Communication communicate with them. There are both good listening

Communication Skills are essential skills for people of all ages to
learn. Being able to communicate with others is something we use throughout our
lives both on a professional and personal level. I chose this aspect of the
SPHE curriculum to teach to my first year SPHE class as I feel this is the
perfect time to introduce and develop communication skills that will benefit
them throughout their school years and in later life as adults.

There are many aspects of communicating that are relevant to students in
their everyday lives. Moving from Primary to Secondary school is a big change
for students and they face many challenges along the way. One way we can help
students with the transition is by teaching them to communicate with people
such as their teachers, friends, and other students. Learning these skills as a
young person is essential to their development and will encourage them to grow
up and be confident young men and women.

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By teaching communication skills in SPHE class we show students how to
listen properly, how to express themselves and deal with how others communicate
with them. There are both good listening skills and poor listening skills and we
see them every day in modern society which makes it important for young
adolescents to be aware of both. There are different ways of communicating and
teaching this to students at a young age can potentially help them to solve disagreements
in the future. Body language and learning to express themselves is a very important
subject in modern times and is particularly important with the rate of suicides
and bullying on the rise among young people. Students need to understand they
can speak to an adult, a parent, a teacher or a friend and ask for help. This
is why I chose communication skills out of the ten curriculum modules, as teaching this to first years will help
them during their school years and also in later life as an adult. 

 

The first step I
took before choosing this module was to look up the curriculum. I researched
the modules and found that the different communication and listening skills
would be important to teach to young students. Communication is an important
skill and if you learn how to communicate properly and listen when you need to
listen, this can be carried with someone throughout their life and help to
solve disagreements that may arise.

 

‘Much marital
conflict comes from not having communication or problem solving   skills. Everyone needs to learn these skills’
(Koocher G, Greca A, 2010, p.77)

 

The curriculum had some basic
guidelines and learning outcomes for the module but it was limited. I realised
I had to do a lot more research to come up with two good lesson plans, so I
decided that it would be beneficial to go to the SPHE teacher in the school
where I am doing my school placement. I went and spoke to her and asked some
questions regarding the specific textbook the students follow and the main
resources the teachers use to plan and teach lessons. I gathered some
information and found where I could get a hold of the book they use along with
a few other resources that would be beneficial for teaching first years. I bought
the book for first year SPHE which is called “Health Lifestyles” by Catherine
Deegan and Edel O’Brien. It had all the modules and a modular course overview,
so the teacher can tick what is covered as each module is completed. I opened
the communication skills chapter and gathered some tips on how to create the
lesson plan. In the listening chapter there were some things such as a role
play for the students to act out in pairs. I thought this would be a good idea
as it’s an activity and the students would enjoy this as well as learning more
about listening skills.

‘Role-playing
allows students to take on roles, provide feedback to one another, and practice
new skills. Role-playing enables students to simulate a wide range of school,
community, and workplace interactions. For students with intellectual
disabilities, role- playing can provide an opportunity to practice appropriate
small talk, a social skill that is key to acceptance in the classroom’ (Pierangelo
R, Giuliani G, 2008, p.49)

 

I also felt that because they were
first years, it may help them to get to know each other and make some friends. I
got some useful ideas from this book and got some inspiration to include in my
lesson plans, for example, explaining the different types of listening skills
such as good and poor listening skills. It was very helpful to gather the structure
of the lesson plans and to come up with ideas of what exactly to teach and how
I would teach it.

 

I decided to do
the second lesson plan on the different types of communication and I used the
book to gather more ideas on how I could teach passive, aggressive and
assertive communication to the students. Again, in the book there were
individual activities, a class activity, a group activity and a pair activity.
There were also questions that I could ask the students such as, ‘what is
assertive communication’, ‘do you think assertive communication is always
appropriate? Why? /why not?’ I thought questions like this would make the class
interesting and help to create a discussion which is a good way of getting the
whole class to communicate.

 

Although this book
was one of the main resources used to create the lesson plans, online resources
such as webwise.ie, and SPHE.ie were used as well as some books and readings that
explain the importance of communication in more detail. Cognitive development
and the development of communication skills is another area I researched but I
did not want to go into cognitive behaviour for the SPHE classes in first year
as I thought it might be too complex. I researched the different types of
listening skills and the three main styles of communication so I could include
these in my second lesson plan. I found this interesting and was learning all
the time as I was going over the different readings. My main reason for
researching this topic was to come up with two good lesson plans but I also learned
as I was going along which was beneficial for me as a student teacher.

 

Subject
knowledge is something that is improving a lot for me during my time as a PME
student and I feel my confidence is growing all the time. On the other hand, I discovered
that I was not fully aware of the three main types of communication. It was
interesting to find out the impact different types of communication can have on
individuals. Passive communicators will often fail to express their feelings
and as a result they often feel anxious because life seems out of their control.
They often feel depressed because they feel stuck and hopeless, and often feel
confused because they ignore their own feelings.

Aggressive communicators become
alienated from others and alienate others. They generate fear and hatred in
others, and always blame others instead of owning their issues.

Through researching this topic, I learned
that assertive communication can be the best form of communication in a lot of
cases. Assertive communicators always assert themselves and feel connected to
others and in control of their lives. They can mature because they address
issues and problems as they arise creating a respectful environment for others
to grow and mature. This was interesting and I think all young students should
be aware of this as it will help them in their future lives.

 

‘Assertive
communication can help a person deal with issues with co-workers, family, or
friends. It is particularly helpful for people who have difficulty refusing’ (Videbeck
S. 2013, p.111)

 

 

Attending the
lectures in college is always beneficial for learning. The SPHE lectures are very
useful and interesting, as they enabled me to gather certain skills and
knowledge which are required when teaching an SPHE class. Specific techniques
such as meditation is an important skill I have learned through SPHE and it is something
I have never tried before. Sometimes after a very stressful day it is important
to give yourself a couple of minutes to relax your mind and body. This is
something I will definitely bring into my SPHE classes as I now realise it is
both beneficial and important. Only for these SPHE lectures I would not realise
the importance as I probably wouldn’t have ever tried it myself. The lectures are
very helpful for ideas like having different structures to the class room, getting
the students to sit in a circle rather than a typical classroom seating plan
and learning about different activities that can be used for teaching different
lessons. These are all things I will bring into my lesson planning and future
teaching which will help me to become a better teacher.