Reflection Eight

Inter and Intra-personal Communication Skills

Develop effective links

Being able to get along with both staff and students in a professional yet friendly manner is essential to teaching. If there is good communication between staff, students, families and the community then the result is a more effective education and teaching system for all.

My Intrapersonal Skills

When it comes to my own intrapersonal skills, I feel that my existing strength lies in the fact that I’m a very orderly person and like to have a system for everything. I like to take things and enhance or organize them so that they are more effective and more streamlined. I analyze the existing systems and see what works and what could do with improvement. Examples of this in the past have been when I was teaching English in Japan and I was given a jumble of half planned English lessons. When I looked at them they made no sense and the students seemed to not enjoy the lessons much. I revised all of the lessons throughout the year and made it so that the lessons seemed to connect much better and the students had more opportunity to revise and use the language (eg one lesson I would play games using clothing vocabulary and teach set phrases, then the next lesson I would bring newspaper, tape and sparkly things and get the students to create a uniform and do a “fashion show” with live commentary about the clothing). Another example was when I was working as the arts coordinator at the local college and at the end of the year the social club was at a loss as to what to do for the end of year Christmas function and the wanted a change from previous years events so I volunteered to organize it and the teachers really enjoyed the different type of function that I organized.

Improving Interpersonal Skills

I would like to improve my interpersonal skills and get better at conflict resolution. I find that I’m not the best at putting my thoughts forward when I feel that something is not right. I think that being able to deal with things in a matter of fact way will also be dependent on how the school behavior management strategy is implemented. If there is a solid staff backing for teachers, the more confident I will feel in making decisions that have the most beneficial outcome for all. The best ways to deal with conflict resolution is to look at what kind of atmosphere is being promoted, see if those involved are dealing with the same conflict, focus on specifics in the conflict, and question the parties involved (Weeks D, 1994). As with the unit on behaviour management it is best to deal with conflict in a positive way, focusing on long term, solution-orientated resolution. Another extremely useful interpersonal skill is using assertive communication with classes, staff and parents when there are conflicts that arise. Using the “I” way of communicating is my more effective than using “you” messages. The ”I” way of communicating states clearly how you are feeling, what the exact issue is, doesn’t put the other person down and opens pathways for discussion (Bolstad R, 2004). If the teacher can demonstrate this way of dealing with conflict and encourage those around them to also do the same then the outcome and conflict resolution in the class will have a much more positive effect.

Important Skills for Educators

Having great intra and interpersonal skills is important for teachers as every single day at school is different and there will always be a wide variety of issues to deal with. Not only does the teacher have to deliver the curriculum in an effective and exciting manner they (along with the school) also have to educate the students about their own intrapersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are used in the subject matter and intrapersonal skills are all about how students conduct themselves and deal with questions that arise in the subject and also questions that arise in the social niche of the class/school. Sometimes school can feel like a confusing and stressful place but as teachers we are trusted to make good decisions and to take responsibility and we also need to listen to everyone with respect (McGee C, Fraser D, 2012). Part of teaching is building good rapport with everyone and making the classroom feel like a safe place for students to take risks and try new things (McGee C, Fraser D, 2012).

Making good connections between home and school is also of great importance as students can achieve their full potential if their education is a collaborative effort between their families and their school and educators work hard to make that connection. This requires both intra and interpersonal skills from the educator as they need to get to know their students and their families and gauge when it is appropriate to impart information and when it is not.

References

Bolstad, R. (2004). Meeting your needs along with the needs of others. In Transforming Communication (2nd edition),(p.159). New Zealand: Pearson Education.
McGee C, Fraser D. (2012). The Professional Practice of Teaching (4th Edition).(pp.250,258) Cengage Learning.
Weeks, D. (1994). Handling frequent problem areas. In The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution, (pp.247-248). New York: Tarsher Putman.