Improving Professional Communication

A lack of understanding and/or awareness of what professional communication is, and how big of an impact it can have in a professional environment is an area of focus the classroom. One strategy that has been used is to create groups of students after identifying stronger communicators and weaker communicators to help with a peer critique of a presentation. This can be determined through classroom observations, and early project rubric scores. Each group is given criteria that must be followed when the other person is presenting their project. This way the feedback is directed in a manner that focuses on what proper communication needs to be in this setting. Communicators that are strong can point out what the weaker student is doing well or what they need to improve on. Once the weaker student needs to offer feedback to the stronger student they are focused on watching for those positive communication traits. This causes positive communication to be reinforced twice by the critique of their presentation and then watching it applied in the other student’s presentation. Challenges arise when students do not want or feel compelled to improve their communication to the expectations that are outlined in the rubric for assignments. There are times where the students that are grouped together do not mesh, and groups need to be reconfigured the next time the exercise is used in class. By tracking scores on project rubrics through the course of the semester we are able to determine which students have made the improvements, and which ones are still struggling with their communication efforts.

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