Within the ever-expanding global workforce

Within the ever-expanding global workforce, interpersonal communication skills are imperative to mutual respect and collaboration. Developing the interpersonal communication skills of active listening, Socratic questioning and constructive feedback are beneficial to a teacher because these skills help develop understanding of current student knowledge, demonstrate respect for students and build rapport with the children in their class. Using active listening in the classroom is beneficial for developing understanding of students’ current knowledge, thoughts and feelings, and shows respect for students’ ideas. The skill of Socratic questioning also helps develop understanding of the current level of knowledge students have and helps to direct and expand their knowledge and thoughts. Constructive feedback is essential to build rapport with students when developing their knowledge and consolidates the correct information students must learn within the curriculum. Therefore, understanding and effectively applying the interpersonal communication skills of active listening, Socratic questioning and constructive feedback will assist primary school teachers in creating a respectful and inclusive classroom.
Employing the interpersonal communication skill of active listening benefits teachers by creating a respectful classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their understanding of topics. Listening is defined as a procedure of receiving, understanding, remembering, evaluating and providing feedback; and can only start once the verbal messages the speaker sends to a listener are received (DeVito, 2011). Active listening is distinguished by the level of engagement the listener has in what the speaker is conveying (Gordon, 2003) and helps teachers to communicate more productively with their students. It also deepens the listener’s understanding of the points the speaker is trying to articulate (Gordon, 2003). A factor that can affect active listening is personal bias (Gordon, 2003). However, to positively contribute to the classroom environment, when listening actively it is important to put this aside so that the speaker’s message can be interpreted in the way the speaker intended (Gordon, 2003). Active listening also requires positive body language such as gesture, appropriate facial expressions and eye contact (Robertson, 2005). When the listener is actively engaged and displaying positive body language, the benefits of active listening during interpersonal communication between teachers and students in the classroom can be observed (Robertson, 2005). Active listening promotes positive relationships and builds mutual respect between the speaker and listener (Gordon, 2003). In the field of education, the need for teachers to be able to actively listen is crucial because it develops a stronger relationship between the teacher and student (Gordon, 2003). It allows the teacher to not only have a more in depth understanding of what the student is trying to articulate, but also allows students to voice their concerns and have them received in the way they intended them to be (Gordon, 2003). Therefore, a teacher that can use the interpersonal communication skill of active listening will have stronger relationships with students and have a better understanding of them and their knowledge.
Using the interpersonal communication skill of Socratic questioning is beneficial to teachers as it challenges student’s current knowledge allowing them to critically think about their current ideas and thoughts. A question, by definition, is a verbal or non-verbal statement that requests a response (Hargie, 2010). They are generally interrogative in nature and communicate a desire for elaboration (Wang, 2006). In comparison, Socratic questioning is used to get more specific information regarding resolving issues, analyse concepts and distinguish correct information from incorrect information (Paul and Elder, 2007). Socratic questioning does not provide information directly, rather aims to provoke individual thought from the person themselves. Because of this, the Socratic method of questioning encourages open discussion where different viewpoints are compared to one another which encourages the use of critical thinking skills (Paul and Elder, 2007). This methodology is beneficial to communication in classrooms because teachers implementing these types of questions are developing student’s critical thinking skills and expanding their knowledge without necessarily teaching new concepts (Paul and Elder, 2007). This can then encourage and motivate students to pursue further learning to reach a better understanding of topics, which will potentially increase their learning outcomes (Paul and Elder, 2007). Socratic questioning also builds rapport between students and teachers, as well as students’ self-efficacy (Tofade, Elsner and Haines, 2013), because the students recognise that they already had the knowledge they required, and the teacher respectfully scaffolded their thinking into a meaningful way to create connections between current concepts (Paul and Elder, 2007). Therefore, using the interpersonal communication skill of Socratic questioning is beneficial to teaching practice because it helps build rapport between students and teachers, builds self-efficacy and encourages students to critically think and analyse to extend their current level of knowledge.
The interpersonal communication skill of constructive feedback is beneficial when applied in the field of education because it provides students with information in terms of their current level of knowledge and behaviour that can be implemented to improve future academic performance. In the classroom, feedback is a process of communication that conveys a student’s current performance academically or socially, regarding information about tasks completed in the school environment (Baker, Perreault, Reid and Blanchard, 2013). This occurs between students and teachers to give constructive criticism on current performance levels (Baker, Perreault, Reid and Blanchard, 2013) relating to their individual performance against the current academic requirements (Sharma and Marandure, 2011). It is imperative to incorporate constructive feedback into teaching practice because of the increasingly competitive nature of school and academic results (Janasz, Crossman, Campbell and Power 2014). Constructive feedback in classrooms enhances a student’s individual performance because it requires them to interact with teachers to reflect on their current achievement, thereby increasing mutual respect and building rapport between students and teachers (Mulder, 2013). When feedback is implemented by teachers when interacting with students, the classroom will have a decreased probability of problematic behaviours, thereby have less disciplinary actions taking place within the school (Baker, Perreault, Reid and Blanchard, 2013). By collaborating with others through receiving constructive feedback, a student will be more creative in their thinking and motivated to achieve results because they are constantly comparing their academic performance and behaviour with other students (Mulder, 2013). Constructive feedback also improves rapport between students and teachers because students are not just receiving negative feedback (Baker, Perreault, Reid and Blanchard, 2013). Therefore, implementing constructive feedback is beneficial to teachers and will improve the overall performance of students within their class and build rapport between them and their students.
The effective use of interpersonal communication skills of active listening, Socratic questioning and constructive feedback are essential to a teacher, allowing them develop understanding of and develop student knowledge, demonstrate respect for students and build rapport with students. The use of active listening enables a teacher to build respectful relationships with students and gain an understanding of their students’ knowledge and understanding. Implementing Socratic questioning into a teacher’s practice develops student knowledge further and consolidates and strengthens rapport between students and teachers. Constructive feedback is imperative to communication in teaching practice because it also strengthens student and teacher rapport, while developing and consolidating student behaviour and knowledge. Therefore, the skilful use of active listening, Socratic questioning and constructive feedback are essential to teachers wanting to guarantee effective communication between them and their students.