Communicating with Students

Teachers are constantly communicating and everything we do in front of the children communicates with the students, either through words, facial expression, body language and physical stance.

In order to build positive relationships with students, teachers must establish trust with the students to open the communication channels between them and the students. 

In accordance with the Professional Teaching Standards, teachers must “communicate effectively with their students” (NSW Institute of Teachers 2005, p9) by communicating clear directions, questioning and facilitating discussion.

Caitlin, in order to build a positive learning environment and trusting relationships with the students, you will need to facilitate and control communication with each students.  You can do this in a variety of ways, through informal and formal communication methods. Some ways you can develop communication with students include:

  • Take an interest in each student and be available to informally talk to the students before class or during lunch and recess.
  • Greet each student in the morning and ask about their morning / weekend.
  • Use a positive tone of voice and open body language when communicating with students.
  • Give positive feedback when students contribute to classroom discussions.
  • Participate in active listening when the students are talking by using affirmative nods and repeating comments made by the student.
  • Be approachable with the students and encourage them to share their feelings and concerns with you.
  • Be clear and concise when giving instructions or setting expectations.
  • Ensure that all students are comfortable in the classroom, and can hear and see you when you are speaking.
  • Before you begin speaking to the whole class, ensure you have the full attention of the students for maximum student engagement.
  • Check with the students to ensure they have a full understanding of what you are saying.
  • Encourage turn taking during classroom discussions.
  • Question students to ensure they have understood and comprehended what you are saying (Whitton et al. 2004).


See Effective Teaching for more information on using communication effectively in the classroom.


Further Reading:

Churches, R & Terry R 2007, NLP for Teachers: How to be a Highly Effective Teacher, Crown House Publishing, CT, USA.

Whitton, D, Sinclair, C, Barker, K, Nanlohy, P & Nosworthy, M 2004, Learning for Teaching: Teaching for Learning, Thomson Social Science Press, South Melbourne, VIC.

Tips for Communicating with Students