3.2 – Explain the importance of communication, relationship building and emotional intelligence when working with adults and young people undertaking digital literacy learning.
Communication: Communication is vital for delivering digital literacy learning, there needs to be clear communication between the learner and the tutor for learning to take place. The interaction between student and teacher is the place where the transaction of knowledge takes place. The tutor initally needs to find out what the learner knows in order to develop a plan of learning. Traditionally the means of communication between tutor and learner has been either written or orally, face to face, the challenge for the tutor in the digital literacy environment is to extend the means of communication to include the use of digital tools and technologies. Traditional learning theories (Kolb et. al) recognise that learners must construct their own meaning from information, the tutor is in a position to introduce the learner to a vast ocean of digital information but it is by the interpersonal communication where this learning must take place. So the role of the tutor is to guide the learner in their learning journey via a balance of learning technology and professional discussion. Communication has developed so much in the last twenty or so years that it would be wrong for the teacher not to adapt their method of communication to meet the needs of today’s learner. Gone are the days of chalk boards and chalk, here are the days of text messaging, emails, virtual classrooms and collaborative learning. With the development of communication comes new responsibility for the learner to be able to communicate effectivley and to make the most of the technology at their fingertips. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to m,ake sure that I choose the most appropriate method of communication to meet the learning needs of my learners. When communicating via any digital platforms we must ensure that the communication is clear and is understood by the learner. We must always remember that digital communication lacks the information given when face to face, there is no facial expression, there is no body language, there is more opportunity for misinterpretation.
Relationship building: The teacher’s role is to facilitate learning and in order for this to happen their first priority is to provide a safe learning environment for the learner to work in. Part of creating this safe environment is the positive relationship that the tutor has with the learner. Learners come in to the classroom with a whole range of issues that can get in the way of their learning and having a positive relationship with the teacher can help to remove some of the issues the learner may be dealing with.
Emotional Intelligence is the measure of an individual’s abilities to recognise and manage their emotions, and the emotions of other people, both individually and in groups. (http://www.skillsyouneed.com/general/emotional-intelligence.html)
Understanding emotional inteligence is a key aspect for a teacher, particularly when developing digital literacy skills. All learners have a level of emotional inteligence and bearing this in mind when planning for a session can have a significant impact on the success of the lesson. Technology can evoke quite an emotional response in people, learners can get frustrated when trying to interact with digital learning tools and technology and this emotional response will play out in their behaviour. I have seen many learners turn quite angry very quickly when getting frustrated with a computer!
Managing emotions can be quite difficult for some learners and they often struggle to respond to things in appropriate way. A good example of this is on Facebook where things are written that evoke an emotional response, or they are written in order to influence a certain response in a person. Understanding this can help a person to manage their emotions and avoid potential conflict. Understanding your own emotional intelligence can also help you to understand the impact of your behaviour on other people, again this can be seen when using social media. People can post words or images on social media that can have either a positive effect or a negative effect on people and being aware of this can help to self regulate what you post. As teachers we are in a position to be able to help create the good digital citizens of the future who are more aware of the impact of their behaviour on others in the digital domain.