We All Started Out As Terrible Communicators…
When my boy Jimmer was born last year, he possessed only one tool for communicating all his wants and needs – crying.
Now, he’s one-year-old and knows three words (ba, ba ba and da da) and two sign-language symbols (all done and please).
I know that this process is totally normal, but it’s important to realize we all started out as really poor communicators and many of us still are! As children, we were trained fairly well at receiving and following directions from our parents, teachers…pretty much any adult, but we almost never were given opportunities to develop good communication skills. As parents, we often make the same mistake.
Nearly all “communication skill” development in school occurs through writing with very little thought to oral communication. And even in written communication, specificity, clarity and organization are rarely emphasized, rather it’s all about word count and flowery language.
It’s About Intentional, Clear And Specific Communication
The ability to communicate clearly, intentionally, and specifically is a life-skill – and from where we all started as infants, it’s a skill we all have room to improve. One could argue that all the problems in the world – especially the made up problems in TV shows – could all be solved if all the parties involved were better communicators. Imagine what would happen if the all spoke with clarity, specificity and with intention. What a different world!
Our children need opportunities in their lives to grow this ability to communicate and it’s my belief that through the Discovery Method, students have that opportunity and can master the skill of clear, specific and intentional communication.
Think about it, at every stage of Discovery, we ask our kids to teach us how they are thinking through their problems and every hypothesis creation is about creating concise and clear steps. For example, to add two two-digit numbers like 34 + 76:
- Round the largest number to the nearest ten.
- Then add the tens of the smaller number to this answer from step 1.
- Then add the singles of the smaller number to the answer from step 2.
- If you rounded up in step one, then take away the amount you rounded up in step 1 from the answer in step 3
- If you rounded down in step one, then add the amount you rounded down in step 1 from the answer in step 3..
Super clear right? It really is beautiful. It is exactly what is happening in this student’s brain when adding and they were able to communicate that to us weirdos who probably think about 34 + 76 in a totally different way!
So How Do I Grow My Student’s Ability To Communicate???
Now, being a good communicator doesn’t necessarily come easily to every kid. They need plenty of practice, good practice. My husband just created this awesome activity that is super fun and silly and gives that needed practice in communicated clearly and concisely. I’ve attached it below. Definitely try it out!
PS: It works for all ages and abilities…enjoy!