Education is the process by which society transmits knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. It helps fight ignorance and the acquisition of knowledge creating a better citizenry in terms of prospects in life. Education is designed to guide the development of individuals in the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competences, necessary for individuals to live decent lives as citizens and contribute to the development of the society.
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The acquisition of these appropriate skills, abilities and competences is possible through effective communication and the teacher is at the centre of this acquisition, and thus at the centre of effective communication.
Communication refers to the exchange of information between a sender (source) and a receiver (destination) so that it is received, understood and leads to action. Communication can be seen as “a process that involves the transmission of message from a sender to the receiver. Communication is the process by which any person or a group shares and impacts information with/to another person (or group) so that both people (and groups) clearly understood one another. Not just giving information, it is the giving of understandable information and receiving and therefore, the transferring of a message to another party so that it can be understood and acted upon. Communication is “the process which involves all acts of transmitting messages to channels which link people to the languages and symbolic which are used to transmit such messages. It is also the means by which such messages are received and stored. It includes the rules, customs and conventions which define and regulate human relationship and events”. In its simplest form, however, communication is the transmission of a message from a source to a receiver… or the process of creating shared meaning. It has been shown that there exist various definitions for communication, as there are different disciplines. While some definitions are human centred, others are not.
Academic performance refers to the degree of a student’s accomplishment his or her tasks and studies. The most well-known indicator of measuring academic performance is grades which reflect the student's "score" for their subjects and overall tenure. Success is measured by academic performance in most educational institutions. In this case, how well a student meets standards set out by an institution itself or an external examination body either set up by the government or an independent outfit signifies success or good performance. Before standardization, teachers' observations made up the bulk of the assessment. Grading system that came into existence in the late Victorian period and were highly subjectivity as different teachers valued different aspects of learning more highly than others. However, standardization function which is fulfilled by establishments outside the schools helped in putting this in check considerably.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND STUDENTS PERFORMANCE
Good communication skills of teacher are the basic need of academic success of students, and their professional success in life. Fundamental to teacher and student success is the teacher's ability to communicate effectively with students, parents and colleagues. Teachers must have good communication skills to help their students achieve academic success. Without good communication skills, teachers disable the teaching-learning process as well as their own career mobility. Teachers with poor communication skills may cause poor academic performance of students and lead to unstable professional life after school. Good communication minimises the potential of unkind feeling during the process of teaching and learning. For a teacher, it is very pertinent to have good communication skills to create good classroom environment for effective teacher-student interaction to promote effective learning by students and acquisition of desired professional goals. Good communication is not only needed for effective teaching and learning, but it is also very important in the effectiveness of every human concern in life.
Teachers must have good speaking ability to communicate their subject-matter to the students and facilitate classroom learning and participation. Students depend on their teachers to provide them with instruction, guidance and feedback throughout the learning process. When a teacher fails to communicate effectively with students, students’ concentration level drops, and they eventually lose grasp of the subject matter which will lead to poor academic performance. Verbal communication is the interaction achieved through speaking and conversation. Teachers must be effective in their speaking communication to be able to carry their students along and have good classroom management. In speaking, teachers should use their words carefully to be successful in teaching. Every spoken word provokes a feeling in people, specific emotions, and distinct function. If the teacher properly chooses words, they would inform the students appropriately. Therefore, the teacher must avoid the use of negative words in dealing with his students. A good teacher must be aware of the power of words and its impact on his students and thus endeavour to use only positive words: words that encourage, motivate, and energise his students. Expression of words clearly and eloquently by the educator causes the students to listen with dignity and willingness, sum up the facts, and think to solve the problem and supply the teacher’s comment without any tension or boredom. But using biased phrases often raises a sense of stubbornness and humiliation in the students, puts them out of the cycle of learning, and leaves irreparable psychological effects on the students
The findings of this study have shown that students’ academic performance is influenced to a high extent by teachers’ communication skills of speaking, listening, attitude, gestures and facial expressions. It is imperative therefore, that the school curriculum should make adequate provision for student teachers to learn effective communication skills, and practicing teachers to be trained and retrained to cultivate good communication skills.