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Date posted: January 6, 2012

 Dr K R Mansoor Ali
“Your talk should be like the miniskirt, large enough to cover the subject but short enough to make it interesting” – V.K.S.Menon

The quality of homeopathic education is decreasing day by day. Professionally honest educators, who are genuinely interested in teaching, are decreasing day by day. Teachers are more interested in private practice and fabricated seminars which increase their income and popularity rather than regular classroom or clinical teaching. The love respect relationship between students and teachers are also at the minimum. There are many factors to blame.

The teacher thinks that, he is a paid employee and therefore his duty is only to teach in the prescribed period with out knowing the pulse of the student. Thus students lose interest in the particular subject that is being taught.

The guidance and counseling does not exist any more. The students after completing the course are in the dark and unable to decide upon the future. If the teacher takes interest and give some guidance and counseling this problem will be solved. Also those who come out will be better equipped to combat in the fierce fighting field of todays. Favorable socio-academic climate is necessary to realize well intended goals.

Knowledge is expanding so fast that a teacher, however well informed, cannot clear all the doubts of the students. But students could be guided to the source from which the requisite details are obtainable. Instead of feeding the students with standardized text book based knowledge, teachers could insist in inquisitive learners, real thirst for self learning. Teachers should be facilitators for self learning than dictators of pre- fabricated notes.

In every class, teacher is likely to come across a few bright students, who could out smart the teacher. This should not disturb the teacher’s ego. Rather it should remind him to be a life long learner.

The life of a student of homoeopathy and future of homeopathy ae in the hands of teachers. They can either make or can break it. A good teacher never teaches, but only inspires. He is a person who is knowledgeable and guides you and instills in you faith and belief to make you successful in the field you have chosen. A good teacher always encourage not only by words but by deeds.

One of our greatest teacher in homeopathy Dr.Kent was a great teacher. His life was a constant source of inspiration to his students all over the world. Even after his death ho continues to inspire his students through his work. Such was the labour behind this work. He gave himself relentlessly to his patients, students and to homeopathy without caring for himself. Becoming an excellent teacher in a professional college is a continuing ,life long professional challenge, the dimension of which often goes unrecognised.

One of the basic requirements for a good speaker is his ability to retain the interest of the audience. Most of us don’t pay much attention to acquiring skills for effective communication with audience. Many teachers fail miserably in spite of their superior knowledge in the subject. To ensure greater and more successful interaction with audience, it is necessary to acquire skills of communication. It is the duty of the student to respect the teachers. He should remember that no great teacher /classes can become a substitute for his hard work.

Hence this is an attempt to help PG students and teachers who wants to improve their performance in teaching and lecturing.

Communication & its purpose
Communication is a process of sharing ideas, information, attitudes, values or instruction with individuals or with groups, to facilitate progressive change in knowledge, attitudes and practices. It involves both giving and receiving information.

Purpose
#. Giving and receiving information
#. Instructing and educating
#. Persuading others to change
#. Strengthening beliefs
#. Entertaining
#. Improving human relationship
#. Satisfying wants

Body language
While verbally communicating with people, we should be very careful with our non verbal communication as well, such as gestures, facial expression, tone etc., so that the credibility of our spoken words get enhanced. But remember gestures are not universal in meaning. Mannerism should be controlled and avoided as far as possible.

Basic skills of communication:

Speaking: 5 principles Be prepared
Be clear
Be Vivid
Be natural &
Be flexible

Steps to better listening:
Find areas of interest
Judge content not delivery
Hold your fire
Resist distraction in the auditorium
Keep your mind open
Capitalize on thought speed

Elements of communication
1. Sender
When you initiate a conversation, you are a sender or a communicator. To be an effective sender you must develop an ability to think clearly.

2. Message
Message is what you formulate using spoken/written words,pictures,gestures etc. It requires a great deal of skill to formulate the message which another person can understand accurately.

To be a successive communicator the message should be :

  • Clearly stated.
  • Complete in all respect.
  • Use evidence and reasoning to change belief.
  • Framed in a manner that people would want to understand it, and that they understand what you intend to convey.

3. Channel
Channel refers to the medium you have selected for transmitting your message to the receiver. When selecting a channel or medium, you must take in to consideration the receivers’ ability to comprehend the message through the channel.

Eg. If you want to communicate a message to your colleagues about a meeting scheduled to be held at a place on a particular date & time. The best channel for this communication would be a written note giving the exact place, date & time along with the agenda or purpose of meeting. So that there is no scope for communication gap or confusion.

4. Receiver
Receiver at the other end of the process of communication, who receive the message you send according to his ability to comprehend. How the receiver comprehends the message is influenced by his perception, familiarity with the language or medium chosen by the sender and the clarity in the formulation of the message.

5. Feed back
Feed back is the response or the reaction of the receiver to the message he has received. It is one of the most important elements of communication. Feed back from the receiver helps the sender to clarify the message, there by improving communication.

Barriers to effective communication:
1. PROBLEMS OF THE SENDER
If the sender or communicator does not formulate the message clearly and completely or unskilled in the correct use of channels, signs & symbols, the communication may not be effective and in some case it may breakdown completely.

A. Physical appearance
Cleanliness & orderliness in ones physical appearance are always appealing to the audience. They add to your personality, boost your confidence, thus adding to effective communication. A clumsy unclean communicator wearing in appropriate clothes does not arouse the faith of the audience.

B. Speech
The way the person speaks has a very important bearing in the communication process. Very often it is the anxiety or fear that mars our speech and hampers effective communication. These causes can be overcome by building ones self confidence _ by identifying the factors that cause fear and anxiety and by making an effort of overcoming them.

C. Language
The choice of the language, words, pitches and expression has a great influence on the effectiveness of the communication. If we are not pro- efficient in the language we have chosen to communicate in, an entirely different meaning could be inferred by the receivers.

Moderately pitched well modulated voices add to the information you want to communicate. If the voice is low, people are likely to miss out on the content; too shrill a voice or speaking in a monotone is likely to put the audience to sleep.

D. Message
Even though you are a good communicator with a good command over language and diction, you may not have formulated the message well. The message may be ambiguous or incomplete. This will result in poor or inadequate understanding by the receivers.

E. Channel
Selection of the channel for communicating a message is as important as the formulation of the message itself. A poor or wrong selection of channel often leads to confusion.

2. PROBLEMS OF THE RECEIVER
A different perception and lack of interest and motivation on the part of the receiver are among the factors that may prevent a message from taking an impact.

Difference in perception
The same thing is often perceived differently by different people _ this may be because of difference in age, socio-cultural circumstances and life experience _ the communication may not serve the intended purpose.
Here lies the importance of feed back. If you skillfully encourage group participation, you would be able to obtain a feed back, so that the gap in the shared information can be identified and doubts removed.

Poor motivation & interest
If the person you are talking to is not interested in what is being said, the message gets lost without making an impact. They may be physically present with you; their mind may not be with you. You must be aware of these aspects. To interest and motivate the receivers to come and listen to you requires tremendous communication skill. So plan your communication in such a way that it is appealing and also generates interest and curiosity.

This can be done by
Framing relevant & interesting messages
Using audio visual aids wherever possible
Relating the text of the communication to real life experiences & including examples from every day life of the target group.

Writing:
One can improve one’s writing through letters and reports- four things to be kept in mind are
Style
Better usage
Word power
Phrases

Reading:

Reading comes only when you have extra ordinary desire to assimilate knowledge. There is a great difference between the eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.

Suggestion for being an effective communicator

The language and vocabulary you use should be familiar to the person you are talking with.
Using simple language is the best method.
Speak loudly as every one can hear properly.
Speak at a moderate pace _ neither too fast, nor too slow.
Your pronunciation should be such that it is understood and accepted by the listeners.
Your expression and gestures should match your words. Your reaction and expressions are more truthful indication of your feelings than the spoken words.

Look for reactions of persons you are communicating with. Watch for their changing expressions, gestures and non verbal clues as these would give you some idea about how they are reacting.

Communication is sharing if you share something personal about yourself, it can encourage others to become more open. This will establish a bond for effective communication & understanding.

Listen to others without criticism or comments; you must listen with an unbiased open mind.

Don’t display your authority or knowledge excessively, for then the others tends to get defensive. A good communicator always tries to reduce the defensive behavior in others thus promoting a better communication.

Be sensitive to the reactions of the audience towards you and to your style of communication. If you sense their reaction to be negative, then introspect and reflect upon yourself and see where you may be making mistakes.

Respect their view points and treat them as individuals regardless of you personal bias. Empathic listening is a must. Communication is dependant upon Care, Share and be Fair approach

Our ability to communicate is based on our understanding. Remember ethos, pathos and logos constitute the sequence of any communication.

Doesn’t allows lapses where nothing happens or when participants are wasting time. Use a variety of ways to clarify a point

ABC of communication
Accuracy
Brevity
Clarity

TYPES OF MESSAGES
Lecture
Demonstration
Group discussion
Role play
Case study
Story telling

LECTURE – A different approach
Lecturing is a traditional and most popular method of communication and is especially useful when information has to be communicated to a large group. The communication in the lecture method is largely one way and is often information oriented.

Since the lecture method is basically a one way communication, you can convey a large amount of information in a short time without any interruptions. You can also decide the sequence of information to be imparted.

The successful use of this method will depend on your competence and skill. If you have access to correct & adequate information, and have rehearsed and timed delivery of the content, you would be successful. Lecturing is very demanding for the new speakers and preparations are a must. Remember it is a skill that can be mastered only through practice.

Organising a Lecture
To organize a lecture you must follow the following 3 steps
Step.1 – Acquire necessary knowledge or information on the topic
Step .2 _ Plan your lecture session under 4 heads
Introduction
Body of the talk
Recapitulation
Summary
Step.3 _ Acquire necessary aids like posters, slides, LCDs to strengthen and support the spoken words.

The Knowledge or information that you use in your lecture should be reliable and correct. You can acquire this from books, magazines, by listening to others and from your own experience.
First give a brief introduction, this link the topic of your lecture with the previous knowledge of the receivers.
The content to be talked about form the body of the lecture.
The information to be provided and its logical sequence must be planned well so that you don’t go back and forth.
To make your lecture more effective, you must repeat the main points lectured by you _ this is recapitulation
After recapitulation, you may ask receivers to summaries the Main learning points. This is essential as it reinforces points and also gives you a feedback as to how much the receivers have understood your lecture.

Limitations of lecture method
This method permits very little interaction with the receivers, because it is usually a one way communication. It is assumed that whatever information you are passing on is being imbibed by the receivers, as there is little scope of getting a feedback.
This medium is inappropriate for teaching a skill. Acquiring a skill requires observation of the process of doing a task and its practice. Both this elements ie. Observation and practice are absent in the lecture method.
To make your lecture effective, you require a lot of practice.

Suggestion to improve lecture method
1. Ask questions in between your lecture to encourage participation. This will stimulate the audience to think and they will be more attentive.
2. Plan your lecture such that there is enough time at the end of the lecture to clarify the doubts of the audience.
3. While imparting information, try to illustrate what you say through examples.
4. Try to introduce quotations and humorous anecdotes in your lecture. It helps to hold the interest of the listeners, there by promoting better bondage and communication.
5. Combine different methods with the lecture to make the communication more participatory. Use methods like demonstrations, case study presentation, audio & video aids etc. in conjunction with the lecture method. This will go a long way in fostering better understanding of the subject under discussion.
6. Examine the true purpose of each lecture and consult with others where appropriate, in planning a lecture.

Role of communication aids
The role of communication aids in education is to make learning real, practical and fun through seeing, hearing, discovering and doing. Communication aids which encourage audience to experience things for themselves through exploring, understanding and applying, make learning more meaningful, useful and adventurous.
Such aids can be made more useful by applying the imagination of lecturer and by using materials and models from the immediate surroundings of the audience. It is often seen that make-shift models are more effective than colorful and expensive ones.

Advantages of aids:
Communication aids help to reduce the talking verbatim of the communicator.
They help to make communication situation interesting.
They help to increase the receiver’s participation.

Remember:
Preparation depends and varies on the type of audience.
Make your on contribution while using any aids, display the key points only in the slides, the rest you have to explain – otherwise the audience may sit like watching a movie- not listening to the speaker or content.
Communication is never 100% accurate.

Cues for effective presentation:
Before starting the presentation:-
Arrange the area properly.
Check all the aids to be used, arrange prepared aids ensuring good visibility.
Rehearse the presentation including the narration at your bedroom in front of a mirror.
Adjusting the speed of delivery depending on the rate of audience understanding.
Care in dress code- it should be presentable & neat.
Keep smiling as and when needed and maintain an eye contact with audience.
Avoid unwanted repetition.
Keep the narration simple, to the point and brief.
Summaries the message using visual sequence.

Time limit
Limit your lecture for a specified period – The average attention span of an adult is 20 minutes. Most lectures will be of 60 minutes, some even going on for 120 minutes or more. This is not at all advisable.

Try to start seminars and lectures in sharp timings.
“If you wish to convey something during your speech, you must be the first or second speaker. Otherwise what you have to convey will be spoken by others and you will be left high and dry.

If you have nothing particular to convey, be the last speaker before lunch or the first speaker after lunch.

In the former, you can say that you would not like to stand between the audience and a sumptuous lunch, and people will appreciate you. In the latter neither you nor the audience will miss anything, as both will be sound asleep after a delicious meal.” – humorist Sanjaya.

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Comments

One Response so far.

  1. Dr.G.Srinivasulu says:

    Wonderful article.Congrats for penning the most needed information for teachers. A simple observation for a good or bad teacher in my view is ” For whose arrival a student wait is called as a good teacher and whose departure the student wait is called as a bad one”. My dear teachers please make the class rooms alive with your lectures with content,clarity,curiosity and a bit of humor. Now-a-days the cinema halls are full and the class rooms are nil. Because there is neither grammar nor glamor exists among many so called teachers. Let us transform the class rooms into an animated learning atmosphere rather than dictation rooms.

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