Literature Review Chapter: Iraqi Students the Literature Review

Pages: 15 (5228 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication - Language  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] What skills are required to communicate?

It is not necessary to have acquired all the communicative skills in order to communicate. For example, an infant can communicate in a general sense the fact that he or she is dissatisfied with the present state of affairs simply by letting out a good bit of yelling. Such an act may not inform the parent of the exact problem, but at least it allows the parent to be informed that a problem exists.

This is not a good example of effective communication and in fact effective communication can be described as; the ability to send messages that are clear, concise and convey the meaning of the message in an effective manner.

At the same time good communication means that the individual should be able to hear and comprehend any messages that other individuals are sending to us. Certainly then there are skills that are necessary to communicate in an effective way. Those skills include language arts, body control, and an understanding or how to compose the message in a manner that will be easily understood by others. Those skills include verbal, non-verbal and even paraverbal knowledge and control. Knowing what words we need is a skill that can be developed through a variety of ways, including reading, writing, speaking and spelling. Non-verbal skills can be developed by watching, observing and listening to the ways and words that other people speak. And paraverbal skills can be gained by practicing how the words are delivered.

Importance of Communication Skills

For the infant described above, limited communication skills are necessary in order to facilitate action. The infant screams or cries loudly, and the parent responds by providing food or a clean diaper or a pat on the back to elicit a burp. However, as the child grows older, life becomes somewhat more complicated and the art of communicating becomes much more important, especially once they reach the age when they begin to attend school. Young people in school are often faced with new and important decisions to make and problems to solve. School is oftentimes the place where "children learn how to make use of internal and external sources to solve problems" (Arslan, 2010, p. 524).

Since is generally accepted that "appropriate problem solving is achieved by effective communication" (McWhirter, Voltan-Acar, 2000) it lends to reason that as these young children grow and blossom, it is extremely important that they learn how to effectively communicate not only with teachers, instructors and administrators, but with their classmates and colleagues as well. This scenario is not only true at younger ages when problems are much simpler, but communication skills are equally (or more so) important at ages when the problems are much more complex.

Imagine then, the importance of communicating in a land where the language is much different than your own, you are a relative newcomer to the country and you are aspiring to create a new place in the world for yourself. Not only would communication be important at this point, but it would also be important for your future as well. Entering a school system that did not have the quality that you might wish for in regards to teaching you those skills via the English language, you might worry for your future. One recent report determined that such a situation might be found in Australia, at least concerning Iraqi, or other international students. The article reported that some universities in Australia were being blamed for allowing students whose first language was not English to graduate with communication skills that were insufficient (Maslen, 2008).

Another aspect to schooling in Australia, from the international student's perspective, is acquiring a language that is not even close or similar to their native language. A study of international students in Finland found that people who lived in countries whose official languages were not commonly spoken in other countries put a lot of emphasis on knowing other foreign languages (Lehtonen, Karjalainen, 2009).

Iraqi students would likely fall into this category of placing emphasis on acquiring a foreign language, and would likely choose English as the language of choice due to its acceptance around the globe.

The importance of acquiring communicative skills does not only affect the Iraqi high school student in Australia, it affects every individual. However, based on the fact that these students are new to the country, new to the language, are looking to forward their education and their career opportunities, it would make sense for the Australian educational system to enhance their learning opportunities if the end goal is to ensure a continuity of citizenship and stewardship by these young immigrants. The act if improving their communicative skills is one that would certainly pay dividends for all involved.

Improving communicative skills

To help these individuals improve their skills, current literature provides a number of methods for doing so. Improving ones communication skills must first start with the knowledge of what is good and what is bad in communication. A basic definition of good communication would be a clear, concise verbal and non-verbal portrayal of a succinct message. A bad communication could be the exact opposite. To improve communicating skills, sorting the good skills from the bad is of paramount importance. Once the knowledge is acquired, practicing good communication techniques in all three categories is an excellent method for improving those skills.

Good communication skills

Listening to someone who is a good communicator can be an enjoyable experience, while listening to someone who is butchering the message through poor communication skills and techniques can be agonizing. If the end goal is to communicate effectively, then the communicator must first know the difference between good and bad communication skills. Good communication skills can include techniques that are verbal, non-verbal and paraverbal in nature. Good verbal communication skills are organized in a comprehensive manner, are concise and convey the message in a succinct manner. The words should flow in an easy manner and should not cause a resistance in the listener; in other words the listener should not have to strain to make sense of what the speaker is saying. The words, or language used, should be free of jargon, slang or code words, and should be spoken in a simple a manner as can be understood by the audience.

Non-verbal skills can be communicated effectively as well. Facial expressions should convey what the message is meant to convey, and not confuse the listener. The body can be used to convey different feelings such as; open arms mean welcome, while folded arms means disapproval or standing up or turning away from someone portrays the feeling of a conversation stopper. Oftentimes a good communicator will mimic the person's language with whom he/she is communicating to ensure a level of comfort. The same thing can be accomplished with the use of non-verbal skills. If a person is not responding to a conversation, opening your arms, unfolding your legs, leaning back, and enjoying a posture of relaxation will oftentimes lessen the mood and raise the comfort level of the participants.

Bad Communication Skills

A good example of bad communication skills might be the old circle game. The way that it works is that a person starts by reciting a simple phrase to the person sitting next to him/her. That person then repeats the phrase to the adjacent person, and so on and so forth, until the phrase has completed a journey completely around the circle and back to the originator. The two phrases are then compared; rarely do they remain the same, and most of the time they are completely different in content and character. This is due primarily to bad listening and communicating skills.

Just like communication skills can be developed and improved, they can also lay dormant or never be attained in the first place, if the person has no desire to attain or improve his/her communication technique, style or language. Examples of bad communication skills include interrupting a person while they are speaking, walking away in the middle of a conversation, or talking with another person while someone else is speaking. Bad communication skills can also take place with body gestures and non-verbal messages delivered in a negative manner. Paraverbal messages can also be used in a negative manner depending on which word is emphasized.

Functions of communication skills

The functions of communication skills are to make a point or deliver a message. This is true whether the message is negative or positive in nature. A boss who has to fire someone, can forewarn that person by his very actions. Inviting the person into a private sanctuary with a sober, concerned or worried look on his face can alert the worker that bad news is coming. Additionally, a positive event can be made even more positive with the right body gestures and signals -- both verbal and non-verbal.

A good communicator will be able to employ communication skills in a skillful manner to convey the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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