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Clear Communication

Compensation Strategies for When Students Just Don't Understand


Brian Rybarczyk
Graduate School
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


This case was originally designed for training international graduate students who are or will become teaching assistants (TAs); however, the case can be used in any TA or new instructor training forum with a diverse group of participants. The case showcases two teaching assistants to compare and contrast similarities and differences in communication effectiveness as well as to normalize experiences commonly encountered by TAs and new instructors. While English language skills may be one cause of miscommunication, there are also many other possible sources of miscommunication that can affect the teaching effectiveness of an instructor while interacting with and teaching undergraduate students. This case study offers suggestions for ameliorating miscommunication issues and addresses the need for more inter-cultural training opportunities by revealing strategies that can be implemented to improve teaching effectiveness.

  • Compare and contrast challenges involved with communication effectiveness faced by instructors.
  • Identify communication challenges that non-native English speaking and native English speaking instructors may encounter while teaching.
  • Propose compensation strategies that can be used to increase communication effectiveness between students and instructors.
  • Identify and implement communication strategies that enhance communication as an instructor.
  • Begin to explore ways that active learning can improve student learning outcomes.
Keywords: Teacher education; teacher training; international teaching assistant; communication skills; teacher-student communication; teaching; active learning
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Graduate, Faculty development
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Analysis (Issues), Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Teacher Education   Science Education  
Date Posted: 10/18/2012
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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