Emil Păun and Anca Nedelcu

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V. 2. Communication Management

Education – both formal, institutional and also informal – is based on interpersonal communication.

Conceived as an exchange of messages (encoded or not) between two or several individuals, communication continues to represent a big question mark in what the success or the failure of relationships between various individuals or between an individual and a group is concerned. In all organizations, the management structures, starting with the inferior and up to the highest ones, place a great deal of attention on inside communication, as well as on communication with the exterior. Inside, in order to facilitate an appropriate organizational climate, which is absolutely necessary in order for the organizational objectives to be met; outside, in order to have the best image possible – this being the first premises for its success in the respective field of activity.

Although we are talking about adults who choose to learn out of various reasons, it is obvious that the communication process becomes more and more important as the interest of the grown-up for a certain educational program increases.

Communication can have different shapes: when words are used, we are dealing with oral verbal communication. But, there are cases when communication is also using words, but this time, written words. In this case, we are dealing with written verbal communication.

For instance, the poster or the leaflet realized by the education provider has an advertising content. In order to draw the attention and to raise the interest of potential beneficiaries, the education provider will put together a brief message, where appropriate words and phrases shall be used and logically interconnected and the essential ones shall be underlined. If the education provider has a good financial situation, the leaflet will also include pictures, drawings, graphs and charts. Thus, he also includes image communication.

Quite often, the trainers or the educators use a certain mimic and certain gestures, which are generically called body language in order to underline or emphasize certain ideas, feelings and attitudes. Facial expression, hand and body movements, cloths, intonations and other such elements are important features of the non-verbal communication that contribute to a better understanding of the message that is being conveyed through the communication process whose main goals are:

  • to be heard

  • to be understood

  • to be accepted

  • to trigger a reaction (to determine a behavior or attitude change) (Stanton, 1995)

Of course, these goals are considered both for the interpersonal communication or when a person/group of persons communicates with another group (movies, theater shows, theater performances, TV shows, distance learning etc.). From this perspective, communication is efficient up to the extent to which the effect triggered by the emitter on the receiver is the one the message provider (emitter) had in mind.

This effect triggered into the receiver (student) by this communication process is directly proportional with a volume and a quality of the received information; all the more reason to pay an appropriate attention to the way in which the messages are being formulated, the communication channel and the feed-back generated by the receiver.

It is also true the fact that, when we deal with pedagogical communication (a particular case of interpersonal communication focused on learning), efficiency is influenced by the receiver capacity to listen actively. Specialized literature allocates quite a wide space to this aspect of communication.

An efficient pedagogical/didactic communication implies:

a)     for the emitter

  • formulating the messages as clearly and accurately as possible, without any ambiguity;

  • using an adequate language (rigorous from a scientific point of view and correct from a grammatical point of view);

  • adapting the content of the message to the particularities of the receiver (age, training level, interests etc.);

  • obtaining feed-back;

  • repeating the messages with a higher degree of complexity.

b)     for the receiver

  • active reasoning;

  • the existence of a previous training necessary for this learning process;

  • knowledge with regard to the language used by the educator;

  • providing feed-back to the emitter.

Barriers might appear in the way of the adult education communication process. Some of these barriers are related to the emitter (the education provider) others to the receiver (student); also, some barriers appear in the case of the communication channel and others in the case of the communication environment. Those connected to the emitter mainly refer to conveying confuse messages or using an inadequate language.

The receiver can face difficulties in perceiving the message either because of the fact that he is not paying enough attention when the message is being conveyed or because of the fact that he doesn’t have the necessary training and cannot understand the message or simply because he is not familiarized with the language used by the emitter.

As for the environment, this may influence the pedagogical/didactic communication when disturbing factor occur (noise, heat, cold, improper illumination, tiredness etc.) or when the educational process is not adapted to the specificity of that communication.

According to Torrington and Hall (cit in Painisoara, 2003, p. 51-52), there are five barriers that might hinder the communication.

  • Barriers in conveying the message – these appear only at emitter level; they are concretized in conveying messages that are not perceived as such, in the existence of inadequate information within the message and prejudices with regard to the message or the receiver.

  • Barriers at the receiving end – these show both in the case of the receiver and in the case of the environment; In the first instance, we deal with needs, anxieties, beliefs, values, attitudes, opinions, prejudices and the level of attention offered to the stimulus and in the second instance we deal with a conjugated effect of other stimuli that exist within that environment.

  • Barriers in the way of understanding – these are located both at the emitting end (semantics and jargon, length of the communication and communication channel) and also at the receiving end (semantics connections, listening abilities, specialized knowledge, prejudices).

  • Acceptance barriers – these are the only ones perceived by the two players as acting at the level of all parties involved (emitter, receptor and environment); thus, from the emitter’s point of view these are represented by personal characteristics, dissonant behaviors, attitudes and opinions, beliefs and values; from the receiver’s point of view they are represented by attitudes, opinions, and prejudices, beliefs and values, openness to new ideas; at the level of the environment we deal with the interpersonal conflict, emotional factors, status gaps etc.

  • Action barrier – this is also manifested at the level of the emitter (memory, level of acceptance) and also the receiver (memory, attention, openness to change, personal characteristics).

If these barriers that might hinder interpersonal and group communication are known, both parties involved in educational activities might prevent and/or overcome them, thus, facilitating an efficient communication.

In modern pedagogy, communication pedagogy, the emphasis is placed on educational interaction methods and ion using multimedia means that facilitate the educational process.


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© Universitatea din Bucureşti 2003. All rigths reserved. No part of the text may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the University of Bucharest, except for short quotations with the indication of the website adress and the web page. This book was first published by Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti ISBN: 973-575-815-6
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Last update: Noiembrie 2003
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