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March's Corner 2010

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Communication is the Key

I was recently asked to sum up education by speaking the first word that came to mind, and responded, “Communication.”  Luckily, I was not asked to elaborate, but in the time since, I have reflected on what I said. In truth, there are many terms I could use to explain education, but I chose communication and so I thought it best to flesh out my meaning in this month’s corner.

The ways in which we communicate throughout the school day are as varied as the students we teach. During engagement with students, we read aloud and lecture, offer encouragement through written and oral assessment, and engage in one-on-one discussions. Contact with parents takes the form of short notes, longer letters, e-mails, phone calls, and at times through parent/teacher conferences. Collaboration with colleagues can happen during productive meetings; where clarification, supportive advice, and an overall focus on the strengths of the faculty are at the heart. Honest and constructive evaluations through mentorships and class visits also serve as a means to strengthen communication between fellow educators. Service and support to the local community and elected officials in the form of advocacy is the best way to increase exposure of your school or program. Contacting the local or state news media during exciting curriculum enrichment and state or national competitions is always a good idea if the goal is to build support for your mission.

In past Teacher’s Corners, I have tried to offer advice on ways to open the line of communication between all parties. For just as the educator must communicate to the students, parents, and colleagues that encompass the larger school community, so too the parent and student and student and teacher need to communicate with each other.

To the right are links to past Teacher’s Corners. You will find it easier to open the crucial lines of dialogue necessary to the success of your profession, and in turn, the success of your school or program.

Education after all, about communication. At least for this month.

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