The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill for each and every student. In fact, educators point out that the better students are at it, the better their academic life will be.
Aminadhad Niyonshuti, an English teacher in Kigali, says well-developed communication skills are vital to any learner’s academic success.
At all levels of education, he says, students must be able to communicate effectively and that without well-developed communication skills, children run the risk of falling behind their peers, or becoming emotionally overwhelmed or withdrawn at school.
Further, Niyonshuti notes, academic success depends on solid communication skills, beginning with clear oral communication.
“Students with oral challenges may become embarrassed if they are unable to communicate well with their peers,” he says.
Still on oral communication, Niyonshuti says when educators are coming up with questions for learners, it’s important to learn how they respond.
He notes that they should know if the answers to the questions asked are communicated effectively.
This, Niyonshuti says, will help teachers assess a student’s knowledge, therefore, making it easy to assist those with communication problems.
“Students feel empowered when they can express themselves in their social lives, therefore, effective use of oral communication allows students to promote themselves,” he says.
John Nzayisenga, Director of Kigali Harvest School, says a student who can effectively ask questions and get help from a teacher will likely be more successful than students who remain silent, even when they are unsure of what is being asked of them.
In addition to oral communication, he says that written communication is essential.
Nzayisenga notes that it is important for learners to develop the ability to communicate effectively with the written word.
Dr Alphonse Uworwabayeho, a lecturer of mathematics at University of Rwanda’s College of Education, believes that when it comes to a student’s progress through the school years, they are expected to present most of their work in written form.
He says that learners need to know how to write arguments, summaries, projects, and be able to combine complex ideas and concepts.
“Here, thoughts and ideas need to be expressed clearly, with effective use of tone and language for the intended audience. Composing a compelling essay is totally different from writing a text to someone, therefore, written communication is vital to them,” he says.
Uworwabayeho adds that a student who is good at communicating verbally will find it easy to produce written statements, thus, will likely perform better in their school exams and written assignments.
The lecturer cites that in the future, being able to communicate with employers is crucial, no matter what industry or career one is in.
In fact, he says, out there, good communication skills are listed among the most desirable skills on nearly every job specification.
“If the learner understands this when outside the school environment, it will give them an advantage over others when competing for additional responsibilities.
Ways to improve communication skills
Jean Marie Habimana, the director of operations and partnership at Ready for Reading, a local non-governmental organisation in Eastern Province, says reading is a great activity to help improve learners’ communication proficiency.
He explains that it helps develop their language acquisition and introduces them to a range of vocabulary, helping them communicate with ease and logic.
As they get older, Habimana says reading provides an excellent opportunity for discussion, creating an environment where a child can comfortably and confidently get used to articulating and sharing ideas.
Jackyline Iribagiza, a counsellor and matron at Marty Secondary School, Remera, says through interaction and playing with siblings and friends, students will develop social skills and interpersonal skills together with their communication skills.
She says that these skills will make them feel more comfortable in social situations, and they will find it easy to come up with conversations with peers and make new friends.
“Through these relationships, learners can hone their listening skills as well as their ability to empathise and interpret non-verbal communication,” she adds.Follow Lydia_AtienoM