The Importance of Communication Skills for Academic Success
Well developed communication skills are vital to a child’s academic success
At all levels of education, students must be able to communicate effectively. Without well developed communication skills, children run the risk of falling behind their peers or becoming emotionally overwhelmed or withdrawn at school.
Academic success depends on solid communication skills, beginning with clear oral communication. Students are often called upon in class to answer questions. These questions may range from those with simple factual answers to questions that involve putting thoughts together and making arguments. Answers to questions need to be communicated effectively so teachers can assess a student’s knowledge. Students with oral challenges may also become embarrassed if they are unable to communicate on par with their peers. If a student stutters or mumbles they may become fearful of speaking up in class, and this in turn can lead to lowered grades and diminished self-esteem.
Oral Communication Skills
A second aspect of oral language communication is pragmatic and social language, used in daily interactions with others. This includes what is said, how it’s said and non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, facial expressions and body language. We navigate our world and our social relationships through language. Understanding how to communicate effectively with peers sets the stage for positive self-esteem. Students feel empowered when they can “talk the talk” in their social lives.
Effective use of oral communication also allows students to advocate for themselves. They must be able to articulate when and how their academic needs are not being met. A student who can effectively ask questions and get help from a teacher will often be more successful than students who remain silent even when they are unsure of what is being asked of them.
Written Communication Skills
In addition to oral communication, a child must also develop the ability to communicate effectively with the written word. As students progress through the school years, they are expected to present more of their work in written form. They need to know how to clearly write arguments, summaries, hypotheses, and be able to synthesize complex ideas and concepts. Thoughts and ideas need to be expressed clearly, with effective use of tone and language for the intended audience. Composing a compelling essay is dramatically different than writing a text to a friend.
Treating Communication Disorders
While it is easier, more effective, and less costly to treat speech and language disorders early, in the toddler years, it is never too late to get treatment. If a parent has concerns about their child’s ability to communicate, they should seek an evaluation by a speech and language pathologist.
With the support of a speech therapist and an educational therapist, students who struggle with the academic aspects of language can become stronger students and learn the communication skills they need to be successful in school and in life.
Related: Taking a Look at Speech Therapy