You can see the major problems caused by a lack of teen communication skills and how it influences their capability to keep and make friends. Teens that are deficit of social communication are at risk of behaving in an unhealthy manner within relationships as well. You must have noticed teens that lack communication skills also face problems asserting themselves. They usually get into conflicts and also get swayed easily by peer pressure. And when these teens become adults they may experience various situations that test their capability to act in respectful and healthy manner.
You can follow the strategies stated below to help high school students develop communication skills. When I was a high school principal, I personally used these strategies when interacting with students and asked staff to also follow these six simple strategies to improve communication skills.
#1 – First strategy is modeling. Teens mostly look to teachers and parents to see how they are interacting and look at them for cues. Modeling like confronting anyone with a problem, striking up conversation in a class, or being assertive. Afterward, just debrief with the students as to what you did and why.
#2 – One of the best methods of preparing teens for real life is to rehearse situations. Role playing offers them the chance to practice how to act in a situation that is non-threatening. You can try this by playing scenarios such as asking someone out on date, turning down a cigarette or providing help. The best thing is to let the teen play both parts.
#3 – Another strategy is to read facial expressions, body language and gesture cues. Try pointing out the cues and help the teens to practice and recognize possible messages. Pacing, inflection and tone of voice are spoken messages that should also be taught to be identified.
#4 – Teens usually have a tough time understanding another perspective. You can give them a chance to reflect on another point of view by questioning. For instance questions like “Why do you think he is turning away?” or “Why do you think she is making a face like that?” If you ask questions like this, it will help the teen build empathy.
#5 – The most important strategy is to always provide feedback. Observe the student in different situations and then share with him/her whatever you observed. This will help them to know areas where they require improvement. Both negative and positive feedback are essential and also offer suggestions, if necessary.
#6 – Another way of improving communication skills is by including teamwork activities, so read our next article to find out how teamwork activities help the teenager.
Did you miss the other articles in our series about high school student communication? You can read them here.