Meaningful communication in class – Communicating meaningful in class (Vocational School)

Meaningful communication refers to the process in which the students, in exchange with their teachers, give personal importance to the teaching-learning process and its results.

Lessons can be taught in certain subjects and disciplines, e.g. in the training for service and specialist for protection and safety, only if the pupils trust the professional judgment of their teachers and engage in new content, even if they do not yet fully understand what they are supposed to be good for.

This can be achieved through the authenticity of the teacher. Without exception, I notice in my teaching activities that the attention of my students always increases greatly when I report from my practical work experience as a manager. Students appreciate the fact that I know exactly what I am talking about. By showing them possible paths, I can often motivate them to have the courage to go their own way. Encouraging praise, as well as a question that shows real interest in learning processes and work results, can already make sense. In my role as a teacher, I don’t save with praise and then keep realizing how much more intense my students are and how much they like to learn. They also bring their professional and over-the-field interests into the classroom and develop them further. On their e-se-hers, they establish links to previous teaching topics and incorporate them into the new teaching topic. They provide feedback on learning progress and learning difficulties because they trust their teacher’s speech. They often take a personal stand, ask critical and further questions and reflect on their learning process. They also assess the quality of their work results much more appropriately than would be done in lessons in which they do not see any sense.

There is a close link between the formation of interests and the educational performance of the school, which also includes studies, e.g. Krapp/Prenzel from 1992. Other studies show that the development of pupils’ professional and multidisciplinary interests is encouraged if independent work is made possible, such as in action-oriented teaching (Hartinger 1997).

According to Prof. Dr. Tade Tramm in embedding relevant learning objects in meaningful and subjectively significant situational contexts in such a way that they offer learners opportunities for active problem-solving learning, so that in the course of this problem-solving action they become relevant for orientation and action and can be actively appropriated by the learners.

In order to further expand “meaningful communication” in the future, I take the opportunity to learn from the needs of my students by getting their feedback, by incorpoating short planning discussions to exchange goals, content and methods in the classroom and by promoting participation. Such planning participation by learners is an extremely important building block of meaningful learning. A positive side effect is that the students feel taken seriously, as they take responsibility for their own learning process and are encouraged to metacognition (Meyer, M./ Schmidt 2000). This can also be done at the end of the lesson in a period of reflection, in which there is open talk about successful teaching, but also about problems that may have arisen. A learning journal/learning diary can also be a way to develop your own strengths as a teacher. Students regularly reflect on their learning progress during the lesson. The journals with the entries of the students are collected by those who agree with them. I then evaluate them and discuss the consequences. This is a valuable part of meaningful communication and at the same time gives me the opportunity to optimize my teaching quality.

Student feedback is a very helpful way of collecting feedback on the quality of teaching-learning processes, in which the goal, subject matter and form of feedback between the teacher and the students are agreed (working alliance). The data are collected, processed and evaluated methodically (evaluation) and reported back to the students (publication) in order to draw conclusions for future teaching work (action). This can be done, for example, done with the help of questionnaires: The students fill e.g. a questionnaire at the end of each second week of school. This can be standardized (check, distribute points) or openly formulated. The results will be discussed at the beginning of the following school week. Another possibility may be a “teacher’s certificate”. The students give the teacher a numerical certificate individually or after group discussions. In classes with a good teaching environment, this can be done without any problems. However, it should be clear to all parties that it is a question of subjective judgments, not of objective statements. If possible, the feedback of the evaluated data must pass to the next day or to the next specialist lesson. If the teacher feels that the students are not answering honestly, the feedback should be discontinued. Those who are not prepared to draw conclusions from the collected data should not seek feedback. Feedback only makes sense if it is designed as a continuous process. Therefore, it is best to repeat the same feedback method for months. Feedback should be combined with fixed rituals, fixed times and responsibilities. Feedback results – even if they are different than expected, should not be greeted with anger, but should be seen as an opportunity that can give rise to a change of perspective.