I agree with the above ideas because respect on both sides is essential in the classroom. One easy way to eliminate the constant movement of students to sharpen pencils, throw away garbage etc. is to address these when setting up the year. When the students began the discussion on respect in class, I would walk in front of the speaker, sharpen a pencil etc which included these behaviors in the discussion. Students know these are rude behaviors,would banish them, and gentle signs above the sharpener etc were easy reminders of the respect rule. Another important discussion at the beginning of the year is that NO ONE is allowed to make fun of another's ideas or comments. I demonstrated the 8th grade roll of the eyes, the sigh to humiliate a speaker or any nonverbal put down. Students could explain exactly what was being said without words, and then I told them I listened to nonverbal communication as much as verbal. Quiet individual reminders of behaviors help also. The last thing is the ability to actually listen to each other. Active listening is a class which helped me listen to students, focus on their real ideas, and not be planning my response so that I didn't really hear them. Students soon learned that all sincere ideas were heard. Communication in a classroom is vital to success.
One of the major components of a brain-rich environment is a safe environment. If the student feels "safe" to exchange ideas and communicate his/her thoughts, then learning progresses. If the student feels that he/she will endure sarcasm, humiliation, or disregard, learning is stifled. This means that the teacher/student communication should be good, but the teacher should create an environment in the classroom where the students respect each other's ideas. Communication between student and teacher is important but not the only aspect of communication in the classroom.
I tell my own students all the time that I am NOT a mind reader! When we are going through a unit, I look at daily homework grades often as an indicator of how well they are understanding the concept (nouns, etc.). Some of them get help from parents when completing homework, which ensures a good grade, but if they don't communicate to me the problem that needed assistance, I go off the assumption, "Hey, homework grades are good, so we're ready for the test so we can move on! Yay!" When the test results don't match the string of homework grades, that is NOT the ideal time for me to find out that there was a problem. If they don't ask questions in class when I am soliciting them or leave anonymous questions on the question board I have and their homework grades are good, I can't read their minds to know their struggles before-hand - there has to be communication.
The previous answers are all very valuable. Ideally, much of the learning done within a classroom is done by actual discussion, with as little lecturing as possible. Discussion -- the asking and answering of questions, both by the teacher and by the students -- has always seemed to me the ideal way to learn, although I realize, of course, that lecturing is sometimes inevitable.
There is also a level of professionalism on both parts. The teacher should be professional and handle questions, complaints, or other communications in a calm, productive manner. The student needs to learn professionalism and begin to present questions, complaints, or other communications in a productive manner. Of course, the teacher is the adult and I therefore expect more of them. The student and the teacher should use teacher-student communication as another aspect of a well-rounded education.
I whole heartedly agree with Post #3 about the need for respect. Students can be trying at times, because they are at that stage of life when it is only natural for them to push the envelope. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us did the same thing when we were at that age (minus the technology, of course--the preferred method then was passing notes.) Students need understanding from teachers, and positive reinforcement/correction more than anything else. The student who respects his/her teacher, and knows that although his actions may not please the teacher, he will be treated without embarrassment or humiliation will learn more than if he enters what he perceives to be a hostile environment. Often this does not happen on the first or even the tenth attempt; but as students grow and mature, they will appreciate the respect they received, and carry more away from the class.
I think it is important for teacher and students to communicate the objectives for the course/term/year. I begin each new course with my objectives which may be specific (based on value added performance from the last course) or general (everyone will do their best). We agree class rules: no put downs, listen to the speaker, bring equipment etc, so that lessons run smoothly and everyone knows why they are there. Some students think teachers set work as a punishment (and some do!) or that they only care about the highest grades. Some teachers see students as not wanting to achieve and engage (which can also be true). It is important that a clear way forward is communicated early on, and targets reviewed regularly.
I agree with Poster #2...but all this has to begin with respect. The teacher has to respect the student and not betlittle him or her, however the student also has to respect the teacher or hostile barriers to communication go up.
I can't tell you how frustrated I get when I am talking and other students take out computers...start a conversation with a neighbor...or even get out of their seats to sharpen pencils, throw away garbage, or grab a tissue to blow their nose right in front of me.
Because of these distractions, students don't hear my instructions and I have to repeat myself 6-10 times per class period...and students wonder why I am sometimes crabby and exhausted.
The biggest communication skill here is listening. Both teachers and students need to know how to listen to one another. From the student's point of view, this is obvious. But teachers also need to know how to listen to student questions and to the feelings that students are expressing (perhaps indirectly) about their lessons, their classmates, the teacher, etc.
teacher must provoke student in talk with teacher so in this way both get involve