Tips for Effective Communication

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If I asked you to list the top five sources of stress in your life, your answers might include things like money, work, relationships, health, and time.  These common sources are no surprise, but have you ever thought about the stress that is created when you attempt to communicate about any source of stress? 

During some recent research, I noticed that many articles addressed communication as an additional source of stress created when a person tries to talk about the original stress.  This particular form of stress is called “communication stress.”  For instance, when it comes to stress over money, finding the words and delivering your thoughts and feelings effectively to your partner can add another form of stress for the individual. 

Communication is defined by Merriam-Webster as a spoken or written exchange of information between people.   It’s a two-way street.  It’s also an important life skill that requires a certain amount of knowledge, skills, and practice to do well.  Luckily, Shurley English begins teaching basic communication skills at an early age! 

Most people reading this blog know that Shurley English teaches grammar and writing in a unique way, but many are unaware of the listening, speaking, and reading opportunities that are included as well.  Altogether, we provide students with a well-rounded language arts foundation.

One example comes from the Group and Partner Guidelines used during the revising and editing steps of the Writing Process.  The guidelines teach students the steps required to communicate effectively with a partner and/or peer evaluation group.  As these basic skills are introduced, reinforced, and mastered with the help of the teacher, students’ communication skills grow.

Take a look at the five simple steps that teach students how to listen to a speaker, give constructive feedback, and work together:

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Summer Learning: Developing Your Child's Communication Skills

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Have you ever thought of scheduling a weekly family meeting during the summer months? It really is a great way to boost communication skills at home! Kids of all ages, when given the chance, can participate in structured discussions to recap the previous week and plan for the next one. Routine meetings can allow everyone to contribute personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, choices, etc., so that everyone has an opportunity to be heard.  Topic possibilities are endless, yet providing this type of platform can build family connections and help children develop their personal communication skills.

Here’s how it works:

1. Pick a time which you set aside to conduct the weekly family meetings this summer.  It can be some time on the weekend or whatever works with your family’s schedule.  The point is to plan the time into your schedule so your children can look forward to having a special time to express themselves.

2. Work together to name the time set apart to meet. (Example:  The Johnson Council)  Create an official sign using the chosen name, and display it during family meetings!

3. Assign an office to each contributing family member.  Making the meeting time more formal can be fun for your children and also introduce them to the structure of a public meeting forum.  Here’s an example:

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4. Create an agenda for your meeting time.  Include a recap of the last meeting, a budget discussion by the treasurer, weekly stars, and weekly wishes that are ideas for the upcoming week.  (A “star” would be something that is working well in your schedule; a “wish” would be something that will continually change.)  Example:

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Providing your children with an opportunity to participate in a weekly family meeting during the summer months can sharpen their communication skills.  Meetings can coax reluctant speakers with a venue to express themselves as well as supply more vocal children with a vehicle to communicate in a safe, controlled environment.  Everyone can have a chance to contribute, and you might be surprised by what you will learn during these discussions. 


True Story:  (If I may share a short story with you from my own childhood, it might help you think about your own communication habits within your family.)

While I was in grade school, my mother used to braid my tremendously long hair in two braids every single day. Unbeknownst to her, the other kids would tease me about my braids, which of course mortified me.  I was embarrassed and would have preferred not wearing my hair that way, but in my shy obedience to my mom, I never said a word about it to her.

Imagine my surprise years later when I mentioned this period of my growing up years to her.  I will never forget her saying, “All you had to do was tell me. You didn’t have to wear your hair that way.”  …Wait! …All I had to do was tell her?! Ugh! 

My mother’s words opened a window in my mind to the value of communication.

Is there a shy, obedient child in your family that might benefit from a weekly time to express what is on his or her mind?  Do you have a more expressive child that needs structure and guidance to speak in an orderly way? Perhaps a weekly family meeting this summer could be just the tool your family needs to build communication skills.


Comment /Source

Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.

What is love?

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My favorite thing about February is that it seems to be the designated month of love.  It’s the time of the year when people seem to make a conscious effort to show LOVE to their family and friends in one way or another.  Even people that find it hard to say “I love you” and secret admirers feel as though they have a free pass to do so on Valentine’s Day!

Love has many levels of implication, which makes it hard to define and sometimes even harder to understand.  Thankfully, the ancient Greeks tackled the subject long ago and devised terminology to clarify the 7-States of Love:

Storge: natural affection; the love you share with your family

Philio: the love that you have for friends

Eros: the romantic desire kind of love

Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love

Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting

Pragma: long standing love; the love in a married couple

Philautia: the love of the self

The 7-States of Love represent seven different feelings, yet the same word is used to name each one: LOVE.  That’s so confusing, but think of it like this:  Even though you might say ‘I love you' to two different people and mean it, the truth is that you don’t love your mother the same way that you love your significant other, and so on! 

So, how can you clearly communicate your feelings when you say ‘I love you’ without using the actual terminology used by the ancient Greeks?  (I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say something like, “I have philio-love for you!”)   One way is to try using a simile to clarify.  For example:  I love you as a friend; or I love you like family. (There's your ELA connection!)

Love is one of the most important parts of our lives, so understanding the 7-States of Love and how to convey our feelings of LOVE will make a huge impact.    

Remember:  “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Comment /Source

Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK.