The idea of inclusive communication comes from an understanding that people communicate differently, and various techniques are needed to meet these different needs. Using inclusive communication techniques in the classroom, as well as in everyday situations, increases your chances of positive and effective communication with students and the people around you.
The following tips can help you to communicate in a more inclusive way in the classroom:
- Look and speak directly to the student, rather than to their aide or parent. When speaking to a group, face your students and try not to put your hands in front of your face.
- Speak slowly and clearly and try using shorter sentences. Ask your students to tell you if you are speaking too quickly for them.
- Turn down, or off, background noise or music.
- Make sure that only one person speaks at a time during discussions.
- Some students with learning disabilities can misunderstand tone of voice, facial expression and gestures. Students who are learning English might also come from different cultures where a gesture has a different meaning. Use words to reinforce your body language when you need the class to know how you feel.
- Read information aloud that is presented visually. Give both oral and written instructions.
- Use pictures, objects, kinaesthetic activities, and other ways of teaching that use all of the senses.
- Use the same phrase, tone of voice and gesture to let your students know that something is particularly important.
- Suggest students record audio of your classes. It can be helpful for many students with language difficulties to listen to the words several times.
- Be patient and allow enough time for students to understand what you’ve said and work out how to answer, as well as giving them enough time to finish their sentences.
- Be flexible - if one communication technique doesn't work try another.
How ShowMe Images can help
ShowMe Images can help you to communicate more inclusively in a range of different ways. You can use the images to help visual learners and students with learning disabilities or low levels of English, understand your message and reinforce your lessons. You can use the wide variety of education and behaviour-related images as stand-alone prompts or to tell a story. You can add the images alongside text in a printed worksheet to help with understanding, but you can also use them as image cards for boards or handheld expression.
- Brown, Dale S. and Ford, Karen. (2007, September), Reading Rockets
- Australian Disability Clearing House on Education and Training