Healthy communication is vital to thriving workplace communities, and it’s essential for effective collaborative classrooms as well. Knowing when and how to express yourself, recognizing nonverbal cues, and being able to discern what's important when someone speaks can be key factors in building interpersonal relationships. By practicing communication skills, students will get better at asking for help and expressing what they need, and over time they will develop the skills and confidence to tell you more clearly what they've learned in class.
In STEM fields, empathetic communication is a fundamental ingredient for success. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a programmer, you must be able to take highly technical knowledge and describe it in a clear and simple way for others. If students learn to express ideas in a persuasive way and respond gracefully to reactions to their opinions, they’ll be able to promote innovation and social change through fields like bioengineering or video game design. You may not be able to see the outcomes of bolstering students' communication right away, but the transfer to real-world situations will one day be undeniable.
Check out these picks to improve verbal and nonverbal communication in the STEM classroom.
PenPal Schools is a global, online learning community where students can connect with others to collaborate on online projects. Students practice thinking critically about the world and working together as a team, while learning to communicate with someone from an unfamiliar background. Although it’s set up for many subjects, and there are some STEM projects already (like Protecting the Planet), you can create your own project related to any subject you wish -- whether it be calculus or coding.