Communication is Key

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Through hands-on activities, students will distinguish how social and work situations require both verbal and non-verbal means of communication.

Summary

  • Students will recognize that people receive information differently
  • Students will be able to identify verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Students will be able to distinguish how social and work situations require both verbal and non-verbal means of communication

Setting the Stage

Students need to be equipped with the necessary skills that will lead them to successful employment and work towards getting their dream job. As such, students need to be able communicate their thoughts and needs efficiently to co-workers and employers on a daily basis.

Students must be able to take an informed look at themselves based on what employers need. Students must be able to view themselves critically and be able to adjust their communication skills to fit their job performance. Students need to understand the impacts of being able to clearly communicate their vision, ideas or feelings in the workforce.

Materials & Preparation

  • Single sheet of white or coloured paper (1 per student)
  • Notebooks and pens
  • Whiteboard or chart paper & markers (for teacher, if desired)
  • Communication is Key Activities Reproducible (1 per small group) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Communication is Key Exit Slip Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF] Note: the page can be cut in half and to make two copies.

What To Do

  • Prior to engaging in this activity, students should be familiar with the concept of “employability skills” as those skills that help you get a job and then progress in your job.
  • To begin this lesson, teachers could lead a class discussion about the Employability Skills employers look for in job applicants. Students could be asked to list the skills that they think employers will want of them. This could be done individually, in small groups, or as a whole class discussion. 
  • Teachers could use the following chart to supplement the list of skills developed by the students. Teachers could quickly review each skill on the chart by asking students to provide an example of a behaviour that demonstrates each skill. 
Teamwork Professionalism Interpersonal Communication Work Ethic: Integrity, Responsibility, Accountability Being Adaptable & Flexible
Problem Solving & Critical Thinking Skills Time Management Enthusiasm & Attitude Ability to Accept & Use Constructive Criticism and Feedback Ability to Work in Diverse Environments
  • Teachers could then have the class brainstorm definitions of verbal and non-verbal communication. Students should be encouraged to come up with examples of non-verbal communication that create positive interactions and those which could lead to negative feelings or impressions by the viewer.
  • Teachers could engage students in the following activities. 
    • Option A: Tear Me Up
    • This activation activity demonstrates the importance of clear language when giving instructions. In this activity, students will experience how people may have different interpretations of the same directions given to a group. At the end of the activity, students will understand that there are different learners in every workplace and that instructions must be communicated in a precise manner. This activity focuses on the importance of VERBAL CUEs which are critical in the functioning of most workplace.
    • Provide each student with a piece of paper and a copy of the instructions for the Tear Me Up activity on the Communication is Key Activities Reproducible. 
    • Read out the following set of instructions. Note. There should be no talking during the activity.
      • Step 1: Everyone, will close their eyes when they do this activity 
      • Step 2: Once you have your eyes closed you will then fold the sheet of paper in half
      • Step 3: Next, everyone will tear off the upper LEFT hand corner of the paper
      • Step 4: Next, everyone will fold the paper in half once more
      • Step 5: Next, everyone will tear off the upper RIGHT hand corner of the paper
      • Step 6: Now open your eyes and unfold your paper
      • Step 7: Turn to a person nearby to see what their paper looks like
      • As a class discuss the follow-up questions on the reproducible.
    • Option B: Change Up
    • In this activity, students will come to understand how people interpret information and show different interpretations of Verbal and Non-verbal gestures or cues given in a group or to another person. At the end of this activity, students will understand that people understand and interpret gestures differently in the workplace or within groups. This activity focuses on the importance of both VERBAL and NON-VERBAL CUEs. It will show students how these cues are used with their friends, parents, co-workers and employers in the workplace.
      • Provide each small group of students with a copy of the instructions for the Change Up activity on the Communication is Key Activities Reproducible. 
      • Have students follow the instructions on the page.
      • When they are finished, the groups could share and discuss their findings with each other then in front of the classroom. They could also role play/act out how they would handle each of the communication scenarios. 
      • As time allows, students can demonstrate the differences in communicating the same message with different audiences. Students should demonstrate at least two scenarios, for example, of saying hello to two different audiences and then elaborate on which verbal and non-verbal cues were different between the two scenarios. Ask students why they chose to implement these differences. Do some cues seem more appropriate in some scenarios than others? Why? What happens if we use the wrong cues for the wrong audience(s)?
  • To conclude the lesson, students could complete the Communication is Key Exit Slip reproducible.

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contributions of Maria Nickel, École Stonewall Centennial School, Manitoba Interlake School Division in the development of this lesson.

Details

Assessment

  • Teachers could review the Exit Slips and provide feedback as warranted. 
  • Teachers could make anecdotal notes as students discuss the following questions: 
    • Do some cues seem more suitable in some situations than others? Why? 
    • What can happen if we use the wrong cues for the wrong situation or person?

Assessment

  • Teachers could review the Exit Slips and provide feedback as warranted. 
  • Teachers could make anecdotal notes as students discuss the following questions: 
    • Do some cues seem more suitable in some situations than others? Why? 
    • What can happen if we use the wrong cues for the wrong situation or person?

Downloads

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