Classroom Communication

Classroom Communication

(adapted and modified to be more culturally inclusive from Classroom Communication Tips, Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning, Brown University)

Rhetorical strategies for Delivering Communication:

Verbal: help your audience understand what is being said.

  • Vary the speed & tone of your voice to keep your voice interesting to listen to.
  • Project your voice to be clearly heard.
  • Pause to gain attention, emphasize transitions in material, and allow students the opportunity to consider and reflect.

Non-Verbal: help your audience be receptive to what you are saying.

  • Engage with the audience and stand comfortably (but solidly).
  • Use movement to convey energy and enthusiasm but avoid excessive gesturing or distracting motions, because they can divert attention from your message.
  • Project excitement and energy (in a manner that is natural or comfortable for you) to hold your audience’s attention.

Media helps to explain complex ideas. Use it to enhance, not distract, from your message.

  • A chalk board or dry-erase board can be very adaptive to student feedback, and can be used to show a process unfolding or articulate the reasoning behind a derivation.
  • Slide presentations are useful for organizing a variety of visual, audio or animated information and can be used to emphasize key points and summarize ideas.
  • Video clips or animations can be used to illustrate dynamic processes and prove a sense of scale.
  • Audio clips can introduce a new voice into the classroom (often from another time/place) and illustrate the sounds of physical processes.
  • Artifacts bring elements of the “real” in the classroom.
  • Handouts, whether paper or electronic, are an effective way to share detailed information and images with students.

Rhetorical Techniques for Structuring Communication:

Get the students interested

  • Connect the day’s topic to the student’s interests, experience, and prior knowledge to spark the students’ curiosity and explain why its valuable or useful for them.
  • Provide an engaging example or anecdote that the students can connect to – they can often be memorable years after the class.

Organize the class

  • Structure the class in a logical way; e.g., frame the topic as a story or provide the big picture, present a problem then develop its solution, describe events and processes chronologically or show the relationship of interconnected ideas to an overarching theme.
  • Share an outline to help the students organize and assimilate their learning.
  • Make explicit transitions between topics to help students follow along; e.g., use verbal signposting such as mini-summaries or link a new topic to the one prior.


Center for Professional Development & Inclusive Excellence

OIST Lab 4, E18 and E07

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