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Social Capital
Communication is Key
With the midpoint in the Fall Term just eight days away, students and faculty are beginning to hit their stride as the nuances of classroom dynamics and interpersonal relationships continue to be refined both inside the class and out. Communication with students (and families) regarding academic growth is core to Proctor’s institutional DNA, and while we acknowledge there are ways we can continue to improve in this area, our goal is to have students, parents, teachers and advisors engaged in on-going conversations about optimizing this growth in each student.

Our friend Peter Baron of Whipplehill Communications shared THIS article on “7 Things Really Amazing Communicators Do” by Kevin Daum via Twitter over the weekend. While the article highlights the marketing communication of products and services to customers, the characteristics of effective communicators applies to all of us in education.

According to Daum, effective communicators connect, engage, disarm, focus, clarify, reinforce, and practice. Our role as educators is to do the same with our students as any marketer would try to do with his or her customer. We must connect and engage our students with the content we are studying, while seeking to disarm their insecurities. We must focus their energies and clarify our collective educational goals. We must reinforce content we are studying through practical application, and we absolutely must practice our trade, not just during the academic year, but through on-going professional development opportunities.

More importantly, we must acknowledge that the value of a Proctor education extends well beyond the classroom as faculty and students work alongside one another on athletic fields, in dormitories, in extracurricular clubs and through student leader initiatives like this week’s student leadership led interdorm competition Hornet Games! Quite simply, if we can model the above qualities of an excellent communicator in our daily lives, we will most certainly develop lasting relationships with our students that will in turn spark transformative academic experiences.

It is through this model of consistent, honest communication with students and families that Proctor has shaped academic experiences in the past, and it is through this practice that we will continue to do so in the future.
Communication is certainly key on programs like Ocean Classroom where students sail with twenty fellow students for over two months aboard a 100 foot schooner.
All-school assemblies three times a week are central to creating effective community-wide communication.
Advisors play an incredibly important role in developing trusting, open, honest channels of communication with students and families.
In order to reach our potential as educators, and to help our students reach their potential as learners, we must recognize the importance of becoming highly effective communicators.