication skills. Communication skills include - using the target language effectively, the way of speaking, body language and facial expressions, pitch and tone of voice and interpersonal skills. It is possible that they have some presuppositions about communication and communication skills which are considered to be one major factor in becoming an effective teacher. According to Dettmer, Thurston, and Dyck (1996), West and Cannon (1988), and Carl Rogers (1962) communication is among the most important skills for educators to possess. The role of communication is emphasized also by Lunenburg & Ornstein (1996, p. 176) as: “Communication is the lifeblood of the school; it is a process that links the individual, the group, and the organization". A gap in meaning between the intended and the received message can cause problems in the outcome of even the best teaching decision. Poor listening skills, ambiguous use of verbal and nonverbal language, poor semantics, and differing values are all items that can distort a message. To become effective communicators, educators must be aware of these potential problems and consciously work to eliminate them from their classroom interactions. They must also become knowledgeable about the importance of language in the learning process which gives a vital role to language teachers. Body language of the teacher
In the communication skill, the body language and the facial expression of the teacher is of much importance which arrests students’ participation. The ‘presence’ that a teacher has in the classroom is crucial in determining ‘how much’ learning takes place and ‘how well’ learning takes place. A tension free...