Most, if not all, of us have not only spent innumerable hours, but also many years in the context of a classroom. From four to five-years-old in Kindergarten to seventeen to eighteen-years-old graduating from high school, and for some that carry on in pursuit of undergraduate and graduate degrees, the vast majority of our growth and development years is spent in a classroom, influenced by many teachers. For some of us this time in class was a pleasurable experience. But for some of us this was an experience that we could not wait to have completed. How we experienced this time in our lives was and is dependent upon any number of things. Maybe the teacher was not so good, in your opinion, or maybe he or she was phenomenal. Maybe you struggled with grasping class content, or maybe it came to you easily. Maybe it was interpersonal relationships that where either good or bad. Nonetheless, our experiences with school are as varied as we are as people. However, I believe that it is safe to say that one thing we can all agree on is this: when it comes to the classroom, and our overall schooling experience, communication is key.
We know this in our lives as adults how we communicate impacts how we are understood and relate to others. We must be ever mindful of the varied ways, or techniques, that we employ when we speak with others. For instance, we must be aware of the speed and tone with which we speak. How we handle this will impact if people are willing to listen to us. We know this experientially from the classroom. There were some teachers that would simply drone-on, and you couldn’t wait to get out because of how bored you were. But there were also those teachers who would vary in their speed and tone, and you could not help but be drawn in to whatever he or she was teaching you.
We also recognize that there were also non-verbal means of communication that greatly impacted how we would respond to our classes. For instance, we may have had those teachers that always seemed excited to have his or her students in the classroom, and such excitement would be something that we would feed off to excel in that class. But there were also those teachers that made you wonder why they even got in to teaching in the first place because they never seemed thankful to be there.
And as we have gotten older we have run into new forms of communication that we could only have imagined when we were in Kindergarten. Things like social media, smart phones, video conferencing, etc. have expanded our ability to communicate with one another. Imagine if when we were kids we could have had something like ClassDojo to connect with our teachers. With the technology that we have today we are able to see what our children are doing in the classroom, their projects, their peer groups, their experiences. How great would it have been if our moms and dads could have seen the excitement on our faces when we won a classroom competition. With today’s technology we can communicate with our teachers in ways that we never could have in years gone by.
Our classroom and school experiences are a big part of the men and women we are today. Some of our experiences have been good, but others have been not so good. But what we do know is that each of those experiences have been impacted by the level and quality of communication that we were engaged in during those times of development.