The future of the world is depended on growth that is inclusive, smart and sustainable. As it follows, improving the effectiveness and the quality of the systems of education across the globe is significant to all these aspects of growth. In this case, early childhood education has become a significant basis for learning that is successful and sustainable, personal development, social integration, and employability. Early childhood education complements the major role of family, and it has a long-lasting and weighty effect which measures taken later in life cannot accomplish. The earliest experiences of children form the foundation for all the later learning. As a result, if the educator imposes on them sold foundations when they are young, later learning becomes efficient and effective, and it is likely that it will continue for life, hence, reducing chances of early childhood leaving, and increasing the fairness of outcomes in education and decreasing costs of the society when it comes to lost talent and public spending on health, social and education systems (Borg & Gall, 1989).
Early childhood covers the first 8 years of an individual’s life. As it is, the education that an individual receives during these eight years must revolve around a number of particular domains of early development. Studies conducted in the area have indicated that children tend to learn from numerous experiences and that some parts of these experiences are inconceivable to them at times. As a result, these studies recommend that education developing children receive must be created to fit with their limited understanding. For instance, it has been realised that early childhood education is mainly composed of learning via play. Caretakers, parents, neighbours, and specifically early childhood educators play a major, essential role in these early years of an individual’s education. As a result, these individuals must possess the right skills to ensure that they enhance and potentiate early childhood education (Borg & Gall, 1989). This paper will, hence, look at the importance one of the skills of early childhood educators and that is effective communication skills.
Effective communication skills are essential in delivering effective education in early childhood. Communication is significant in all aspects of life. Early childhood educators especially have a challenging job because of the fact that they have to constantly communicate with their students. If an early childhood educator has all the experience and knowledge in delivering education to their young students but cannot communicate effectively, he cannot be termed as an effective educator. Education depends on the ability of educators to communicate in a manner that every student has a comprehensive and clear understanding of what the teacher has to say. There are two main kinds of communication that an early childhood educator has to be proficient in: nonverbal and verbal communication (Ellis & Lenz, 1987).
Verbal communication in early childhood education is when the educator has to use songs, words and sounds to teach and explain. In early childhood education, songs and sounds have been found to be extremely effective ways of communicating something to the young children. If a teacher cannot do this properly, then it is likely that the students will not understand properly what they are saying. Lectures are other forms of communication that are commonly used in education. However, it has been pointed out that early learners have not developed completely or have not developed the proper motor capabilities to comprehend subjects and information passed to them through lectures. As a result, early childhood educators must avoid lectures when it comes to effective communication skills (Ellis & Lenz, 1987).
The second type of communication often used in education is the nonverbal kind. This is the kind of communication that is sent without the communicator using words or sounds. In most cases, nonverbal communication is usually accomplished through the use of dramatic presentations, visual aids and body language. Many researchers have cited this to be the most effective form of communication in early childhood. This is because, as already mentioned, learning and education are mostly attained through play and other activities. A child, therefore, is more likely to understand better when a teacher incorporates activities such as play or when they use visual aids like drawings and charts in teaching. Only a teacher or educator with the necessary communication skills is able to determine which kinds are effective and beneficial for early learners (Ellis & Lenz, 1987).
Effective communication has a number of benefits some of which include concise information, clear information, obvious authority and direction. When an early childhood educator communicates effectively, he has the ability to demonstrate and teach clearly. In this case, clarity confusion in the kind of information they deliver is avoided. Effective communication also gives the educator the ability to command direction, which is helpful as it gives the young students a roadmap of what they are expected to learn. Effective communication also commands authority, which an educator requires if his young students are to respond with respect (Dunst, 2000).
Early childhood educators must be aware of the fact that effective communication skills are indispensable when it comes to teaching effectively. They must also understand that all students are not alike and that different students have different levels of understanding, and that each student has unique weaknesses, as well as, strengths in learning. It is only through effective and efficient communication skills that an early childhood educator can find and introduce to their students effective and creative solutions to their educational problems. Thus, through mastering proper communication skills, an educator can greatly enhance the process of learning in early childhood. There is the number of communication skills that an early education teacher must possess for them to be successful in teaching their students. One of them is positive motivation (Gordon, 2003).
Positive motivation has been cited to be among the most essential aspects that a teacher must have in class. This is because students are different and each one of them has a different taste and preference over different kinds of subjects. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the educator to spark enthusiasm and interest in the student minds towards a subject they do not like. It is also their responsibility to eliminate all inhibitions and fears the students might have towards a particular subject. An early childhood educator must also possess the right body language. Body language is arguably one of the most powerful skills of communication that any educator must possess. Presentation skills that result in effective learning must be supported by a powerful body language complemented by verbal skills. This is because the correct body language can create an impression that is long lasting in the minds of young learners. Therefore, the lessons of an educator will inevitably be more interesting and interactive for early learners (Gordon, 2003).
Sense of humour and playfulness is also another communication skill that has regularly been underestimated. A teacher with a good sense of humour is attractive to the students, and he keeps his students interested and active in class. A teacher who is playful and joyful always motivates the children to want to participate in class more and attend class. Listening and understanding skills are also other effective communication skills that an educator must possess to make the process of learning effectively. This encourages learners to communicate openly with their tutors. It also plays a big role in cultivating a dialogue between the students and the educator instead of just a monologue. This is helpful as it is one way an educator can learn areas of concern and areas that need more emphasis during class time (Gordon, 2003).
Active listening skills have been emphasised to be the most essential tools for effective communication in early education. This is because its use has been found to play an essential role in communication in education that is efficient and effective. Active listening has been defined as a process containing numerous steps, which include making comments that are empathetic, summarizing and paraphrasing for clarification needs, and asking questions that are appropriate. One of the goals of utilising active listening is to come up with an understanding that is clear of the concern of the students and to communicate clearly the interests of the educator in the message of his student (Lisper & Rautalinko, 1996).
As it follows, education programs for early childhood should consist of training in motor skills, reading abilities, communication and language skills, things that can only be accomplished by educators with the proper communication skills. Therefore, teaching through moral stories and narratives should be considered, as it is one of the most effective ways to inculcate students with life principles and skills. Also, some students might show some natural talents, which only an educator proficient in the right communication skills can recognize at the right moment and help nurture them. Early childhood is a period to understand the young ones and make them comprehend life and themselves (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
Early childhood students are the future of the world, and this is the reason why teachers are so essential in each society. It is through the teachings and experiences delivered by educators that children become influenced. The overall learning and development of a student can only be expected if their educators have the right communication skills. Therefore, it is essential to note that effective communication skills are essential competencies each teacher must possess.
Borg, W. R. & Gall, M. D. (1989). Educational research. New York: Longman.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Dunst, C. J. (2000). Revisiting ‘Rethinking early intervention.’ Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 20, 95–104.
Ellis, E., & Lenz, K. (1987). A component analysis of effective learning strategies for LD students. Learning Disabilities Focus, 2, 94–107.
Gordon, T. (2003). Teacher effectiveness training. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Lisper, H. O., & Rautalinko, E. (1996). Effects of a six-hour training of active listening Scandinavian Journal of Behaviour Therapy, 25, 117–125.
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