Effective and Efficient Communication

"The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation."

In the adult world of school, it's easy to avoid face-to-face to communication. Teaching can be isolating. And there isn't a lot of time for true collaboration. But that doesn't mean we can't make the time.

Agile places a premium on effective and efficient face-to-face communication because it's the best way to exchange information while learning about who people are and what they want. This goes for teacher-to-teach communication, teacher-to-principal communication, and especially for teacher-to-student communication.

We think we're communicating face-to-face with our students all the time. But we're not. Yes, we face them as we address them in groups large and small. We call on them, and they answer us. (Or don't, sometimes.) But this isn't the best kind of communication we can have.

Frequent, brief individual teacher-student conferences are the best way to communicate with kids in the classroom. There's nothing better than watching what a student work, discussing the thought process behind the effort, and offering focused support for improvement. Nothing—no other form of feedback or communication—is more effective than a brief teacher-student conference in the context of meaningful work.

Outside the classroom, avoiding reliance on e-mail is challenging. Parents want to know things and your inbox fills up. You start a blog and put up resources to help kids keep up who might forget an assignment or miss a few class periods. Pretty soon, nobody has to talk to anybody.

Face-to-face to communication is most efficient because it provides the most information and because it offers the highest degree of interaction. As challenging as it can be, at times, to directly address a colleague or administrator in person, the results are almost always far better than using some electronic intermediary—or not having the conversation at all.


Add your feedback below. To keep track of who is saying what, use an H1 tag (a plus sign "+" in the edit window) to identify yourself. For example:

Steve Peha

I'm just as guilty as anyone of avoiding face-to-face communication. But each time I engage in it, I getter better at, and I get better results.

Schools are like families in a way. We all have to live with each other. And sometimes it's easier to just let things go or sweep them under the rug. But unresolved communications stick with us for long periods of time, playing themselves out over and over in our heads.

E-mail seems like a a perfect way to stay in touch. But it's not. There's too little interaction and too much misunderstanding. And even though most teenagers would probably prefer their teachers text them on their cell phones, this is far from ideal.

We all like to hide behind our digital devices. And as we use them more, we feel less comfortable with real human contact. Having to listen to someone, to watch their body language, to sense their emotions, this is all hard work—work we don't have to pay much attention to when we communicate digitally.

Face-to-face communication is going to become more important for kids with each passing year. When every kid has a device they can use to mediate reality, reality needs to pop in once in a while unmediated just so kids remember what it's like.

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