2 minute read

Good Communication Skills? Apply here.

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By Peggy Arman, The Dorris-Eaton School

From high tech to conventional occupations, it’s not surprising that being an effective communicator is consistently one of the top three skills employers seek in a candidate. Being able to listen to others, articulate thoughts, and express ideas in writing are invaluable skills which are not developed overnight. Communication literacy is formed early and refined over time.

Self-expression blossoms when toddlers begin to acquire language and builds as they expand their vocabulary. When children possess the words that best describe their emotions and ideas, others can more easily understand them. Their capacity to communicate facilitates making friends and paves the way for harmonious play. Enroll your three- and four-year-old in a preschool that focuses on vocabulary development to help children communicate. The preschool sandbox is the work place group project.

Follow quality preschool education with a K-5 language arts program that sets the stage for successful interpersonal interactions, delivers a solid writing curriculum, and provides ample opportunity to take center stage. Kindergarteners can learn to identify the audience, choose words carefully, and look peers in the eye to gauge whether the message is being well-received. Elementary school is the perfect time to teach children to stand up straight, make eye contact, and speak with a loud, confident voice. Schools with strong language arts programs teach students to determine if a source is credible and how to logically sequence information. Utilizing an interesting opener, meaningful repetition, and salient data and examples are refined as students mature and develop their writing ability.

Junior high is when students can really find their voices and are able to digest constructive criticism to further explore and articulate their ideas. Assist your children by selecting a school with specific times set aside to teach grammar, writing, and literature; quality instruction in each subject enables students to learn and practice expressing themselves clearly and confidently. Interdisciplinary units require students to transfer skills learned in one class to other classes. This creates multiple opportunities to practice and refine research, writing, and speaking skills. Look for schools with active debate teams and school-wide speech contests. Students have incentive to “step-up their game” when competition is involved. Listening to an opponent’s argument, reading their nonverbal communication, evaluating their stated facts, and finding a counter point all become “real” rather than academic. Students begin to view listening, speaking and writing expertise as important and powerful tools.

Not everyone wants to do battle in a debate arena or is destined to be a public speaker. The goal is to possess the confidence and skill to articulate thoughts or ideas in any venue. Being an effective communicator can open doors and may be the skill that clinches that spot in a top-tier university.

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