The way you express yourself impacts your life and your relationships. In the classroom, it leaves a lasting mark on your students.
“The didactic communication process is achieved in classrooms,” according to Roxana Urea in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. “The classroom environment has a lot of dimensions: ergonomic, psychological, social, normative, operational and innovative. Recent studies have revealed that the classroom environment has to be secure, proper and adequate for pupils’ development.”
Taking a communication style assessment can help you understand how you interact with students and others. To complete an assessment, review the following communication styles and choose the one that best describes you.
The passive or non-assertive style is defined by the tendency to evade rather than face people. People with this style avoid expressing their opinions or feelings.
You are a passive communicator if:
- You commonly fail to express your feelings, needs or opinions.
- You tend to speak softly or apologetically.
- You are emotionally dishonest.
- You feel anxious, ignored, helpless, manipulated and angry at yourself.
- Others see you in interactions as a “pushover.”
- Others see you as a “people pleaser.”
Passive communicators are often seen as being selfless, are rarely blamed if things go wrong and may receive protection from others. Once passive communicators reach their high tolerance threshold for unacceptable behavior, stress and anger can get expressed through aggressive and explosive outbursts. Other negatives associated with this communication style include a loss of self-esteem, the tendency to feel stuck in unhealthy relationships, and feelings that others make unreasonable demands.
In a study of 80 classroom teachers in Romania, Urea found that 27 percent have a passive or non-assertive type of communication style.
The aggressive style “is characterized by the tendency to always be present, to have the last word, to win at any cost, even if it causes damage or grief to others,” Urea says. People with this style often violate or disregard the rights of others and force their needs and opinions onto other people.
You are an aggressive communicator if:
- You get your way, no matter what. You are brutally honest.
- You feel like you have to put others down to protect yourself.
- Others see you as loud, bossy and pushy.
- Others feel defensive and resentful around you.
Aggressive communicators feel powerful and less vulnerable, release tension and tend to get their way. However, aggressive communicators create enemies; have a sense of paranoia and fear; and have feelings of guilt and shame. They feel inferior and often lack self-confidence and self-esteem.
Urea found that 21 percent of classroom teachers have an aggressive communication style.
The passive-aggressive or manipulative style is marked by a perceived preference for passive roles and the tendency to look for hidden intentions behind others’ statements. People with this style feel unable to deal directly with the object of their resentment, so they express anger by undermining it.
You are a passive-aggressive communicator if:
- When you don’t win, you act like a victim and pout or make snide comments.
- You manipulate others to get your way.
- You have difficulty acknowledging your anger.
- You often use guilt or shame to get others to do what you want.
- Others are confused, frustrated and not sure what to expect when they are around you.
Passive-aggressive communicators become alienated from those around them. They discharge resentment and are unable to mature because real issues are never addressed. Passive-aggressive communicators can remain stuck in a position of powerlessness.
Urea found that 8 percent of classroom teachers have a passive-aggressive or manipulative communication style.
The assertive style is characterized by open and honest communication that doesn’t violate the rights of others.
You are an assertive communicator if:
- You are direct with others and say what you mean.
- You are willing to compromise and negotiate fairly.
- You choose and make decisions for yourself.
- Others feel valued and respected.
- Others know where you stand on issues.
Assertive communication is regarded as the healthiest way to communicate with others. Assertive communicators eliminate built-up resentment by expressing themselves directly. They are able to hear and love others more easily, are less driven by self-protection, and are less preoccupied with self-consciousness.
Urea found that 44 percent of classroom teachers have an assertive communication style.
Enhancing Communication in the Classroom
Husson’s programs enables educators to better communicate with and inspire students to achieve their academic goals.