A few weeks ago I was able to get my hands on Cultivating Communication in the Classroom by Lisa Johnson. And, if you don’t know who Lisa is, then you should. She is an Educational Technologist at Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas. And, I have been following her work for a handful of years over at her blog/website, techchef4u.com. So, of course I was excited to hear her book was being published and she’d be sending me an advanced copy. (The book is now available, by the way.)
As my district, Salisbury Township School District, continues to explore the 4 C’s – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity – Lisa has written a book that focuses on what she cites as the C that is often times neglected, communication. She adds, “While there are multiple books available to support creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, very little content is available to support students with communication – the highest rated of the critical 4 C’s among employers [from a 2012 American Management Association survey].”
Considering the direction of my district (and education, in general) I could see Cultivating Communication in the Classroom being used by K-12 teachers when planning lessons, and/or it could easily be leveraged as a textbook for a communications course.
Lisa’s intentions mimic my thoughts:
The ultimate goal of this book is to provide a success-ready resource that will support educators with designing learning experiences that allow students to flex these communication competencies, while providing students with tools and authentic opportunities to foster the continued growth of these skills throughout and beyond their secondary education.
The seven chapters and means of communication on which Lisa focuses include: email etiquette, collaboration and positive interdependence, visual literacy and presentation skills, student publishing and projects, portfolios and resumes, social media, and curation. These methods were handpicked because they are all “types of communications that are necessary to be successful beyond the educational institution and that can be cultivated and nurtured within the classroom.” Furthermore, “these are types of communications that have either been directly impacted by technology…or have origins in recent technologies.”
And…Lisa had Guy Kawasaki write the book’s foreword, in which he points out the significance of communication (while also endorsing the book)!
If I could impart one skill to students before they graduate, it would be the ability to communicate effectively…This book seamlessly and cleverly delivers the why, how, and what educators need to deliver college and career-ready communication skills to students.
Rather than giving us “one more thing to do,” Cultivating Communication in the Classroom provides educators and students with practical strategies, ideas, and resources that can help us to seamlessly upgrade and update our current practices to make them as relevant as ever!
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