professor in front of class May 9

Untangling the Web of Student-Teacher Communication


When I tell people that I study the role of communication in teaching and learning, the most common response is: “Isn’t communication just common sense? I’m an expert in what I teach; why do I need to worry about how I communicate?” In reality, communication is a learned verbal and nonverbal skill that all of us must continually refine. When we interact with our students purposefully, we maximize the chances that our content expertise will make a positive difference in terms of their learning.

26256824_web October 12, 2012

Do Students Like Your Communication Style?


Should instructors care whether or not students find their exchanges satisfying? They should, because as this research (and previous studies) document, those levels of satisfaction correlate positively and significantly with something these researchers call “affective learning.” Affective learning involves student feelings and emotions toward the subject matter and the teacher.

July 11, 2012

A Failure to Communicate


At my house, we’re deep into a host of summer projects and are having our usual communication difficulties. Yesterday my brother Charles and I were trying to help my husband Michael tie sheets of plywood to a cart so they could be transported to a work site. “Put the rope under the board. No, not all the way under. Put it under and over the top.” My mentally challenged brother is confused and frustrated as he tries to put the rope where Michael wants it. “No, loop it over.” I’m eager to help but I haven’t a clue where the rope is supposed to go.