In an article by Dr Allen Mendler on teaching students how to have a conversation, I was again reminded of what has been a popular conversation in staff rooms in recent years about the dangers in having a conversation via email or how we are becoming reliant on new age shorthand to get our messages across. Invariably, because of our lack of experience in understanding how others might perceive our communications, the messages get lost in translation! In the Common Core English standards there is a renewed emphasis on listening and speaking and Mendler’s suggestions certainly resonate with regard to some of the important skills we need to develop in this area.
He suggests the following 8 tips to help our students ( or anyone for that matter) develop the art of good conversation!
1. Model a Good Conversation
2. Encourage Physical Cues
3. Challenge Put-Downs or Hurtful Comments
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions
5. Put Thinking Ahead of Knowing
6. Have Informal Chats
7. Make Eye Contact
8. Encourage Turn-Taking
Of course we need to have time to develop the skills and this is where parents need to use every possible opportunity to engage their children in meaningful conversations.
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